Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Our Witness To The World
Steven P. Miller. The Age of Evangelicalism: The Born-Again Years. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. 240 pp. $24.95.Steven P. Miller. The Age of Evangelicalism: The Born-Again Years. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. 240 pp. $24.95.I agree with that statement and I find it horrible. Yes, we believe abortion is murder and same-sex marriage is abomination - but that is not what defines Christianity - Jesus is what defines Christianity. And so if they know us by our stances on issues, but not by the love of Christ we have failed. WE HAVE FAILED.
They know us by our politics. That is the sobering conclusion that evangelical readers will take away from Steven P. Miller’s seminal book, The Age of Evangelicalism: The Born-Again Years (Oxford). I do not know of another book that more effectively tells the story of American evangelicalism’s ascendancy and (perhaps) its political collapse, from Jimmy Carter to Barack Obama. Although some evangelical readers may not appreciate Miller’s critical tone, this is medicine worth taking for any conservative Christian who cares about politics and public policy.
We are, quite literally, no different than the Jewish authority of Christ's time. Not known for their holiness, they were known for their opposition to Rome and by their "odd" religious practices. They were known by their politics, not by the grace that God had bestowed upon Israel. They were not set apart for politics, they were set apart to be holy. They failed - Christ came. We have failed, what now comes for us?
This does not, by the way, mean a Christian should not do politics. It means that the difference is not in our political stances but in how we DO the politics. That is a matter of both character and expectation. It means we act with exemplary character and we expect the same from those we debate with. It means we love our foe, but do not accept their wrongness.
Mostly it means we do not fight for what we want, we fight for what is best.
But we have failed. Now what?
Evangelicalism failure politics