Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The new religious common ground

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What do Dr. Dobson, Al Mohler, Pat Robertson, Charles Colson, T.D. Jakes, Billy Graham, Brian McLaren, Franklin Graham, the late John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI all have in common? The "Gospel of Life"—unity found in cultural moral causes. Biblical truth is no longer the common ground for some evangelicals in ministry—but it has been traded for “cultural cobelligerence” – the coming together, regardless of faith beliefs, with anyone for the sake of fighting societal moral slippage. In other words, adopting political remedies for moral maladies absent of the gospel. In an age where Christians and secularists alike are saying that, “doctrine divides; truth breeds biblical elitists; sound theology limits your exposure, effectiveness and alliances; how are we going to win the culture war if we don't expand our base and broaden our constituency?” We shouldn’t be the least surprised at that kind of thinking. It’s time that we wake up and smell "the postmodern political plastination" of Protestantism—for the faith is being hijacked right from under our noses.

http://a1m.org/page.php?page=template1.php&pageid=7fafdd37152b5910c135da7386edfaac

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Actually, the state of the Evangelical movement is far worse of than that.

What do Dr. Dobson, Al Mohler, Pat Robertson, Charles Colson, T.D. Jakes, Billy Graham, Brian McLaren, Franklin Graham, the late John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI all have in common? They all use Crest toothpaste. The "Gospel of Life"—unity found in orthodontical causes. Biblical truth is no longer the common ground for some evangelicals in dentistry—but it has been traded for “orthodontical cobelligerence” – the coming together, regardless of faith beliefs, with anyone for the sake of fighting cavities. In other words, adopting orthodontical remedies for tooth decay absent of the gospel. In an age where Christian and secular oral surgeons alike are saying, how are we going to win the war against tooth decay if we don't expand our base and broaden our constituency?” We shouldn’t be the least surprised at that kind of thinking. It’s time that we wake up and smell "the postmodern prosthodontics" of dentistry—for the faith is being hijacked right from under our gums.

Thankfully for us, Mr. Camp has an alternative:

***QUOTE***

For the Christian, the answer to this dilemma should be simple: partner with other believers, be dedicated to the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ (Sola Fide), according to the authority of God’s Word, under the accountability, with and through the support of the local church.

http://a1m.org/page.php?page=template1.php&pageid=7fafdd37152b5910c135da7386edfaac

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However, this alternative raises a couple of pesky questions:

1.When he says that we should partner with other believers, to what does that stand in contrast? Take his own illustration:

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What do Dr. Dobson, Al Mohler, Pat Robertson, Charles Colson, T.D. Jakes, Billy Graham, Brian McLaren, Franklin Graham, the late John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI all have in common?
>>

Is he saying that none of these men rank as fellow believers?

Suppose we drop JP2, Benedict16, McLaren and Jakes from the list.

That leaves Dobson, Mohler, Robertson, Colson, Billy Graham, and Franklin Graham.

Is he saying that they are not fellow believers?

If that’s not what he’s saying, then if they are fellow believers, would he still be opposed to those six men coming together to lobby for laws banning abortion, child pornography, same-sex marriage, and so on?

2.In addition, he assumes that Christians have the freedom to preach the Gospel. But many secular organizations are attempting to criminalize Christian expression as hate-speech—either through liberal legislatures or the courts.

This is already in effect in parts of the EU and the UK. And inroads are being made in our own country as well.

Should Christians, through the democratic process, exercising their Constitutional rights of free speech, free assembly, and the ballot box, unite to oppose these efforts to shut down the gospel?

2 comments:

  1. Steve,

    The dentistry illustration is quite apt. Neither furthering the cause of just laws nor fighting tooth decay are the gospel ministry. In order to advance both, you don't _need_ to appeal to evangelical distinctives. This doesn't stop them from being good causes in which Christians can participate.

    You ask:

    "Is he saying that none of these men rank as fellow believers?"

    I think what he's saying is that the believers on this list are wrong to cooperate with the unbelievers on this list, in pursuing legislative change, etc.

    You ask:

    "If that’s not what he’s saying, then if they are fellow believers, would he still be opposed to those six men coming together to lobby for laws banning abortion, child pornography, same-sex marriage, and so on?"

    That's an interesting question. I made the evangelical belligerence vs. evangelical co-belligerence distinction over at Mr. Camp's blog (the Justice Sunday II thread). I think it's ambiguous as to where he stands on this. Some of the things he says seemed aimed at excluding ECB only. But other things he says seem aimed at excluding EB altogether. In which case, he would answer your above question with a definite "Yes".

    You ask:

    "Should Christians, through the democratic process, exercising their Constitutional rights of free speech, free assembly, and the ballot box, unite to oppose these efforts to shut down the gospel?"

    I think Mr. Camp _might_ say such a political reality should be irrelevant to us. If we end up in a situation where Christian speech is crimininalized, who cares? We just labor on speaking the truth of the gospel, and trust God (just like the apostles when the Sanhedrin commanded them not to preach). At times, Mr. Camp _seems_ to imply that taking any other stance reveals that you don't really believe in the power of the gospel, or the power of divine providence, or something like that.

    So, for him, any collective interest in these political matters is just one big substitute for the gospel itself.

    I don't agree with any of this, of course :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. How can i write to you about this directly?

    Joel

    ReplyDelete