There were 828 homicides in our city in 2010, an increase of 210% from 2009. There were 15,493 cars stolen, many of which were taken at gunpoint, and 323 kidnapping events (often involving more than one captive)—all increases on the 2009 levels. In a city of 4.5 million, that’s a lot of violent crime—and so far, 2011 is breaking all the records.
At school our kids are drilled on what to do if shooting breaks out, and a few weeks ago they needed to put their learning into practice.
We’re getting used to hearing gunshots and police helicopters. Every day we see heavily armed police and army in our streets and the ‘water cooler’ conversation is very often about issues of personal security. We know people who have had their cars stolen at gunpoint and families are leaving town because of the situation.
Why am I writing this? Not to elicit sympathy or demonstrate bravado, but to give a real life context to the question I’m thinking about: what does the Bible teach us about our personal security?
From this big question all sorts of others follow. For example:
- Will God protect Christians more than people in general?
- When we pray about these sorts of issues, what should we ask for?
- How do we explain to our kids the concept of ‘bad things happening’, and at the same time comfort them in the knowledge that God loves us and is powerful?
- How much weight do we give to issues of security when we are considering a location for ministry?
My method will be to investigate the issue following a biblical theology model. The foundation of this model is an understanding that the Bible presents a single, unified story, focussed on Jesus Christ, which progressively reveals God’s plan to redeem creation from the effects of sin. Thus, as we read the Bible we can read each section in light of the whole storyline and construct a Christ-centred and biblically reflective response to the issue under investigation.
I will follow Graeme Goldsworthy’s ‘Six stage kingdom’ model1 and examine the issues of personal security in each of the following stages, making some preliminary conclusions and reflections along the way. Then, with the whole picture in place I’ll try to draw some conclusions about what has been discovered. The sections to be used are:
- The kingdom pattern established – Eden
- The fall – Adam’s sin
- The kingdom promised – Abraham
- The kingdom foreshadowed – David and Solomon
- The kingdom at hand – Jesus Christ
- The kingdom consummated – The return of Christ
I hope you will think through this issue with me over the next six weeks. Please excuse any delays in replying to comments, as I am currently in an area with patchy internet access.
1. Graeme Goldsworthy, Gospel and Kingdom: A Christian Interpretation of the Old Testament, Lancer, Homebush West, 1991, p. 49.