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A girl with stories

Mr. Rogers’ Wisdom April 7, 2013

Filed under: Anti-trafficking,Nerdy Thoughts — Amanda Lynn @ 6:40 am

“Most people today are only interested in making this world a better place to go to hell from.”

 

The “late, great Doctor Adrian Rogers” (cc: Doctor Gerald Davidson) said that and it resonates in the ears of Southern Baptists the convention over.

Yikes!

 

What did he mean?

I’m not super comfortable speaking for one of the greatest Theologians and Pastors of the Southern Baptist faith, but I’ll say he probably meant that social justice is not a stand alone representation of the Gospel. And that without the Gospel of grace, social justice does little other than better this present, broken world.

Since we live in a culture of extremes, we see only a few sides/ways represented, by and large, for Christians to engage in an unbelieving world.

 

 

The Social Gospel movement is a Protestant, intellectual movement that really got going in the early 1900’s. This movement applies Christian ethics to social problems like the alleviation of poverty, racial tensions, child labor, and the lack of access to education. Theologically, the Social Gospellers seek to operationalize, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” {Matthew 6:10}

Essentially, the Social Gospel gives the cup of cold water…but leaves out the name of Jesus. {Mark 9:41}

Many people have criticized the so-called ‘social gospel,’ but Jesus taught that we are to take the gospel to the world. Actually there is no such thing as a ‘social gospel.’ It is a misnomer. There is only one gospel … The cup of cold water comes after and sometimes before rather than instead of the gospel. Christians, above all others, should be concerned with social problems and social injustices. Down through the centuries the church has contributed more than any other single agency in lifting social standards to new heights.

:: Billy Graham 1984 ::

John Wesley

 

Here we have the DEED part of serving in His name, but not the WORDS.

 

Which brings us to…

Evangelicalism. This is a world-wide Protestant movement that began in the 1730s with the emergence of Methodists in England. The movement became significant here in the US during the series of the Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th centuries. Its earliest leaders included big shots like George Whitfeld and Jonathan Edwards. This movement was about proclaiming the word of God in mass quantities through many means including church sanctuaries, tent revivals, radio, telecast, door to door, etc….

blog2

tent revival

 

 

Now we’ve got the two defined. So what’s the big deal, Mr. Rogers?

Why is it so bad to be interested in bettering the world?

For example, fighting to end human trafficking, it’s not really a bad thing to do…is it?

Well, let me ask you this.

If you were to wake up tomorrow not in your bed in your home, but trapped somewhere awful that could hold you forever and ever with no connection to the outside? (heaven forbid)

Would you like me to come to you, knowing the way out, and just carve out a window in your cell with the hopes that you’ll find the way out through the window I carved?

Or would you rather me come and show you the way out of eternal enslavement?

 

The normal answer to that is a big fat, “DUH!”. Of course you’d rather be shown the way out over just being given a window.

That might be a pretty poor illustration, but nonetheless, it’s a picture of what the Church does when we work toward social justice without putting the spotlight on the Jesus.

I agree with the adage “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Absolutely!

Our kindness, our love for others, our generosity…all these things are a platform giving us credibility for sharing the greatest news of all.

All of these actions, these works (as the book of James calls them) spill from a heart that has been changed by the Gospel. It makes sense then, that all of these actions/works are to point others to the Gospel.

 

So, we don’t want to try to proclaim with our lips what our lives aren’t supporting.

But at the end of the day, my generation is really great at building homes and teaching orphans and funding causes and not really great at proclaiming with our words that Jesus is Lord. It’s acceptable to be philanthropic but not as acceptable to declare an absolute Truth in an extremely relativistic culture.

I love social justice and I believe that the “Kingdom coming on Earth as in Heaven” means obeying the command to “love our neighbors as ourselves”. This will reshape our current outlook on how we steward our resources like money, time and prayer. But I also believe that there is no activity more socially just than sharing the Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ alone. After all, what would bring more justice to our society than Jesus redeeming hearts?

 

So friends, I agree with Mr. Rogers.

Let’s not make this earth a better place to go to hell from. Let’s build an atmosphere that points people to Jesus in word and in deed. He is deserving of it all; all the words you can say, all the prayers you can pray, all the orphanages you can build and all the slaves you can rescue.

He is worthy!

 

 

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