Christians in the East-bloc lands are understandably cautious in speaking with visitors from the West. When a condition of trust is established, they do frequently speak of their limitations in being socially and politically prophetic, as believers in the free world dare to be. Yet, Christians have a recognized duty to express their dissent at public policies that are clearly incompatible with their convictions.
Such expression is, to be sure, regulated by the conditions of where believers live. Although making allowances for certain excesses, evangelicals don’t dare neglect, carelessly or in fear, this phase of Christian witness.
The prophets of Israel should instruct and inform our prophetic testimony. This aspect of our Western heritage is frequently taken for granted, and seems to be valued most when it is threatened. The problem is not whether believers should use the prophetic mode, but rather, where and in which issues.
Evangelicals must accept as commonplace that prophetic utterances of liberal theological thinkers and writers are far more vigorous against right-of-center issues and governments than against spokesmen and public policies on the left. We must learn to live with this and not let it goad us into rejecting the mandate to be creatively and consistently prophetic.
Thoughtful persons have sometimes been perplexed at some radical liberal prophecy: a case in point, the “new left” protests in the late sixties. At that time, a professor who was a guest in our land, the darling of the new left, proclaimed that the United States lives in a continuous prefascist condition and that all expressions from the right-of-center should be rigidly suppressed. I remember looking in vain for any criticism of this proposed denial ...1
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