Evangelical Identity Crisis
The Holy Spirit seems to be filling the hearts of many evangelical American Christians, calling them to be rivers of life for others in ways that they and their constituency groups, have not done in decades.
A recent Newsweek article examines how many evangelicals in America are going back to the Scriptures and seeing again, the LORD's insistence on justice and mercy for all.
They end up insisting themselves, on doing the work of a fuller Gospel, in ways that may bring them closer to the social justice work and ministries that mainline Christian denominations like the Episcopal Church have been performing for decades.
The Newsweek article profiles and interviews many evangelical and otherwise conservative Christians across many denominations, including Adam Hamilton, pastor of a 14,000 member parish in Leawood, Kans., a suburb near the Missouri border.
Adam Hamilton was preaching an entirely different message. He was helping his 14,000 members parse the parables in Matthew 13—the wheat and the weeds, the good fish and bad. "Our task is not to go around judging people—Jesus didn't do that," he tells NEWSWEEK. He encourages his congregation to vote, he says, but when they do they're neither predictably Republican nor Democratic. On the issues, many are increasingly frustrated with the war in Iraq; they're conservative on abortion, but they "express compassion" for homosexuals. The religious right has "gone too far," says Hamilton. "They've lost their focus on the spirit of Jesus and have separated the world into black and white, when the world is much more gray." He adds: "I can't see Jesus standing with signs at an anti-gay rally. It's hard to picture that."
There is no doubt that the Body of Christ could be built up better by increased cooperation between mainline denominations and evangelical churches looking to broaden their ministry and witness. Each brings unique gifts that could be shared with the other.
Working together to remind everyone, that the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is the Good News of liberty, love, and grace freely given, and not a weapon of division and fear, is a fine first step.
The article is here. It is well worth the read.