Sunday, June 20, 2010

ABC on the New Face of American Evangelicals

Over at ABC (American not Australian) is an interesting segment with a panel of young American evangelical activists over what matters to them and what issues they are concerned about and what differentiates them from the religious right. Most illuminating.


Jeremy said...

If they mean by "the new face" that some segments of evangelicalism are more attune to a greater variety of causes then I agree. But doesn't evangelicalism tends to go through stages just like this?

Matt Viney said...

They seem to be mainly concerned with 'social action'. I don't have have a problem per se with social action being one of the big concerns of the church. However, I didn't hear much about the Gospel - or Jesus. The dude with his hair falling down into his eyes said "we're partnering with God to solve those issues" (i.e. environment, poverty, 'educational equity').

The problem I see is that without making the Gospel message and Gospel transformation the priority over social action, you will only ever deal with the symptoms of humnaity's woes, and not the cause.

This positive approach to social action is commendable, but only in the context of serious and unashamed Gospel proclamation. I saw an unwillingness on the part of the discussion panel to seriously proclaim true source of the world's issues - the corruption of the human heart (which would have helped them speak with more courage on the issue of abortion, etc). Without Gospel transformation, the human heart will ever be corrupting society and the environment.

Choosing social action as your 'big ticket item' will win you friends. But it ignores the central message and mission of the church. Seeing our goal as 'partnering with God' to make the world a better place (through social action) smacks of post-enlightement presumption, and ignores the underlying realities that cause the issues these evangelicals are seeking to address.

As far as I am concerned, the church's mission is:
(1) Gospel, THEN/WITH (2)social action.
(1) social Action, THEN (2) social action.