Friday, March 27, 2009

evangelicals and politics

Joel Carpenter with a review of three books in Books & Culture...

After a long (and fruitful) opening, Carpenter discusses seven "general trends" about evangelical roles in public affairs-- as found by the authors:

1. All over the world, evangelicals are now engaging civic life and public affairs.

2. Evangelicals can mobilize quickly and powerfully when a “kairos moment” emerges,
but they rarely succeed in sustaining a public presence.

This could be a function of fatigue where perseverance is required-- or in many cases, a fading of passion at what turns out to be the impractical and/or unbiblical
pursuit of government for godly ends.

3. Evangelical groups often enter public affairs for group-serving purposes, and they are not immune to bribery, cronyism, and influence-peddling.

Fire, like govt, is powerful. But this is one of the practical consequences of playing with fire.

4. Evangelical competition and proliferation nullify any idea of “evangelical blocs” or “new Christendoms.”

5. There are some signs of political maturation and principled approaches among evangelical

Maturation often means leaving the arena or moderating one's views. The only, real answer is a biblical worldview of government.

6. Lausanne and evangelical students promote democracy.

7. Evangelicals are much better at social action than at electoral politics.

Yep. Not surprisingly. Fortunately, that's a higher calling most of the time.


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