Culture

Rob Bell defines evangelical … really

Rob Bell sat down with Michael Paulson of the Boston Globe as part of his Drop Like Stars tour. Here is the definition of “evangelical” the Boston Globe quoted: “I embrace the term evangelical, if by that we mean a belief that we together can actually work for change in the world, caring for the environment, extending to the poor generosity and kindness, a hopeful outlook. That’s a beautiful sort of thing.” You may want to follow the conversation at Out of Ur.

Here are Rob’s tweets in response:

* Ever done an interview and then read it and realized they left out most of what you said? Maddening.
* A bit of history: the word evangelical comes from the Roman Empire propaganda machine- it was an announcement proclaiming Caesar is Lord…
* The first Christians took the phrase and tweaked it, saying “Jesus is Lord.” That, of course, could get you killed. No one challenges Caesar
* To confess Jesus is Lord was to insist that peace does not come to earth through coercive violence but through sacrificial love…
* That is still the question, is it not? Whose way? Jesus or Caesar? Power and might and domination – or bloody, thirsty, hanging on a cross?

Church, Reflections

The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience

Link: The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience – Books & Culture.

Ron Sider is at it again.  He so wants USAmerican evangelical Christians to be Christian, yet the overwhelming evidence is that evangelicals are succombing to the dominant USAmerican culture. Think Ron has it wrong … read his discussion below about evangelicals and divorce, materialism and its implications for caring for the least, the last, and the lost, sexual disobedience (!), and racism.  Fortunately, we can learn from the church at Laodicea (see Revelation 3:14-20) about being transformed from lukewarm christianity into signs of God’s hope for the world.

Ronald J. Sider, "The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience: Why don’t Christians live what they preach?" Books & Culture, 11.1 (January/February 2005), p. 8.

Once upon a time there was a great religion that over the centuries had spread all over the world. But in those lands where it had existed for the longest time, its adherents slowly grew complacent, lukewarm, and skeptical. Indeed, many of the leaders of its oldest groups even publicly rejected some of the religion’s most basic beliefs.
In response, a renewal movement emerged, passionately championing the historic claims of the old religion and eagerly inviting unbelievers everywhere to embrace the ancient faith. Rejecting the skepticism of leaders who no longer believed in a God who works miracles, members of the renewal movement vigorously argued that their God not only had performed miraculous deeds in the past but still miraculously transforms all who believe. Indeed, a radical, miraculous "new birth" that began a lifetime of sweeping moral renewal and transformation was at the center of their preaching. Over time, the renewal movement flourished to the point of becoming one of the most influential wings of the whole religion.

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