An Evangelical Renaissance of Social Justice


Social action has enjoyed a kind of renaissance among evangelicals lately.

This activity would include helping the poor, advocating for the oppressed, defending the helpless, reforming a secular institution, and other worthwhile causes.

According to recent research, evangelical churches have become increasingly involved in issues of social justice.[1] Nearly 68 percent of younger evangelical Christians affirm that the best way to address social evils is to “practice your ideals in everyday life.”[2] They increasingly see the church as a counterculture, whose mission is neither to integrate itself with culture nor baptize culture, but to become a mission to culture, “calling people to come under the reign of God through Jesus Christ.”[3]

These surveys demonstrate that younger evangelical Christians consistently oppose abortion like their forebears, but refuse to engage in cultural warfare or partisan politics. Instead, they eagerly “employ their faith publicly to fight against global poverty and sex trafficking or for creation care and immigration reform.”[4] Consequently, a New York Times opinion columnist labels this younger generation of evangelicals the “new internationalists.”[5]

This renaissance of social action isn’t limited to the young, however. For every one dollar given by evangelicals to political organizations, the same group has invested twelve dollars in foreign missions and international aid. Six of the seven largest evangelical mission organizations have relief and development as their primary focus.[6] Furthermore, the “missional church movement” sees social action as a natural expression of the church, at least on a local level.

Continue reading “An Evangelical Renaissance of Social Justice”

God’s Tough Love

07 - Gate to Heaven (iStock_000005458789Small-Cropped)My good friend, Chris Williams (aka “Wounded Warror“), and I share a common theological heritage. We were reared in fundamentalist Christian circles, which has given us a passion for pleasing the Lord and understanding His Word. Yet, like any manmade theological system, our tradition has also skewed our perspective of God. The same is true of all theological traditions, including Calvinism, revivalism, evangelicalism, and any other “ism” you care to name. Fundamentalism just happens to be ours.

After reading “My Husband Is Having an Affair with Pornography, What Should I Do?” he challenged me with a very insightful question. Because Chris has an impressive syllabus of Bible and theology training, my response reflects both the extent of his knowledge and the depth of his thinking. I also think his question is important enough to warrant an article, rather than a simple comment-level response.

Here is his question:


I am wondering about the separation you describe here by Cloud and Townsend. God does not separate from us in the way most of us think of separation. He says we can never be separated from his love, not the same thing you are advocating for the non-sinning spouse here. I know for me growing up severe separation was a problem, either too extreme or too lenient.

Calling someone into account based on the covenant of marriage seems to work better for me with my separationist background. I draw boundaries that are healthy, but that have nothing to do with withdrawing love or concern (you call it “loving response to sin” which is a great theme to explore, debunking the whole (if someone sins, run!) mentality.

Any helpful thoughts along these lines? Continue reading “God’s Tough Love”

Living the Good Life

The Good Life

Pleasing the Lord isn’t very complicated. It isn’t easy, but it’s relatively straightforward. He said so through the Old Testament prophet, Micah.

He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?

Unfortunately, the world will make this neither easy nor automatic; it severely punishes those who choose to please God. Moreover, our own fallen natures would have us please ourselves first. Nevertheless, the Lord has not left us to struggle on our own. Those who belong to Him have been given power that cannot be overcome by evil. Therefore, let us be aware of the challenges we face so that, through His strength, we might overcome them. Each of the Lord’s expectations—to do what is right, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with Him—will be met with a particular challenge.


The greatest challenge to doing what is right is doing what is hard.

Generally speaking, people have two important values they hope to preserve: comfort and integrity. Continue reading “Living the Good Life”