A Fully Christian Society

“The Golden Age” by Lucas Cranach the Elder

I’ve (finally) been reading C. S. Lewis’ masterpiece Mere Christianity. Being nearly halfway through it, I have already had the pleasure of reading the chapter entitled “Social Morality,” within which Lewis touches on what a truly and fully Christian society would look like.

I know enough about the New Testament to have not been surprised by what I read; indeed, I think Lewis is right on the mark! As such, I wanted to share a bit of Mere Christianity with you and to ask if this is what you would expect if our society was fully Christian. If not, why not? Is your ideal Christianity flavored by your own experiences within the church?

And how can we, as Christians, more fully realize this vision of a truly Christian society? If I may be so bold, it seems logical to conclude that any action which tends away from this Christian ideal is, by definition, antichristian, whether being committed by a Christian or not.

Here’s C.S. Lewis:

All the same, the New Testament, without going into details, gives us a pretty clear hint of what a fully Christian society would be like. Perhaps it gives us more than we can take. It tells us that there are to be no passengers or parasites: if man does not work, he ought not to eat. Every one is to work with his own hands, and what is more, every one’s work is to produce something good: there will be no manufacture of silly luxuries and then of sillier advertisements to persuade us to buy them. And there is to be no ‘swank’ or ‘side’, no putting on airs. To that extent a Christian society would be what we now call Leftist. On the other hand, it is always insisting on obedience—obedience (and outward marks of respect) from all of us to properly appointed magistrates, from children to parents, and (I am afraid this is going to be very unpopular) from wives to husbands. Thirdly, it is to be a cheerful society: full of singing and rejoicing, and regarding worry or anxiety as wrong. Courtesy is one of the Christian virtues; and the New Testament hates what it calls ‘busybodies’.

As an aside, Lewis goes on to state how the entire foundation of our economic system — that of investment and interest — stands condemned by three major ancient cultures — the Greeks, more notably the Jews, and most notably the Early Church. As we spiral out of control toward a world government which will stand in direct opposition to God — as man always does when he comes together (remember Babel?) — it comes as no surprise that the systems which comprise it are inherently unholy.

It would be naive for me to think that any amount of effort could create a Christian society as Lewis describes and the New Testament guides toward.

Only when the King returns will the Kingdom be made perfect, for it will only be then that the goats are cast out and the sheep are perfected.

But does that exonerate us from striving toward that ideal here and now? Absolutely not, for we are called by God to live in such a manner as is becoming the brethren of His Firstborn.

It’s difficult to stretch my imagination that far, but if that is a Christian society, then it is my responsibility to be steadily vigilant of my own life, ensuring that I am always living toward that ideal, never away. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

3 thoughts on “A Fully Christian Society”

  1. Is that a picture of said Christian society? :P Seeing men clothed in fig-leaf loin-cloths is not my idea of a ‘perfect’ society. So meh.

  2. Brandon — Hehe, no, if Christ Himself is depicted as clothed in Revelation, it’s quite likely we will be too. After all, how often are white robes and marriage garments and such used in talk of the Church?

    The painting above, though, came from a search for “utopia,” and it is entitled “The Golden Age” by Lucas Cranach the Elder.

    Also, welcome to Kingdom Front.

  3. That book was a terrible. He sets up clearly false dualities and builds and builds on the “obvious” answers to each one. It was recommended to me by a Christian friend as I am an atheist. Ugh, terrible. But man, I would write one if I could stomach myself for doing it, what a great built in audience of mindless readers.

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