Monday, October 06, 2008

An Agenda for Change: Living Out the Social Gospel

Joel Edwards puts a compelling process of thought together in what he calls 'An Agenda for Change: Living Out the Social Gospel'. Rather than jettison the Evangelical label he argues for rehabilitation!

Rehabilitating Evangelical: The Challenges:

  • We need to humbly reassess some of our tribal theological rigidities- "If evangelicalism is to reposition itself as a transforming movement in the twenty-first century, then it is the vast majority of people in the evangelical centre who are going to take us there."
  • We must present Christ credibly in cultures which have increasing vendettas against the idea of God in the public square - "a credible response needs to undomesticate the Christ evangelicals have held captive in fearful subcultures. We have become too comfortable with a risk-averse Christ who is not the Christ of the Bible. I’m not convinced that Jesus would be publicly identifiable with our moral agenda."
  • We must integrate long-term thinking. - "Christian citizenship must therefore be integral to our discipleship. Strategic Christian involvement in the marketplace, business, the arts, education, media, sports, local government, and community involvement is not an optional extra. If evangelicals become prophetically and strategically involved in the pain of our communities we may need less spiritual warfare concerning people we have nothing to do with."
Edwards concludes:
"It’s a united community of people who unveil Christ, presenting him credibly to government and culture; it’s a movement of people who are good news to the poor and marginalised; and it’s a Church mobilised for spiritual and cultural change, consumed by a long-term vision of a better society."
A couple of observations - it is interesting that Joel Edwards feels more comfortable having a go at articulating some of this material now away from the restrictions of being
general director of the Evangelical Alliance UK. Secondly, you can't help but feel some of the discomfort of the paradigm shift that his thinking represents.

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