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Great Commission or Great Society?

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Evangelicals are remarkably certain about the things of Caesar and surprisingly timid about articles of the Christian religion. For believers who identify and promote the teachings of the Reformation this is indeed a sad state of affairs.

We have all had similar conversations, the one with fellow believers where we agree with our friends about a particular matter of public policy but end up disagreeing quite strongly about specifics of Christian faith and practice. The frustrating thing about such encounters is the way Christians can passionately pursue specific legislative initiatives or rally around a particular political candidate, but in the realm of spiritual matters, things about which believers should be far more zealous, we are surprisingly indifferent and content to live with a diversity of perspectives. For instance, one would be hard pressed to find an evangelical who is not opposed to legislation designed specifically to sanction same sex marriages. Yet, trying to find an evangelical who believed that the use of images in worship involved breaking the second commandment is almost as hard as finding an American who thinks Major League Baseball players are underpaid. But this is what precisely has happened within many Christian communions. According to David Wells, the church has subsumed the love of God under the love of neighbor to such an extent that faith has come to mean "little more than seeking justice in the world."

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Darryl G. Hart is Director of Fellowship Programs at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (Wilmington, Delaware) and author of several books including, John Williamson Nevin: High Church Calvinist (P&R, 2005) and A Secular Faith: Why Christianity Favors the Separation of Church and State (Ivan R. Dee, 2006).

Issue: "God and Politics" Sept./Oct. 1994 Vol. 3 No. 5 Page number(s): 9-13

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