Culture Wars or Not — Its really about the Gospel

I really like going to the internetmonk blog. Here is what he posted recently:

http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/why-electing-palin-or-huckabee-makes-more-sense-to-you-than-reforming-your-church

http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/the-tactics-of-failure-why-the-culture-war-makes-sense-to-spiritually-empty-evangelicals

I am suggesting, therefore, that the increasing interest in the culture war among evangelicals is not an example of a reinvigorated evangelicalism remaking its culture. Instead, I believe the intense focus by evangelicals on political and cultural issues is evidence of a spiritually empty and unformed evangelicalism being led by short-sighted leaders toward a mistaken version of the Kingdom of God on earth.

The Culture War makes sense to Christians who have little or no idea how to be Christians in this culture except to oppose liberals and fight for a conservative political and social agenda- an agenda often less than completely examined in the light of scripture, reason, tradition and experience. Those evangelicals- like Greg Boyd- who have challenged or broken the identification with the political right can testify to how they are immediately viewed. Dissenting evangelicals are labeled as pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage and pro- Democrat instantly. The rhetoric of the culture warriors is relentless in associating dissenting evangelicals of every kind with the issues of abortion and homosexuality. No one could be blamed for believing that evangelicalism was a modestly spiritual movement with the goal of banning abortion and gay marriage.

In this scenario, there are a number of bizarre takes. The SBC’s most well known theologian doesn’t write books of theology. He hosts a daily talk radio program on cultural war issues. Rod Parsley may preach about miracles, but he uses his influence to elect candidates and promote political causes. Politicians elected by evangelicals get re-elected by appealing to the hot button culture war issues, but their positions on issues like gambling or Aid to Africa are unpredictable and often unknown. The Left Behind movies become video games where the godless are shot by Christians defending themselves. And of course, Ann Coulter appears on TBN, promoting her take on why evangelicals ought to care about the influence of real “godless” liberals.

Where is the Gospel? Where is the missional calling of the Christian? Where is the church’s ministry of spiritual formation? Where are ministries of Word and Sacrament? All of these are increasingly buried under doublespeak and culture war rhetoric. Evangelicalism is being betrayed by many of its leaders who are building their “ministries” by the appeal to anything but the Gospel and compassion of Jesus.

The culture war agenda increasingly makes sense to evangelicals who are spiritually unformed, distracted and misled. I cannot approve of Greg Boyd’s theology of God’s knowledge, but I can say that his stand against the encroachments of the culture warriors- encroachments that come from outside the church and seek to dictate the work of the ministry itself- is commendable.

Why is Ann Coulter on TBN? Because we understand her and her war against liberals.

Thanks Michael Spencer for that post!

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