Are Christians supposed to make this a better world?
Much confusion exists as to whether true Christians are to attempt and do what they can to make this world a better place—to improve sad conditions by voting for “better” leaders; to fight against dictatorships to replace them with democratic politicians or to invade democratic countries to replace them with dictators; to engage in missionary activities in poor countries to build hospitals there or engage in other charitable work; or to desperately try to save some souls through evangelistic campaigns in an effort to proselytize or convert others—only to realize with frustration and disappointment that all these noble efforts are destined to fail.
The reason for these failures is that this is not God’s world, and that true Christians are called out of this world to prepare for a better world. However, that better world will not come through human efforts, but it has to be created for us by God Himself.
Today, true Christians are not OF this world—even though they are IN this world—and although they are certainly called upon to help those in need, when they have opportunity and when it is in their power, they are not commissioned to attempt to eradicate evil here and now. Rather, they are to let God work through and in them to become better persons. They are to show by their lives to those whom they come in contact with how to be true ambassadors for Christ, representing a heavenly kingdom which will be established on this earth—after this present evil world with its philosophies and its educational, political, legal and religious systems has been DESTROYED.
Many years ago, Herbert W. Armstrong, the late human leader of the Worldwide Church of God who died in 1986, explained very clearly what the role of a true Christian in today’s world should and should not be. In this Q&A, we quote from some of Mr. Armstrong’s writings on the topic, which have not lost any of their relevance for today’s Christians—just the opposite is true.
In his article, “How Would Jesus Vote for President?”, which was published in The Good News in October of 1984, he made it clear that Christians are not to participate in the political processes of the country in which they might live, and they are NOT to vote in governmental elections, as this is not God’s world. He explained that when Adam and Eve refused to obey God, they adopted instead the thinking of Satan the devil, who became the ruler and god of this present evil world. Mr. Armstrong stated:
“This Babylonish principle of government, intertwined with economic manipulation, has ruled the world… under various forms — whether called oligarchy, monarchy, dictatorship, autocracy, democracy communism or Nazism… this is the origin of what we call CIVILIZATION… it is a system based upon exploitation of the people, aggression, regimentation, delusion and deception… Babylon means ‘CONFUSION’. Competition and strife have produced confusion in the world. And God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). Should Christians strive to make this a BETTER WORLD?”
“Most churchmen today, viewing everything from the perspective of this world TODAY, blindly assume this is God’s world. They see certain forces of evil in it, and these they feel they must oppose. They see the Christian duty to be that of working to make this a better world. That concept is a wrong viewpoint altogether. This is not a world of God’s making. This is Satan’s world! Satan is the invisible god of this world, he is the author of its organization, its basic philosophies, its systems of government, business, society, yes, and RELIGIONS! This thing we boast of as civilization is in actual fact, Satan’s handiwork, not God’s!…
“All nations — not just the heathen powers, but all nations, including ours — are deceived, swayed, led, by Satan (Revelation 12:9, 18:3, 20:2-3). The Bible speaks of this world as ‘this present evil world’ (Galatians 1:4, AV)…”
In addressing some of the reasons why Jesus Christ came as a human being into this world, Mr. Armstrong stated:
“Into such a world, in His own due time, God sent forth His own Son, born of the human virgin Mary. WHY did Jesus come? To get into politics, to strive against the forces of evil in this world, to make this a better world for humanity to live in?…
“What was His message? Certainly not a Gospel merely about Himself — a Gospel of merely accepting Him and then, as part of this world, helping to make it better!… What Jesus taught was that this present world, with its governments, its religions, its economies, its society, is an evil world – it is Satan’s world – it is a world in competition against and AT WAR AGAINST – His Coming Kingdom – THE WORLD TOMORROW!… No, Jesus did not enter into THIS world’s politics! He called His disciples out of this present evil world — out of all its customs and philosophies and ways to a life of SEPARATION from the world…
“Jesus did not try to reform Caesar. He did not try to make this a better world, Rather, He preached the doctrine of a radically different world to come and He called His followers out of all participation in this present evil world and to allegiance to His KINGDOM that is to come….”
Mr. Armstrong continued to explain very powerfully that as true Christians, we are not to have any part today in the politics and wars of this world. He also showed that the time will come when we WILL rule—but that time has not yet arrived.
