In their well-meaning attempt to make the Gospel relevant and credible to modern man, advocates of the new theology have only succeeded in emptying the faith of its biblical content. They have sought to incarnate the Gospel so fully that they have ended in burying it. They have tried so hard to make the Gospel meaningful that they have actually obscured it. By trying to make the faith this-worldly they have secularized it. The apostles of relevance can justly be accused of losing the identity of the Gospel and also of breaking continuity with the church tradition.

Social Activism

One of the hallmarks of the new mentality in the Church today is the concern to establish relevance by social involvement. That the Gospel has social imperatives and that Christians are obligated to put their faith into practice in the social arena are truths that should surely be acknowledged. Yet when social justice and material security become ends in themselves, then we have lost the primary goal of biblical religion, which is to seek Christ’s kingdom and his righteousness.

Our social action should be seen as a sign of the coming kingdom of God and as a means toward God’s greater glory. But so often in the circles of secular and political theology social action becomes an end in itself or a means for realizing a utopian dream. The Gospel must not be made to serve a this-worldly utopia whether this goes under the name of the Great Society, an Opportunity State, the Classless Society, or a One World Federation of Nations. The Church must never be treated as a means to political ends, for then its freedom is undermined. Political action can be accepted and encouraged as a fruit of faith, but it becomes an effective means of burying the Gospel when ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.