Is the Gospel Subservient to Ideology?

For over 30 years, Richard Cizik served as the Washington lobbyist for the National Association of Evangelicals. Cizik resigned in 2008 after openly supporting civil unions for homosexuals and revealing his vote for Barack Obama in the Virginia primary.

I find it interesting Cizik has since resurfaced, forming the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good. I found my way to this new information concerning Cizik by way of a recent piece in Newsweek. You can find the article here. What really surprised me was the following quote about Cizik within a link from the aforementioned article;

“Cizik says he represents a tradition of evangelicalism going back to the beginning of the 20th century – to Francis Schaeffer and Carl Henry, evangelicals who were strictly orthodox, but advocated a broad engagement with the world.”

Why was I so surprised? Just this week, in a discussion with an acquaintance, I said what amounts to the very same thing when asked how my own Christianity influences my social and political views. I even conjured up the name of both Schaeffer and Henry. However, I would expect Cizik and I stand diametrically opposed on more than one societal issue.

The article from Newsweek which links to Cizik’s story seems to follow the typical pattern of modern journalism; surgically extract the mean and neatly differentiate all entities into polarized sections of “A” and “B”, “Black” and “White”, “Right” and “Left”. The problem is that most of us really are in the middle. The populous gravitates towards the mean, right?

So, given my apparent commonality with Mr. Cizik, my own conscious beckons me to choose for myself. Am I “A” or “B”? “Black” or “White”? “Right” or “Left”? I think too often we all fail to see the reality of continuums in individual thought and even more so in theological application. There have even been discussions in our own church recently which evoke the same passionate tendency to “divide and conquer”. Contributors to this blog are still appealing to our commonalities within the debate of an old vs. new earth interpretation of Genesis.

In the midst of the arguments, I can’t help but wonder if there really is room for variance in ones application of theological interpretation towards societal problems while maintaining biblical unity? With biblical unity being the ties that bind, instead of vice versa? I ask because it seems that whatever we are doing now doesn’t seem to be working! Modern Christian activism (both conservative and liberal) seems more polarizing today than it has ever been.

Let’s return to the Newsweek article. I think the author is correct in surmising the rising tide of a new Christian patriotism that Cizik and others are attempting to temper. Consider this quote from the article;

“The marriage between evangelicalism and patriotic nationalism is so strong that anybody who is raising questions about loyalty to the old, laissez-fair capitalist system is ex post facto unpatriotic, un-American, and by association non-Christian.”

As the ideological pendulum will inevitably sway, I hope pervasive movements such as this do not become a cancer in our churches as once again the gospel is drowned out by the loud voice of self-righteous moralism.

The bible teaches that through the gospel we are given freedom because it was for freedom that Christ set us free (Galatians 5:1). It would do us well to remember that includes freedom from ideology.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>