As Amanda has blogged about John Dickson's talk at the City Bible Forum this week, on the servant hood of Christ, I think I should also share what I have learnt.
The talk was around the incomprehensible act of Jesus in Philippians 2:5-11. While he was in the very nature of God in verse 6, and has been exalted to the highest place in verse 9, what has happened between these two verses -- taking the nature of a servant (δοῦλος a slave) and being obedient to death on the cross -- established the humility of Christianity. Christians practised humility, because our Lord, God and Saviour chose this way to bring forth the salvation.
Humility is indeed not something people do naturally. Nor is it about Chinese's fake sense of humbleness (which many of us would be very familiar). It is about serving. It is about putting yourself under the others. It is about making yourself slave for other people's needs, willingly.
Nor is humility about helping the poor, giving to the charity, taking care the needies, etc. The attitude is still important, as JD has emphasised during his talk. Help someone on the street does not necessarily make yourself subject to him. But Jesus, the creator of the universe, humbled himself before the lowly men, so he could serve them.
Near the end of the talk, JD moved to talk about how this Christian phenomenon was so different from the pagans -- because they put other people's interest first -- and that contributed to the growth of Christianity in the first few centuries. It eventually led to the conversion of Constantine the Great, and then whole thing exploded as the Roman Empire expanded. However, as Christians inherited more power, Bishops set to high places, churches gained wealth, etc, the uniqueness of Christians' humility faded. Instead of convincing people the truth with their act of service, Christian laws have been imposed on the land. There's medieval. There's crusade. There's corruption of catholic church. When the minority becomes majority, it is just not the same anymore.
During question time, JD was asked whether Christians can participate in politics. He reckoned there's nothing wrong with Christians in politics -- but if humility of Christ is the model to follow, imposing Christian law onto people of other religions (or atheists) would be wrong.
On the way back to the office, I had a discussion with a colleague. JD's conclusion is arguable. What about in the case of stem cell research? Christian politicians imposing their view and trying to set the law? Should Christians go out and fight the big fight to make sure those "anti-life" activities will never happen? Now it is getting a bit fuzzy.
Somehow I find it is necessary to keep the integrity of Christian belief, and being "pro-life" is one way to exercise it. At the same time, would these debates win anyone to Christ? Hardly.