Friday, October 30, 2009

Culture wars:
To Jared Wilson -- Amen

There is a new group Evangelical blog - called Evangel - at First Things. There are some interesting things about that sentence alone - First Things is primarily (although obviously not entirely) a Roman Catholic magazine of a politically conservative nature. None of the contributors to the Evangel blog are Roman Catholic.

Now for folks that do not see the difference between believing in fairies and believing in a Creator, personal God the distance between these two groups may not seem great. However, within the Body of Christ there is a marked tension between Evangelicalism as a movement within Protestantism and the Roman Catholic church. A very marked tension.

That distance has become less marked of recent - for both secular political and theological reasons. The differences between theological liberalism and theological conservatism have become even more marked than the differences that led to the Reformation and beyond. The battle for the truth around whether:

  • God is capable of accomplishing His will even by miraculous means within His own creation;
  • the resurrection of Christ was an actual, bodily event;
  • the Bible has authority in the present day 
are defining issues across the Protestant landscape - even within Evangelicalism where those three issues were the defining issues for its creation as a movement. This is not to mention evangelism - spreading the Good News - itself which has seemed menaced, in my opinion, particularly within Evangelicalism. So, the unwillingness of the Roman Catholic church to bend in the winds of modernism is attractive to, and unity building with, those who do not believe God bends in those winds either.

Politically, for much of theologically conservative Christianity the legal battles against gay marriage and abortion have thrown Roman Catholics and politically conservative Evangelicals together often and for good reason - they stand on common ground on those issues.

Which brings me back to this new Evangelical blog at a largely Catholic magazine. For me it is wonderful - the list of bloggers there is impressive:
If you wanted to set up a group of feeds to understand some of the depth of Evangelicalism - there is your list. Or, perhaps, just set up a feed to Evangel. However, this post is not just about a new and exciting (at least for me) blog.

It is about one post on that blog by Jared Wilson: "Funny, I Don’t Feel Neoconnish". Now, keep it mind that this is a Evangelical who is part of the emerging church writing at a blog sponsored by a magazine which is centrally interested in conservative politics of the United States. The opening line pretty much says it all:
The culture war will go to hell
Here are the reasons he gave (you will have to go read the text for each reasons - and the comments):
  1. Its expectation is foolish
  2. Its medium is moralism, not gospel.
  3. It is theologically naive.
  4. It is often hypocritical.
  5. It battles against flesh and blood.
  6. Its treasure is temporary.
  7. It makes idols of comfort and safety and propriety and power.
  8. It has no root in Jesus’ ministry.
  9. It mangles mission.
  10. The culture war is carried out for our name’s sake, not Jesus’.
His conclusion:
I choose the gospel. Come hell or highwater, come a liberal administration in Washington for the rest of my life or actual suffering. My treasure is not Christianity, but Christ. My hope is not a Christian nation but a Christ-saturated universe. I trust not in princes but in the King of Kings. I choose war on hell and death through the liberating power of Jesus in the glorious gospel of the grace of God.

For the glory of God.
To Jared Wilson -- Amen

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How to debate charitably (rules are links to more description of rule):
1. The Golden Rule
2. You cannot read minds
3. People are not evil
4. Debates are not for winning
5. You make mistakes
6. Not everyone cares as much as you
7. Engaging is hard work
8. Differences can be subtle
9. Give up quietly