Turning the world upside down

People opposed to the apostle Paul’s ministry got a crowd riled up in Thessalonica by shouting, “These people who have been turning the world upside down have come here also!” They weren’t lying; Your Church Is Too Safe by Mark Buchananperhaps they were even paying Paul and his associates an compliment. Author Mark Buchanan wrote an entire book inspired by this charge against Paul (a book I highly recommend, by the way).

Back in 1962, a devotional appeared in Forward Day by Day also based on the charge against Paul, that he was turning the world upside down. When I came across it recently, I felt like it could have been written today.

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Many sincere church people today seem to see Christianity as a social stabilizer rather than as an insurrectionist movement. They often say things like: “In a world of constant and terrifying changes, we need some things that stay unchanged, to which we can anchor our lives; and why can’t we find that blessed security in our religion?”

There is a sense in which they are right. God stands fast and changeless, and our only refuge is in the divine changelessness.

But this world is always changing; it must. And Christians are to be revolutionaries making certain the changes conform to God’s will. This is why the great Christians are always bent upon “turning the world upside down.” And no sooner is a change made than someone finds a way to use the new order for ungodly ends. The world always needs turning upside down. We dare not accept things as they are. God commands us to go forth in his power to attack entrenched greed, cruelty, and godlessness. This means change. And Christians know how to turn the world upside down in such a way that God can set it right side up.

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