Saturday, April 07, 2007

Can You Imagine...

"...the day when Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Joyce Meyer, James Dobson, Tony Perkins, James Kennedy, Rod Parsley, " Patriot Pastors" and Rick Warren will sit at the same table as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Cynthia Hale, Eddie L. Long, James Meek, Fred Price, Emmanuel Cleaver and Floyd Flake to establish a call to arms on racism, AIDS, police brutality, a national health care policy, our sorry education system"?

Roland Martin at has written a provocative little commentary on the "holy war" inside of Christianity, a war he describes as a "silent war" between two-issue conservative Christians on the one hand and sin-overlooking liberal Christians on the other. He longs for the day when both sides address their weaknesses and join together for a more robust agenda.

What say ye? Has Martin got a point or are the difference between "conservative" and "liberal" Christianity irreconcilable?

(HT: Duncan)


wwdunc said...

It almost seems to me the differences aren't so much between conservative and liberal as they are between ministries that appeal only (or mainly) to white evangelicals and ministries that might have an appeal beyond the white community. In the main, I think Martin makes a good and valid point. It seems to me, also, that Jesus focused more on the heart of the matter--sin--rather than on its particular outer manifestations (e.g., abortion, homosexuality, poverty, crime, etc.).

Anonymous said...

I think the charge of two-issue conservatives is a little bit unfair, because Christian politically-conservative people statistically do more (giving, time, etc.) to remedy poverty than other people. It's just that in terms of hot-button issues, conservative Christians have two basic political issues (abortion and homosexual marriage). This is not a comfortable thing for me to assert, but there is almost uniform consensus that government ought to help those in serious need. And nobody serious is planning to try to eliminate the post-New-Deal safety nets, so the urgency of poverty remediation is considered minimal.

On racial issues, I would suggest that the root of conservative Christians' general apathy has to do with two things: 1) trust of the system; and 2) ignorance. The civil rights movement was very successful in convincing the majority ethnic group that racism is bad, but also very successful in convincing the majority group that the big problems were fixed 40 years ago. Fixing this is a matter of education, but it requires humility (from those being taught) and painstaking research and persuasion. And such education requires teachers whose reputations haven't been besmirched by apparent shakedown tactics and self-aggrandizing demagoguery.

Ken Davis said...

Asa Canadian I won't pretend to understand the American situation and my comments may not fit very well, but the need, as I see it, is not for a peace treaty between liberals and conservatives so that they can work together better. There may be a place for that at times. But I long for men with a sound, robust, reformed evangelical faith who have social consciences that puts them in the streets where real people are. They way things are set up we seem to believe that God saves souls throughevangelicals and bodies through liberals. Bodily needs are where most people live their lives and we, as evangelicals need to be more involved in them without surrendering in the least, our commitment to the biblical Gospel.

I know there are examples we can give of this happening, but we need to have it define us more without having to be lumped in with unbiblical theology.

lance said...

mmmm.... probably not. the god of the patriotic right exists to maintain the military, political and economic supremacy of the America. For the patriotic right America rose to prominence because during her formation, founding and early history she was faithful to this god. if however America turns her back on this god she is in danger of being judged and losing her position of power which may negatively affect the lifestyle of the average american. since America's rise to power happened despite her obvious sins of racism it must follow that paying attention to issues of injustice and oppression aren't required for her to maintain her present hegemony. consequently the patriotic right may not see that they have anything to gain by sitting at the table with the libera left.

speaking of the liberal left their god exists to see that they rise to equality within the corporate and social system of America. for them the black church was formed out of the collective experience of oppression, pain and injustice faced by black people for the first three centuries of our sojourn on this soil. it therefore exists to continue their fight for equality. for the liberal left god's primary will is the leveling of the playing field for poor black people. historical marginalization and present poverty give the liberal left license to redefine issues of sin and righteousness which can cause them to overlook or ignore obvious issues of sin. thus there is little reason for the liberal left to sit down with the patriotic right since the god of the left may not actually be offended by things like abortion and homosexuality since from their perspective these aren't the things hindering their pursuit of equality.

Sadly, neither group seems much interested in bowing before the eternal, Sovereign God of Scripture and calling those who follow them to repent, believe in Jesus Christ and pursue His kingdom instead of political power or social equality.

To Him Who Loves Us...
pastor lance

More Fire said...

Thanks for this provocative post. Christ was radical in his love and sacrifice for others. He was radical in regards to the Kingdom, but he never took sides with the politicians in this world. We who are Christians should learn from him who is our Lord and Master.

J Kent Kroencke said...

There is similar, but less seen war inside the Southern Baptist Convention between the 2 issue conservatives who pine for the convention to return to 1952 and the conservatives with a richer theological base and an eye toward the future through serious reformation of our churches.

Shawn Abigail said...

I think many evangelicals have seen what happened to liberal Christianity when it started putting a strong emphasis on social justice, and are scared that the same thing may happen to them.

At this point, I wonder about most of the clergy on the liberal left. Are they born again? Do they still recognize the fact of personal sin? Do they still see Christ as the only Saviour of sinners? Probably not. Most of them have made common cause with the political left against a Biblical view of reality.

I for one would be happy to make common cause against discrimination and police brutality with anyone who also recognizes that the Biblical view of reality says that homosexuality is a sin and abortion is murder. I would be happy to make common cause against poverty with anyone who recognizes that well run capitalism is not the cause of poverty.

Unfortunately I won't find too many of these folks within liberal "Christianity". But ignoring these problems is not an answer either. So I am responsible in my own life to give generously and speak out in favour of a Biblical view of justice and harmony.

Anyway, that's my two cents.


Rhology said...

I can heartily join in a chorus of "Down w/ the rah-rah America! culture that has taken root in much of conservative evangelicalism".

As for Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Fred Price, I wasn't aware they were Christians.
Live and learn. Or not.