Full Text for Dogmatics 4- Volume 6 - What are the goals of the right and left hand, and is there any overlap? (Video)

No. 6. >> I'm understanding the goal of the right hand to be the proclamation of the Gospel. But I do not quite feel as clear about the goal of the left hand. Also I want to ask: Does the right hand have any responsibility toward the left hand as it works for its goals? What happens when the left hand ignores the right hand's goals or even works against them? Oh, I'm sorry; I'm Joshua from the ranch country of eastern Wyoming. >>DR. JOEL D. BIERMANN: Oh, good to have your question, Joshua. And I appreciate your -- the land of Wyoming. It's a good country. I've spent some time out there. Beautiful land. And I understand your question is really an important one. Just to reiterate, the left hand has as its goal and its purpose the promotion of justice. So the left hand really does not -- isn't in the business of bringing people to God. It's not their responsibility. The left hand is not trying to get the Gospel proclaimed. That's not their task. Their task is very simple. Promote justice. So they want to stop evil. And they want to make a safe place for the citizens of this country to live. And to make sure that fairness is being enforced and being spread around. Justice in a word. So that's the goal of the left hand. So the left hand has a different agenda really from the right hand. They are not at odds. They work together very well. But they are different. And that's why we don't want to have the government in a sense promoting the Gospel. That's not their job. Even if I happen to be a Christian individual, a strong Christian, if I have left hand responsibilities, my ultimate goal is not to be able to sort of proclaim the Gospel every time I get a chance. My goal is to see that justice is promoted. And that it is upheld. So that injustice doesn't have a chance to spread. So that's the goal of the left hand. Is it possible for the left hand to somehow ignore the right hand or even work against it? You bet it is. And we see that happening not infrequently in the world's history. Great example we can think about communist Russia. Or we can go to Nazi Germany with the rise of national socialism. Where you have the church and the state in this real unhealthy sort of relationship even to the point where Nazi Germany and the Germany in the '30s where you have this church essentially sort of rolls over and capitulates and let's the state just kind of have its way. This is to the shame of the church that we sometimes allow the state to just kind of run away and do its thing without being a proper voice against these errors. Let's spend just a minute thinking about Germany and about the rise of Hitler a little bit. Because this is very instructive. As Hitler was coming to power, the church had the opportunity to speak against him and say much. No, this is an abuse. You cannot be, you know, running the Jews off into concentration camps. You cannot be seizing their properties. This is wrong. The church should have said that. Unfortunately you can look at the history of it, the sociology of it. There were many in Germany at the time who were just so irritated about the injustices after World War I as they perceived it and about the problems of national pride being lost that they were willing to let things kind of go. And they quit being the church. And they made a mistake. There were a few brave voices who spoke out against the abuse and paid a dear price. Dietrich Bonhoeffer comes to mind. And there were others. But the church by and large failed in its responsibility. So the church has a responsibility to the left hand realm. Not to try to convert it, per se. But to make sure it's being a fair and a just left hand realm. When the left hand realm is doing what it's supposed to do, justice is being promoted and law is being upheld. That's the job. And so the church needs to make sure that's happening. When the left hand realm is not doing that, the church should make noise. And how much noise? Well, that's for individual congregations and Christians to sort out. And I would say the greater the error and the greater the threat against justice, the louder the noise needs to be and more organized the kind of resistance needs to be. It's appropriate to stand against evil when it's there. Acts Chapter 4. We must obey God rather than men. Or maybe it's Chapter 5. We must obey God rather than men. So when we see men that are enforcing rules that are ungodly, we need to stand against it. The church's response to abortion. I brought that up before. I think is, again, an appropriate example of when the church needs to say: This is wrong. Another great example which is getting more and more momentum in our culture is the idea of endorsing gay marriage. And I think on that one the church also should say: No. This is wrong. This is a violation of God's plan for this world. It's a violation of God's plan for marriage. And of how husband and wife are supposed to be. We need to say: No. We draw the line. This cannot be. We should stand against these sorts of things. So there are times when the church needs to speak against what is happening in the left hand realm. Mostly calling the church -- the world, the government, back to its task of promoting justice and upholding God's law. And one of the most important responsibilities the church has is to sort of act as the conscience of the world. The church can be the ones that say: That's not right. You've made a mistake. You're heading in a bad direction. We've got to stop and move in the right direction. That's the kind of stuff the church should be doing. And we do that sometimes at the threat of our own well being. I mean, when you've got to speak against the left hand, they've got the sword. And they might turn and use it against the church. That's happened before. And that's one of the challenges we face. But that doesn't lessen our responsibility to speak sometimes to the left hand and challenge it and tell it that it's wrong. We're not doing it because we want them to advance our agenda. Our agenda is simply the proclamation of the Gospel. We do it when we see them failing to do what they are supposed to do, which is to promote justice.