“Many of these movements, if not all of them, contain varying degrees of components associated with liberation theology and are incredibly confused about the nature of Christianity, personal holiness, and the mission of the church. This is especially the case as it relates to the relationship of the church and the world, not to mention, the content of the gospel.”
(Ed Dingess) We are witnessing nothing short of a full-on gospel crisis in American Evangelicalism today. Just as the homosexual movement has rapidly deteriorated into the full-blown confusion we see around the psychological disorder and delusion of gender dysphoria; we are witnessing the exponential demise of what was once a clear, focused, gospel-centered movement. When everything in evangelicalism is a gospel issue, nothing is. And this is precisely what is happening in modern evangelical Christianity. A few examples are presented in this post and then a plea for some sanctified common sense follows.
Social justice is all the rage these days. Even within the reformed camp, the balance between social concerns and the gospel is shifting much more quickly than one would have previously imagined. Social justice has, for all intents and purposes, eclipsed the pure gospel of historic Christianity so much so that we no longer know where the gospel story concludes, and its impact on me as a new person in Christ, in my culture, begins. We can see this in a variety of movements that have and are competing for the attention and the money and the time of Christians, week in and week out. Abolish Human Abortion argues that the church isn’t being the church unless it works to feverishly put a stop to the murder of unborn babies. The unborn babies are your neighbor, says AHA, and you are commanded to love your neighbor and protect the defenseless. If you are not picketing abortion clinics and opposing abortion in just the right way, then you are not loving your neighbor. For AHA, ending abortion is a gospel issue. The Gospel Coalition is cranking out one social issue after another and they are all gospel issues. From Tim Keller’s highly controversial and questionable philosophies outlined in his Generous Justice to the most recent pet, outlawing American Football, TGC has turned every social concern into a gospel issue. Many prominent Southern Baptists leaders, a denomination of which I happen to be a part, has its political arm, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Committee, devoted almost exclusively to social issues. From its website we read the following: The ERLC is dedicated to engaging the culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ and speaking to issues in the public square for the protection of religious liberty and human flourishing. And of course, these issues, ranging from social justice to racial reconciliation, from sex trafficking to immigration, are all gospel issues. The ERLC, TGC, and AHA all want your attention, your time, and your money in order to carry out their agenda. But there is more.
Many of these movements, if not all of them, contain varying degrees of components associated with liberation theology and are incredibly confused about the nature of Christianity, personal holiness, and the mission of the church. This is especially the case as it relates to the relationship of the church and the world, not to mention, the content of the gospel. Now, in case you are skeptical of my thesis (and healthy skepticism is encouraged) that what you are witnessing in Evangelicalism is in fact, liberation theology sporting a fresh coat of paint, note this comment from J. Daniel Salinas concerning the book, An Inquiry into the Possibility of an Evangelical-Liberationist theology: Chaves, the Brazilian professor at the Baptist University of the Americas, argues that later developments in both North American evangelicalism (NAE) and Latin American Liberation Theologies (LALT) have drawn them theologically closer than ever before.
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