Over and over again I see how some fellow Christian activists want to de-emphasize the importance of Heaven. It is often claimed that the reason why traditional evangelical and charismatic churches have not been so involved in promoting peace and justice is because there is too much focus on Heaven, salvation and evangelism – they don’t want to waste their energy and time on politics and activism when they can use it to save souls instead.
To challenge this heresy, some Christian activists go to another extreme. They might argue that giving people eternal life wasn’t Jesus’ main concern, that the Kingdom is mainly here and now and not there and then, that evangelism is not so important, etc. God’s focus is primarily earth, not heaven, and we should mimic that, they claim.
However, Paul wrote:
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Col 3:1-2)
Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Phil 3:19-21)
In both of these passages, Paul is not telling us that too much focus on Heaven is bad for you. Rather, focus on earth is. Not because we should ignore the world’s problems, but in order to solve them we must leave the world’s mindset and have a heavenly mindset (Rom 12:1-2).
Christ is seated on the throne in Heaven and when we focus on Heaven we focus on Him. Then when we know what Heaven is like (free from hunger, war and suffering for example) we’ll pray “on earth as it is in heaven!” and let the power of the Holy Spirit establish the politics of the Kingdom of Heaven through us.
Christians that claim that we don’t have time for activism because of evangelism, don’t have “too much” focus on heaven. Frankly, they’re just disobedient to Jesus. He clearly commanded us to do radical activism (Mt 5, 25, etc.) and as people see our good deeds they will praise God (Mt 5:16). If you’re not promoting peace and justice you’ve totally missed what the Kingdom is about. But that’s also the case if you’re not sharing the Gospel and preach about Heaven.
To be honest, if we are so passionate about giving people a pretty good life for around 80 years, with still a lot of inevitable suffering, how much more passionate shouldn’t we be to give people an eternal life totally free from suffering?
Micael Grenholm is editor for PCPJ. Having studied theology as well as peace and development studies in Uppsala, Sweden, Micael Grenholm’s passion is to combine charismatic spirituality with activism for peace and justice. Apart from editing the PCPJ website he vlogs for the YouTube channel Holy Spirit Activism and is active with evangelism and apologetics both locally and online.