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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Evangelicals and Social Justice

The Washington Post ran this article called Let's Stop Stereotyping Evangelicals.

It's an interesting article and perhaps a series of new thoughts for typical Washington Post readers. It does a particularly good job of noting Chuck Colson's work through Prison Fellowship that is a direct outgrowth of his fall from power and redemption in Christ.

As the article shows, evangelicals in America can't catch a break. They used to be criticized for having a theology of salvation described as "pie in the sky, by and by" thanks to Dwight Moody's motto "You don't polish the brass on a sinking ship". Moody, though, never lived up to his motto. For example, he started what is now known as the Moody Bible Institute that remains to this day. Whether you care for every jot and tittle of its theology or not, people who start schools are future oriented, not escapists.

Now the criticism has turned. When evangelicals engage in any social action - once considered the exclusive territory of the mainline - they're condemned for wanting to create a "theocracy" by people busy imposing their own "atheocracies" or "anthropocracies". What else can they be called since the critics of "theocracy" didn't allow belief in "God" to be mentioned in the social realm as anything more than an embarrassing personal failing much like exhibiting flatulence in crowded room.

Why weren't Protestant social activists from the mainline criticized for trying to implement a "theocracy"? Oh, yeah, I guess they had no discernable "theos" to have a "theocracy". With the demise of orthodoxy in the old mainline, it wasn't too threatening. At worst, I suppose, people feared they wanted to impose a "Maybeocracy".

With evangelicals though, it's a case of "darned if you do and darned if you don't".

Loconte and Cromartie do a good job of trying to set the record straight. Hopefully it won't fall on deaf ears.

But if it does, the good news is that evangelicals, absent for a short time from the battlefields of social activism are returning with zeal. However mistaken some of their causes seem to be, like jumping on the Global Warming bandwagon, they're on target and creating innovative solutions in other areas. And best of all they don't care if they're accused of trying to set up a theocracy.

Knowing Jesus is Lord already, there's nothing to set up. It's just time to get to work displaying His rule.