Sunday, January 30, 2005

Gospel, Redux

Now that the dust has begun to settle, and some of the more vitriolic invective leveled against “fundamentalist Christians” by American leftist elites has been laid to rest (at least for the time being), the Dems can get back to working on the biggest problem they face: how to convince the Red Staters that their party does indeed stand for traditional moral values and not just for excising God from the public square and banning Christmas pageants. This is a problem that they cannot easily overcome. For what the leftist elites in America call Christianity is wildly out of sync with both the majority of American Christians (that is, Red State Christians) believe, and with the history of Christianity in the United States. I have met many earnest people who attend their “faith based organization” of choice regularly, and most of them are genuinely distressed by the fact that they are perceived by tens of millions of Bible Believing Christians in the U.S. to not really be Christian at all. “Why is that”, they wonder...”I believe that all people are precious in God’s eyes”, they say, “and I believe that with the Sermon on the Mount Jesus was instructing all his followers to end hunger, want, war, and hatred. I mean, I really believe that one must not judge another person “lest ye be judged” himself. I believe that if Jesus were alive today he’d be for Transgender Rights and the right to choose a late-term abortion.” Despite their (usually) apparent sincerity, what these people espouse is not traditional mainstream American Protestantism, as it has been interpreted historically, but, rather, the tenets of the 19th century American Social Gospel movement.

The American Social Gospel Movement

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

The Social Gospel movement was a prominent Protestant movement in the late 19th and early to mid 20th century that attempted to apply Christian principles to social problems. Part of the Christian "modernism" trend with a strong emphasis on social justice, the movement was a rival to evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity.
In the United States prior to World War I, the Social Gospel was the religious wing of the progressive movement that had the aim of combating injustice, suffering and poverty in society. In this context, it is seen as having provided the philosophical underpinning for the New Deal. After the war, the movement shifted its focus to the civil rights arena, and later, became outspoken in its opposition to the Vietnam War.
With the ascendancy of the Christian right beginning in the 1980s, the Social Gospel agenda declined in the United States, but examples of its continued existence can still be found…Sometimes (it is) seen as a branch of Christian socialism.

When a leftist do-gooder (non-atheist variety, though that too is open to interpretation) excoriates “fundamentalist” Christians for being blind to the world’s suffering (an assertion that is demonstrably untrue) that leftist is actually recommending the Social Gospel over the traditional, historically validated Gospel practiced by those Christians he calls “fundamentalist”. When the Social Gospel Christian sees an actual Christian practicing actual normative Christianity, he sees not a devout Believer but instead a hard-hearted, soulless Pharisee. Just as the Left believes they hold a monopoly on ontological truth, the Left likewise believes that they are the only real Christians. By implication, this means that the whole of pre-Social Gospel Christianity, its historic creeds and its attendant culture is incorrect in both word and deed.

With such an attitude, the American leftist elites (i.e., the Democratic Party establishment) have much work to do before they can persuade traditional American Christians that they are indeed the party of moral values.


At 10:59 AM, Blogger firediva said...

The Social Gospel has nothing to do with the original tenets of the Christian faith. Those who follow the Social Gospel believing that they are Christians are, in reality, not UNLESS they believe that Christ is the Son of God and the only way to the Father is through Him. The majority of the Social Gospel Believers whom I have met state quite clearly that as long as one is a "good person" (whatever that means - and who determines this concept of a "good person"?), one will go to heaven and that there are many ways to get there! The tenets of the Christian faith do notrecognize New Age, Eastern practices, etc as ways into Heaven! Sorry - to Hell you will go!

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