Tag archives: Evangelicals

Memo to Evangelicals: All Marriages Are Not, Nor Ever Will Be, Biblically Equal

by Rob Schwarzwalder

September 15, 2014

Evangelicals for Marriage Equality” has published a piece in TIME magazine asserting an orthodox theological case for same-sex “marriage.”

This ground has been covered so often that to write about it again seems redundant to the point of being tedious. Yet it cannot be ignored because its proponents keep raising it. Below are some responses to this new initiative whose essential argument – that “it’s possible to be a faithful Christian with a high regard for the authority of the Bible and a faithful supporter of civil marriage equality” – is simply not consistent with biblical teaching, natural law, or the quantifiable good of society.

This is not a dispute like Christian disagreements over modes of baptism or the doctrines of the end times (you say amillenial, I say premillennial, but we’re not going to call our fellowship off). It is about whether or not the clear meaning of any number of passages in the Old and New Testaments is true, and whether what the Bible teaches about human sexuality is right or wrong.

To professing Evangelical advocates of same-sex “marriage:” Stop dissembling. Reject revealed truth concerning human sexual behavior if you will. Christ does not compel faithful discipleship at the point of a gun. Just don’t pretend the Bible doesn’t say what it says or that your personal experiences and/or longings must supersede the commands of the Creator and Redeemer of the universe.

Dr. Robert Gagnon, “Jesus, Scripture, and the Myth of New-Knowledge Arguments About Homosexuality

Jesse Johnson, “The Case Against Same-Sex Marriage

Andrew Walker, “An Evangelical Defense of Traditional Marriage

Rev. Peter Sprigg, “Top Ten Harms of Same-Sex Marriage

Rob Schwarzwalder, “Leviticus, Jesus, and Homosexuality: Some Thoughts on Honest Interpretation

Rev. Dr. David E. Prince, “Christianity and the New Liberalism: Homosexuality and the Evangelical Church

Is Capitalism Over?

by Krystle Gabele

November 15, 2012

Elise Amyx at Values and Capitalism writes about how Christian hipsters are declaring the demise of capitalism. Perhaps, it would be good to know what a Christian hipster stands for and how is capitalism over?

According to Brett McCracken, author of Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide, a Christian hipster is a young evangelical who strays from the typical stereotypes of the evangelicals of the 80s and 90s and prefers the progressive viewpoints, as well as intellectual Christianity. While most evangelicals prefer to help Republicans, the Christian hipster prefers Barack Obama.

Therefore, it should not surprise you that a Christian hipster might consider capitalism over.

Young Protestants today seem to be rebelling against the traditional Protestant work ethic because they associate it with a greedy, selfish, superficial version of the American Dream. Evangelical hipster culture implies that Christians should oppose capitalism and adopt pro-regulation, pro-environmentalism, pro-universal health care political positions to truly live a Christ-like life. (Source)

There is something wrong here. I am pretty certain that many Christian hipsters work hard. In fact, they might even embrace capitalism more than they think. Take for example, increased government regulations would squash freedom and innovation. This is surely something they might be against.

Whether or not they realize it, capitalism is all around them. After all, many of the products they use — whether it be Apple products or Starbucks coffee — began in a capitalist society. It was the free market and innovation that brought many of the modern conveniences they rely upon.

Young Evangelicals, Common Ground, and the New Social Witness

by Family Research Council

November 5, 2012

How do we expect young Evangelicals to vote? With Election Day tomorrow and every vote in the balance, the question remains: Are these millennials the reliable moral majority of their parents generation? Or have they called a truce on the culture wars?

On October 16, I joined a panel of seven young Evangelicals behind the microphones of the National Press Club. We hailed from a diverse set of policy organizations and came, in part, to answer that very question. What are the political priorities for todays young Evangelicals?

More specifically, we discussed the results of a recent survey, conducted by Sojournersa Christian advocacy organization dedicated to promoting social justice, often in collaboration with progressive political means. The Sojourners blog post suggested that we all had agreed to call a truce on cultural warfare and settled on a new common ground. But are the culture wars over?

On August 15, an armed gunman entered my workplace. He confronted my colleague, announced his profound disagreement with my organizations politics, and proceeded to fire his weapon three times. Thankfully, he only wounded my colleague in the arm. The suspect was carrying Chick-fil-A sandwiches and 50 rounds of ammunition. He has since been arrested and charged with assault with intent to kill and committing an act of terrorism while armed.

If these are the culture wars, I sincerely hope they are over. That said, I and other young Evangelicals must face the uncomfortable and undeniable reality: our nation remains deeply divided on our social ethics. And some of us young Evangelicals have accepted the uncomfortable but compelling call to advocate for the most vulnerable human lives, promote a biblical and natural view of marriage, and use the freedoms given by God and articulated within the Constitution.

Even the numbers within the Sojourners study suggest that a majority of young Evangelical millennials have not abandoned the principles championed by their parents. My fellow panelist, and Executive Director for the Manhattan Declaration, Eric Teetsel has already written to this point. His blog post titled, Evangelicals on Common Ground is well worth the read.

I personally dislike the label of culture warrior. If my aversion is naive and semantic, age and faithful, hard work will cure me and Ill carry the badge. But I suggest that there is a growing cohort of cheerful young Evangelical advocates. We may, perhaps, have a gentler tone than the cartoon version of our parents advocacy. But many of us promote and prioritize the principles that our parents did.

This may be the common ground that Sojourners celebrates. If it truly is common ground, I suggest that (like any common room in my living experience) it requires upkeep. If we have truly entered such a cultural moment, I offer the following guiding principles:

An unconfused civility:

I invite us to show greater grace and civility in our public conversations. Such civility would steer us away from assuming each others motives. It would keep conservatives from assuming that progressives intend to bankrupt the nation and shred the Constitution. In turn, progressives might refrain from suggesting that conservatives hate the poor and relish the thought of perpetual warfare.

