Sunday, May 13, 2007

If Only Christian Leaders Read the Wall Street Journal for Their Theology

Friday op-ed's to the Wall Street Journal opinion page have contained some great articles on religion lately. Last Friday's entry, "Christianity Without Salvation," discusses the legacy of the social gospel. It's not at all difficult to see the vestiges of this legacy in the political agenda of many ecclesiastical entities within evangelicalism-fundamentalism. But with the rise of the evangelical political left, we're seeing a renewed manifestation of the social gospel, just with different core issues.

It's the same old warmed-over agenda of the noted leader of theological liberalism and social gospel, Walter Rauschenbusch, who's quoted in the op-ed as saying:
"If society continues to disintegrate and decay, the Church will be carried down with it. If the Church can rally such moral forces that injustice will be overcome . . . it will itself rise to higher liberty and life."
Kudos to the editors of the Journal for possessing what so many contemporary evangelical leaders lack—the theological discernment to consider the fact that "it is hard to see . . . how Rauschenbusch's theology could be called Christian in any meaningful sense of the term."


John said...

Thank you for the link. It depends on how you define "evangelical left". If you define it as Wallis and Campolo as does the WSJ I agree. If you describe it as many fundamentalists inaccurately do today, as Warren and his PEACE plan I disagree.

Rauschenbusch's denial of the second coming and no need for atonement and repentence is anathema to true evangelical teaching and that of Warren. It is good warning however and must be heeded as souls are in the balance much more than economies.

Ben said...


I visited Saddleback on week 3 of the PEACE plan unveiling. Before that day I had no inkling that Warren was preaching a social gospel. After that day I have no doubt that he does.

Ben said...

Perhaps I should clarify something. Warren's "Assist the Poor" "sermon" included a lengthy but excellent explanation of supply-side economics. So while his theology was leftist, his political and economic theory maintained some relationship to right-wing Republican ideology.

John said...

Care to elaborate