A PIONEER CHURCH
Working in the New Babylonia
What is it that makes the New Covenant Church of God, different from all the new groups, fellowships and denominations that are being formed today, and which have been formed over the last century? What is the rationale for its existence as yet another part of the Body of Christ?
To begin with, NCCG is not just "another group" or "denomination" existing within the normal framework of society. It is a pioneer settlement fleeing the wrath that is to come.
Comparing the Present with the Past
Have you ever looked around our modern world and asked yourself: What are the parallels between the late 20th century and other periods of earth history? Are we perhaps living in one of those imporant cross-road periods where great evil came to a head, forcing God to intervene in a dramatic way to prevent the righteous being completely overwhelmed? What are some of the lessons we can learn from sacred history?
Christians frequently bewail how terrible our times are, and they are right. But what they sometimes forget is that in terms of the deparvity of human nature what we are witnessing today is no different from other similar periods of earth's history. We are living in a period of time which many are saying is post-nationalistic. Attempts at the unification of Europe, closer economic co-operation between nations which virtually precludes them warring with one another, and the emerging global culture based on what I will rather loosely call "Americanism" are characteristics of our time. To be sure this New World Culture has not yet reached its nadir -- it is in its formative stages, as witness the continuing violent outbursts of nationalism and internicene warfare -- but it is well on its way.
Society in Abraham's Day
The idea of a post-nationalistic society is not a new one. Scholar Cyrus Gordon, commenting on Abraham's time, wrote:
An exactly parallel situation existed in the times immediately prior to the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians and the captivity of the Jews, and also in the time of Christ immediately prior to the raising of Jerusalem by the Romans and the expulsion of the Jews from the Holy Land. In each of these three periods of time there was a inform culture imposed as the result of military conquest. Trade was brisk and people were exclaiming the good life. But each of these times were also one of extreme moral decadence and religious apostacy.
"Palestine happened to be the point of maximum synthesis, where Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and Mediterranean influences fused with the native Canaanite culture. A picture of what was happening is clearly reflected in the Narratives. Abraham was of Mesopotamian origin, and his son and grandson married girls from their kin in Mitanni. At the same time, Egyptian blood was in the Patriarchal household; Hagar was Egyptian as was also her son Ishmael's wife. Moreover, famine repeatedly drove the Patriarchs to Egypt from Abraham's time on. Canaan itself was a melting pot of Semite, Hurrian, Caphtorian, and other groups. The Patriarchal Hebrews enjoyed the ideal spot and the ideal time to fall hair to the rich and varied heritage of the entire ancient Near East, when Egypt and Babylonia were nearly spent. Furthermore, the pastoral and semi-nomadic purity of Patriarchal life saved the Hebrews from the decadence of that cosmopolitan age" (The Patriarchal Narratives, Journal of Near Eastern Studies 13 (1954): 58-59).
America - the Modern Accadia, Babylon and Rome
What possible comparisons are there between the times of Abraham, Zedekiah, and Christ? For one thing, our world has shrunk in size as the result of the information revolution caused by the microchip. American culture, once marginal before 1914, has become increasingly dominant as the result of victories in two World Wars, and particularly as the result of the Second World war. And since the collapse of the counter-culture of Soviet Communism, "Americanism" has spread over the whole world. The Americans are the Romans, Babylonians and Accadians of old, bringing science, material wealth, military stability...and immorality. American culture, the refuge and mother of many fine Christian sons and daughters, has become an immoral cesspit of rampant homosexuality, fornication, adultery, violence, profanity, rebellion against authority, and atheism which it is propagating throughout the world. Rome too was a stabilising influence in the world, opening up fast and efficient communications for its time, bringing military stability, commerce and wealth. But it also brought pagan gods, immorality, and oppression. But just as in such a contradictory milieu God sent the Son of God into the world, so now -- today -- is the Lord raising up a special work to spearhead the drive towards a Millennial Theocracy where the best of our fallen world is combined with the pure and noble aspects of the true faith.
The First Christian Pioneers
The first Christians were pioneers, just as Abraham was. They regarded themselves as strangers in a foreign land. Abaraham, as we have seen, preferred to live the nomadic life in tents than the comfort and oppulance of city life in order to avoid the corrupting influences of the latter. The first Christians called their congregations "colonies" for the same reasons and had a close fellowship with one another even though they worked and lived in the great metropolis' of their day. In the apostolic and sub-apostolic eras they ate and fellowshipped together daily, limiting their intercourse with the surrounding pagan world to earning their daily bread and witnessing of Jesus Christ. They did not partake of the entertainments of the day. Gradually, though, following the passing of the sub-apostolic age, they became more and more integrated in society which, though nominally "Christian" (following the marriage of state and church) was, in truth, a syncretism of the sacred and the profane, of Christianity with paganism. Their loss was incalculable -- the intimacy of the first fellowship of believers, the spiritual gifts, and the love which marked out the true believers from the indifference and crassness of the adherants of the pagan religionists.
The All-Pervasive Influence of the Secular Society
The influence of the secular society on its citizens today is more profound than at any time before. Our children spend most of their lives at schools being indoctrinated by the philosophy of the secular society. Almost as bad, the state has placed its voice and influence in every home so that after work and school it continues to have its dark influence on us through TV, radio and the InterNet. Every aspect of our lives is now controlled by the pagan society that surrounds us apart from those odd moments when the TV, radio or computer terminal is switched off. Through spirit-numbing music, violent and immoral films, and constant affirmations of the benificence and righteousness of the cultural philosophies of the day, the pure and noble edge of man's spirit is progressively dissolved leaving behind homo carnalis -- carnal man. Can any Christian who is not insentitive to what is happening around us dispute the desperate need for a counter-culture to save our children?
Becoming Separate from a Corrupt Society
The righteous Jews immediately before and after the time of Christ saw the need to separate themselves from the corrupt influences of Jerusalem and founded isolated colonies, most famous of which was Qumran. The first Christians, following a time of great persecution, were forced to hide out in the Israelite countryside. Though such persecution of Christians will indeed occur in the days to come, forcing us to settle in remote and inaccessible places shunned by the pleasure-loving peoples of the neo-pagan world around us, for now we must at least partially withdraw from society. Some churches have already wisely started building their own schools but this is not nearly enough. Our children need a holy society from dawn to dusk, and the adults need a place of refreshment away from the constant bombardment of words and spirits in the workplaces and entertainment centres of the secular society.
To this end the Lord has raised up B'rit Chadashah. The immediate need -- and I stress the word "immediate" -- is for a Christian community founded on Patriarchal-Christian lines, being a blending of the colonial spirit of the first Christians of the apostolic and sub-apostolic periods, and that of our father Abraham, whose sons and daughters we are by adoption through faith in Christ.
We have found the place where we are called to build up such a community. It is close to the cosmopolitan world, where we are called to witness of the resurrected Christ, but sufficiently isolated to enable us built the alternative Christian Patriarchal Culture.
Several New Covenant Christian families have offered everything they have in terms of time, wealth and careers to build this community. Now we are seeking the financial means to realise this dream which has been incubating for the last 10 years. We need five million Norwegian kroner as a payment for the existing site and another six to seven million to complete the exiting building program and to pay the initial running costs. Our prayer is that we may soon be able to meet this need and be actively involved in building the Kingdom both here in Norway and abroad temporally and spiritually. Amen.
This page was created on 7 April 1998
Last updated on 7 April 1998
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