“These present governments are to run their course ‘until the . . . time came for the saints [converted Christians] to possess the kingdom [of God].’ That time has not yet come… When Jesus comes again, it is proclaimed: ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdom of the Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever’ (Revelation 11:15) Then it is, as Jesus has said. ‘He who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him will I give power over the nations — he shall rule them’ (Revelation 2:26-27). The smashing of the present governments of the world is pictured in Daniel 2.34-35, 44. Then Satan shall be shorn of power to rule the world (Revelation 20:1-4). His qualified successor Jesus Christ, shall then be inaugurated into office.”
These words should be more than sufficient to show us why we are not to take part in the rotten and deceitful politics and wars of this world—and that applies to EVERY country. But Mr. Armstrong elaborated on this theme and concept, making additional comments in his remarkable booklet, “A World Held Captive,” (cp. 1984). In it, he explained in more detail WHY true Christians are NOT to be engaged in attempting to make this world a better world. He wrote:
“Adam had been created with the potential to be born a son of GOD [when being changed into a God being]. Even though not as yet even a begotten son of the GOD FAMILY [as he had not even partaken of the tree of life, symbolizing the gift of the Holy Spirit], he had been created as potentially just that. Once he succumbed to Satan’s WAY of choosing to ‘do his own thing,’ in rebellion against a deliberate command of God, he became spiritually the property of Satan. He actually had succumbed to the GOVERNMENT of Satan, choosing the LAW of that government, leading automatically into attitudes of self-glory, coveting, competition, desire to GET rather than God’s way of GIVE.
“All humanity came out of Adam and Eve. The present world was FOUNDED in them. The WORLD has ever since been HELD captive! The world had thus chosen THE WAY of the kidnapper [Satan the devil], rather than of the potential Parent [God the Father]!…[Adam] was led by Satan, and the whole world family, started through Adam, was DECEIVED into building a civilization that became SATAN’S WORLD — a WORLD HELD CAPTIVE…”
Again discussing some of the reasons why Christ did and did not come to this earth, Mr. Armstrong wrote:
“Jesus, during his earthly ministry, likened this world to a building. In Ephesians 2:20-22 the Church is likened to a building. Jesus, in referring to the present evil world, said it is built on a foundation of the sand of Satan’s way of vanity, covetousness, envy and jealousy, competition and strife, violence, rebellion, contention, unhappiness, suffering and death. THIS WORLD IS DOOMED TO CRASH! And great shall be the fall thereof.
“Jesus did not come to repair or remodel or make over this building — this world — this civilization. Its foundation is faulty — that of Satan. Its superstructure — its systems of government and legal systems of law and justice, its systems of faulty and materialistic education, its religions, its social systems and customs — all its superstructures faulty, producing discontent, unhappiness, contention, competition and strife leading to violence and destruction, anguish, suffering, poverty and death. Those are the supporting columns and beams of the superstructure of the building that is this world. Jesus did not come to reform this world — to bring it a ‘spiritual revival’ — to pray for it or to save it or any of its ways.
“The [true] Church [of God] is the start — the embryo — of an entirely NEW and DIFFERENT BUILDING. Jesus called those God has chosen to draw OUT from among this world and its ways… Jesus said He would build His Church. His Church was that new building — that new civilization — that new world, in embryo. He also said the Church would never die. The rains would fall (Matthew 7:24-27), the floods would come, the hurricanes would blow, but this NEW house built on the solid rock foundation would ALWAYS stand!”
These words, as quoted above, are as true today as they were when they were written in 1984. Sadly, most have never understood them, and they do not grasp them today, and even some of those who did comprehend them at one time—or at least it seemed that they did–have now adopted the wrong way of thinking that they ought to try to make this a better world. They will never succeed in this futile effort.
The Church of God has the commission to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God in all the world as a witness, and then the end of this present civilization and this evil society will come (Matthew 24:14). THEN—not before then—Christ will return to make an end to Satan’s rule and displace him. THEN, He will establish God’s government and righteous rule on this earth. THEN, the wonderful world tomorrow—the better world—will start. True Christians are to stand watch and prepare for THAT better world… while coming out of modern Babylon (Revelation 18:4) and leaving THIS evil world behind.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link