Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Uneasy Conscience

Some years ago, Carl Henry challenged the evangelical community, in particular the fundamentalist, to be more active in the world's social concerns in his book entitled “The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism”.

Henry illustrates the need for evangelical to engage with the culture with the following story:

“In a company of more than one hundred representative, evangelical pastors, the writer proposed the following questions: “How many of you,during the past six months, have preached a sermon devoted in large part to a condemnation of such social evils as aggressive warfare,racial hatred and intolerance, the liquor traffic, exploitation of labor or management, erance, or the like-a sermon containing not merely an incidental or illustrative reference, but directed mainly against such evils and proposing the framework in which you think solution is possible?” Not a single hand was raised in response.” [1]

But not only does Henry want evangelical to be active in the societal problems, but he wishes for those action to be grounded in deep biblical reflections. Richard Mouw writes in the foreword:

“Carl Henry’s call to action in the 1940s was not a mere summons to activism. It was an invitation to an evangelical cultural involvement that was based solidly on the kind of profound theological reflection that could only be sustained by a social program that was closely linked to a systematic commitment to the nurturing of the life of the mind. And while the evangelical academy has known much scholarly success in recent decades, there is often a considerable disconnect between grassroots evangelical activism and carefully reasoned theological orthodoxy.” [2]

Finally Henry reminds Christians that only the redemptive power in the gospel can save our society. He writes:

“The evangelical task primarily is the preaching of the Gospel, in the interest of individual regeneration by the supernatural grace of God,in such a way that divine redemption can be recognized as the best solution of our problems, individual and social”. [3]

I highly recommend this book, as a reminder to Christians that we have the only solution to redeem the world. May God give our churches and individuals the wisdom and creativity to use the gospel to solve the problems of the world.

[1] pg. 4

[2] pg. xiii

[3] pg. 89


Geoff said...

"May God give our churches and individuals the wisdom and creativity to use the gospel to solve the problems of the world."

There is one main problem that the Gospel is intended to solve, namely the problem of sin. Other problems are solved as a result of that one main problem being solved.

Todd Bensel said...

I don't see Jesus in the gospels as promoting saving "societies." Usually what passes for saving modern societies is thinly disguised socialism, a rare but deadly disease for all concerned. Here in small town America, we live the social gospel every day, without having someone preach it to us - it's just a process of common life together - feeding the family without food, giving clothes to those in need, putting gas in the tank, chopping someone's firewood. We don't need a government program or bureacratic church program to get it done!

Neil Yang said...

Status report:
I am still looking around. I think it might take me a while to actually find a church? I think the weird feeling I get is because I'm just so used to FPC and how we worship.

I'm going to visit DCBC (Dallas Chinese Bible Church) sometime in the future, but I've been to TPC of Dallas and AABC (Asian America Baptist Church). I really liked the sermon they gave at AABC! It was really awesome. I'll have to share it with some of the guys when I get back... if I remember the details.

I'm going to try and attend the Intervarsity or whatever Christian organization is on campus. Your friend Pat introduced me to a Daniel who I believe is helping to lead the group. Christians on Campus haven't contacted me in a long while... so I think I'm out of their loop now. I believe you guys had a lesson on the group, but I wasn't attending the college class sessions.

Well, that's my report :-P Enjoy reading it.

Pray for me as I try to find out where I belong here!