Such civility might slow us down a bit, restore our respect for each others humanity and motivations, and lend itself to more intelligent collaboration on specific issues. In the absence of such all-or-nothing advocacy and bombast, a politically diverse group of young Christians might begin to make authentic progress on specific concerns such as welfare reform, education reform, and human trafficking. It may not be the most effective fundraising technique for individual advocacy organizations. It may move us toward more authentic reform.

Clarity on our -ologies:

Even under a shared umbrella of Evangelical commitment, we would be wise to address how our theology, anthropology, and eschatology inform our social agenda. Volumes could and have been written on each -ology and its implications for public service. But just a quick glance at what this might mean for todays Evangelicals.

Left, right, or centerare we more concerned about having God in our political camp, rather than being on his side? In contrast, will we refuse to cherry-pick bible verses for our own political agendasto the exclusion of other calls to holiness, humility, and compassion? Our theology inevitably shapes our priorities.

A biblically-informed anthropology encourages us to protect all humans as image-bearers of the living Godcradle-to-grave. But progressive/conservative disagreements regarding social and economic policies often stem from our different theological understanding of brokenness and evil. I believe that my progressive friends more readily locate the problem of evil primarily in situational variables, rather than in personal responsibility. But when we fail to dignify the needy by holding them accountable, our good intentions may serve to exacerbate the need. However, my conservative and libertarian friends run the risk of ignoring the social contexts into which so many are born. When we ignore the devastating implications of victimization, (fatherlessness, abuse, a failed educational system, etc) we similarly fail to offer authentic hope and suggest that the Christianity is a graceless thing.

We are, indeed, called to be Matthew 25 Christians. In addition to caring for the poor, imprisoned, and persecuted (Matt. 25:40), we usher in the kingdom of God through small faithfulness like investing the masters money (Matt. 25:14-30), and waiting with our lamps full (Matt. 25:1-30). I caution Christian friends of all political stripes to be avoid immanentizing the eschatonor confusing ones role as Christs hands and feet, with bearing the weight of ushering in the kingdom of God.

Knowing the length of your arm:

We are the Facebook generationtrying to be faithful and relevant amidst the clutter of an active Twitter feed and 24/7 news cycle. We may know more about the worlds events and needs than did our parents at our age. But I suggest that we are also more distracted and fragmented. In this dizzying swirl of information and friendships we run the risk of detaching ourselves from authenticin-the-flesh communities. We are tempted to find our own churches, families, and neighborhoods too small for our grand ideas. I suggest that the rising generation of Christians, regardless of political affiliation, should place a higher priority on individual relationships, hidden faithfulness, and commitment to a local body of believers.

God has used his peoplelike William Wilberforce, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Martin Luther Kingto organize great social resistance to social evils. But it is the paradox of the Christian life: God often uses individuals who are prepared to be small, hidden, faithful, and accountable to other believers. We may be called to wrestle with monumental injustice, but we will be most effective when we remain attentive to the challenges at our doorstep and the efforts already being made to alleviate such problems.

A new social witness:

Has the rising generation abandoned the culture wars? I hardly know. I, personally, am prepared to cross partisan lines to address genuine human need and offer authentic freedom. But more fundamentally, I aim to follow Christs call to follow him both in private and in public life. In a recent lecture, Dr. Owen Strachan called upon todays Christian leaders to a disciplined vitality and a new social witness. I close with his words:

This movement… refuses to be seen as the religious wing of a given party. It is, however, grounded in the public witness of Christians offered in the past 30-40 years, and it is grateful for the sacrifices made by those who have gone before. This movement does not consider the church a PAC, nor America the new Israel. Its tone is charitable and courageous, because this movement derives ultimate confidence and identity not from the city of man, but from the city of God.

Lets bring that new social witness to our churches, our families, our jobs, and our polls.

Real Needs, Real Compassion

by Rob Schwarzwalder

July 24, 2012

Recently, World Magazine founder Joel Belz asked readers these questions: “If you could identify just one issue that is terribly askew in our culture today, and then were granted as a gift from God the ability to set that one issue right, what would it be? What specific cultural victory, if we could win it, would provide the most leverage to produce a society that is closer to the cultural blueprint God has designed for us?”

Here is Joel’s analysis of the many comments sent to him, in order of the number of responses received:

1. The secularization of our society—led by the rejection of a Creator God and the dominance of evolutionary thinking.

2. Loss of the distinctive identities of men and women, leading to a loss of understanding of marriage and family.

3. Abortion.

4. Loss of the tools to educate and shape the rising generation.

5. Sense of entitlement, selfishness, and complacency.

6. Loss of a defined dominant culture, with attendant culture wars.

7. Loss of specific freedoms.

8. Loss of honest and civil public discourse.

9. Obsession with sex.

This list demonstrates the seriousness with which at least a part of the Evangelical community (which composes most of World‘s readership) takes the reality of cultural decay in our time. The good news is that many Evangelicals are involved in activities to bring the fragrance of Christ to our society and its politics. They know that pathologies and problems are more than statistics, lines on a chart or multi-colored graphs. They are composed of real people - men, women, and children with names and needs, hopes and hurts. From ultrasound vans to rescuing young people trapped in sexual slavery, Evangelicals are working - usually quietly, without fanfare or media attention - to show the love of their Savior with tangible compassion.

Evangelicals and Catholics are ministering in myriad ways to untold numbers of people throughout our society. FRC’s Real Compassion website provides links to both the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and Catholic Charities sites. In each of them, you can find creative and effective ministries - national, regional, and local - through which you can make a difference in combating the very things World’s readers rightly have discerned as crying needs.