“In us, all zeal in the pursuit of glory and honor is dead. So we have no pressing inducement to take part in your public meetings, nor is there anything more entirely foreign to us than the affairs of State.”
Origen also wrote to Celsus in an attempt to explain the peculiar Christian practice of noninvolvement with Roman politics, saying:
"It is not for the purpose of escaping public duties that Christians decline public offices, but that they may reserve themselves for a diviner and more necessary service in the Church of God – for the salvation of men. And this service is at once necessary and right."
"We recognize in each state the existence of another national organization [the Church], founded by the Word of God, and we exhort those who are mighty in word and of blameless life to rule over Churches. Those who are ambitious of ruling we reject; but we constrain those who, through excess of modesty, are not easily induced to take a public charge in the Church of God. And those who rule over us well are under the constraining influence of the great King, whom we believe to be the Son of God, God the Word. And if those who govern in the Church, and are called rulers of the divine nation -- that is, the Church -- rule well, they rule in accordance with the divine commands, and never suffer themselves to be led astray by worldly policy."
To Origen, and Tertullian, and every other Christian in those first 300 years of the Untangled Church, the issue was clear and the differences were distinct: Those who were citizens of the Kingdom of God were uninterested in the politics of men.
Why? Because they already had a King. His name was Jesus. They had already pledged their loyalty to another nation. It was called the Kingdom of God.
Or is Jesus only King in a metaphorical sense?
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