Friday, December 28, 2007

"The Government Shall Be Upon His Shoulder"

Sociologist Robert Bellah, well-known for his 1967 essay "Civil Religion in America" and also for writings such as Habits of the Heart, has begun a series of posts entitled "Is a Global Civil Religion Possible?" In his first post, this statement stuck out to me:

But for the creation of a viable and coherent world order a world civil society is surely an essential precondition, and, dare I say it, any actual civil society will have a religious dimension, will need not only a legal and an ethical framework, but some notion that it conforms to the nature of ultimate reality.

I completely concur. In fact, Christians have always concurred. The ancient believing Israelites concurred, as well. That is why at Christmas time we celebrate what Isaiah prophesied so long ago:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:6-7, ESV).

We actually celebrate the real hope of a global religion that does conform to the nature of ultimate reality. This is ultimate reality - Jesus Christ is Lord. We proclaim him in order to "bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations" (Rom 1:5). I am glad that Professor Bellah recognizes this need. I only hope it will drive him to look away from any civil religion to the One who can give righteousness and peace - Jesus Christ the Lord.

(HT: Religion in American History)

1 comment:

Marigold said...

People should read this.