It was the systemic evil of the domination system of the Jewish wealthy elite and Roman power that killed Jesus. Every human system of thought, politics or religion has within it an evil seed of self-destruction. Only honest criticism and a spirit of constant reform will keep any system flexible, viable and useful to the human situation.
All human systems resist change. That is why the biblical prophetic spirit is needed everywhere to critize and reform all systems and institutions to save them and us from demonic self-destruction.
Do you see the self-destructive evil within the Republican and the Democratic parties? Do you see it in only one party? If you do then you are a part of the problem in this country and not part of the solution. (Matt. 7:1-5)
It was voices of moderation and compromise that gave us our great political system and democratic institutions. It is the voices of partisan ideology that are destroying our system and institutions. My own group, American evangelical Christians, are perhaps the blindest group of ideologs contributing to our nations downfall. A young atheistic friend of mine said, “You evangelical Christians are all brain dead.” Her remark makes me think of a Baptist minister, Anthony Compolo who said, “We need to listen to the enemy for he is part right!”
Can you see the evil in other’s theology or in other Christian groups, but not your own? If that is the case, you will be swallowed by the systemic evil of your system before you know it is happening.
As Robert Burns wrote, “May God the gift give us to see ourselves as others see us.”
Let us never think we can build systems of absolute truth and rightness. We must always, by the Spirit of Grace, be reforming. To trust too much in our systems will turn our God into our devil.
John Calvin meant well and did a lot of good, politically and religiously. He was a genius. He sought only to develop a systematic theology that would comfort the fearful people of his day, the 1500’s. He built a theology on the majesty of God centering on the doctrine of predestination. In this predestination , God was totally in charge of everything and ruled by eternal decrees even the price of cabbages on tomorrow’s market.
Calvin’s system did comfort people for awhile but on his deathbed Calvin saw and worried over the possible evil of his system. If God was the absolute controller and cause of everything then God was the author of evil and those in hell could rightly shake their fists at God and say, “Unjust, you sent us here. We had no choice in the matter!” Calvin’s God had became his devil.
Every great leader and institution of religion has simular flaws hidden in their systems of thought. We must never absolutize any of them.
Much of life will always be a mystery. Concerning this, Forest Gump had the best Christian theology, “Stuff happens.” Why it happens must remain a mystery.
We must trust deeply in a good God who will ultimately give us his best because he loves us. Sometimes in the suffering of good people like Jesus on the cross, it seems that God is powerless and has foresaken us. God’s answer is that he raises us from the dead and his life is stronger than death, his truth greater than the lie and his goodness stronger than evil ultimately.