Evangelical Christianity today confronts a “new theology,” a “new evangelism,” and a “new morality,” each notably lacking in biblical content. A “new social ethics” has also emerged, and some ecumenical leaders mainly interested in politico-economic issues speak hopefully of a “new breed of evangelical” in this realm of activity. The red carpet rolls out when even a few evangelicals march at Selma, when they unite in organized picket protests and public demonstrations, when they join ecclesiastical pressure blocs on Capitol Hill or at the White House, or when they engineer resolutions on legislative matters through annual church meetings.
Since most evangelical churchmen traditionally have not mobilized their social concern in this way, non-evangelical sociologists are delighted over any and every such sign of apparent enlightenment. Moreover, they propagandize such church techniques as authentically Christian, and misrepresent evangelical non-participation as proof of social indifference in conservative Christian circles and as a lack of compassion. This favorite device of propagandists is effective among some evangelicals who desire to protect their genuine devotion to social concern from public misinterpretation. The claim that evangelicals as a whole are socially impotent, moreover, diverts attention from the long-range goals of social extremists by concentrating attention on existential involvement on an emergency basis.
That Christians are citizens of two worlds, that a divine mandate enjoins both their preaching of the Gospel and their promotion of social justice, that the lordship of Christ over all of life involves socio-cultural obligations, that Christians bear a political responsibility, are historic ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more