What does Holy Scripture say about this globalization?

We discover that it offers a vision that celebrates globalization in several of its aspects. But it also warns against what is “worldly”. Here, briefly, are some reminders. First and foremost, let us note that the Bible presents a historiography offering a dual movement.

On the one hand, a centrifugal movement, the expansion of the human race, from the creation of our first parents in the image of God to the peopling of the earth and its submission (Genesis 1:26-30). Following the interruption of the Fall, the mandate given to humanity from the beginning is not annulled. By the grace of God, humanity continues to populate the earth and subdue it, being stewards before the Lord (Genesis 4:17-22; Psalms 8:5-9). Even dispersed in our exile, nothing is changed (Jeremiah 29:4-7; 1 Peter 1:1-2, 2:4-10). The Gospel, far from abolishing the “cultural commandment” of Genesis 1:26-30, contributes to its fulfillment. For in Christ, we are to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). Every family in heaven and on earth derives its name from the same Father, and every knee will bow, willingly or unwillingly, before Him (Ephesians 3:15; Revelation 1:7).

On the other hand, biblical historiography presents a centripetal movement. The faithful of the human race, coming from all corners of the earth, are gathered before their Lord. Let us recall that everything begins in a garden but ends in a city. Yes, the city, the place which is now at the center of globalization, has both good and bad sides! In the Bible, the city can be “Babylon,” but it can also be the seat of the great redeeming king. The Garden of Eden is not simply a pretty flower bed. For, in the ancient Near East, the garden is above all the dwelling place of the king (Nehemiah 3:15; Jeremiah 39:4; Ezekiel 31:8-9). This is why the new heavens and the new earth will have at their center the holy city of Jerusalem, on the great and high mountain, with its river of the water of life and the tree of life with its twelve crops, yielding its fruit every month (Revelation 21:10; 22:2).

All the peoples of the earth will be led to the comforting God of Israel, who will lead them to the water sources:

I will turn all my mountains into roads, and my highways will be raised up. See, they will come from afar—some from the north, some from the west, some from the region of Sinim...” (Isaiah 49:11-12).

Such is the “globalist” reality of redemption, centered on the city where the Lord reigns, and towards which thousands of people of all races converge to worship. It is for this theological reason, and not just because it is a good strategy, that the apostle Paul devoted himself to cities to proclaim the Gospel and plant churches.

This is why he works tirelessly for the success of the collection for the Christians of Jerusalem, an image of the heavenly city announced by the prophets. This is also why life in Christ is compared by the author of the letter to the Hebrews to a journey up to the heavenly Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22; cf. Psalms 87). The city is the quintessential global place. By going there, we are pilgrims, not strangers or passersby. We are already fellow citizens with the saints, members of the household of God, built like a building where God Himself dwells (Ephesians 2:19-22). We have an identity, and our life has meaning. If we are nomads, we are not homeless!

This biblical vision, both centrifugal and centripetal, is a true globalization realized by the power of the saving God. The New Testament emphasizes the role of the Church in this time when our citizenship of the heavenly city is already a reality but will only be fully realized at the coming of Christ. For the Church is a dwelling place, a spiritual house, of which we are living stones, built on the cornerstone, Jesus Christ. Two of the earliest principles of the Church are equality and fraternity among its members (Galatians 3:28).

The New Testament does not abolish what distinguishes believers from one another, whether it be their wealth or their status in society. But it strongly emphasizes that we have everything in common and that we must never leave a brother or sister in need (Acts 4:32; James 1:27). Everyone should have access to what they need and what is appropriate for them.

A healthy balance

There is therefore no need to enclose the Church in a cocoon. Jesus’ missionary command (Matthew 28:18-20) does not abolish the “cultural” command (Genesis 1:26-30); it contributes to its fulfillment. Therefore, Christians live in the city with the aim of bringing the light of Christ to it (Matthew 5:14-16; 1 Peter 2:9). They must not only live in peace with all men (Romans 12:18) but also work by fulfilling all legitimate vocations (1 Corinthians 7:20-22, 10:31; Revelation 21:24).

That said, the Church must be at the forefront in the spiritual battle of the children of God. However, it should not be thought that everything characteristic of globalization is compatible with faith. Far from it!

Indeed, Paul warns against conformity to the world (Romans 12:2). The city is not only the goal of God’s people; it is also a center for vice. It is in a city that the inhabitants of the land of Shinar built the abominable Tower of Babel, the epitome of humanistic power (Genesis 11:4). The most violent prophecies are often formulated against corrupt cities. Whether it is Sodom and Gomorrah or the “great Babylon,” judgment against their corruption is clear and brief:

So will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence and will never be found again” (Revelation 18:21; Jeremiah 51:64).

The city can be this place of seduction where “the whole earth was filled with wonder and followed the beast” (Revelation 13:4). Conclusion: globalization is a double-edged reality. On the one hand, there is the unification of the people of God who come from all corners of the world to worship the Lord. On the other hand, there is a global conspiracy to corrupt men.

Our task today is to work for the transition from the earthly city to the city of God. Our task is to preach a clear Gospel, always highlighting the truth and love of God, avoiding excesses. Our task is to fight against injustice that separates the rich from the poor, the powerful from the powerless. Our task is to advocate for people to come out of the great Babylon (Revelation 18:4) and enter into God’s Jerusalem, where it will be heard:

like the sound of a great multitude, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder, saying, Alleluia! For the Lord God the Almighty has established his kingdom” (Rev 19:6).

This text is an extract from the book “CHRISTIANITY AND ITS CHALLENGES” written by Jérémie TCHINDEBE.

We invite you to read the following article “SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS”.

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