Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Left, right, and evangelical

This Get Religion post provides a nice tour of the horizon of the politics of contemporary evangelicalism. Among the articles it cites is this one from Newsweek. A couple of questions are worth chewing on. First, is there such a thing as an evangelical teaching on politics (let alone on theology)? Second, does the biblical teaching on social justice require the establishment of a massive public welfare bureaucracy and redistributionist tax policy? It seems to me, as I’ve said many a time before, that a concern for widows and orphans doesn’t by itself yield the platform of the Democratic Party. What works best in helping the neediest isn’t dictated by the Bible, but rather by some combination of experience and a social science aware of the limitations of any merely empirical study of the human things.

Discussions - 4 Comments

I guess I will always be at loggerheads with my own (Catholic) church over their nouveau social justice crusade. Some outfit has been pushing really hard, curiously since about 2004, to bring so-called social justice to the forefront and get the Church off that annoying abortion/gay marriage thing. This last election my own parish pretty much told us to vote for the minimum wage initiative and really went over the top to support the Dems round up scruffs for last-minute registration and voting.

And yeah, it’s always about the government *doing* the social justice, and no longer about direct local action, which was always the Church’s strong suit before. People forget that the first encyclical, Rerum Novarum, was an explicit repudiation of communism if not socialism too.

The Bible tells us very little about social policy, and His Kingdom, for Christ’s sake, "IS NOT OF THIS WORLD."

"First, is there such a thing as an evangelical teaching on politics (let alone on theology)? Second, does the biblical teaching on social justice require the establishment of a massive public welfare bureaucracy and redistributionist tax policy?"


That is a great question, Dr. Knippenberg, and one that the evangelical leadership needs to seriously think about.

Cassandra: Ditto at the diocesan level here, but NOT at my parish. My pastor is young enough (and orthodox enough)to be "old school" and privately opposed to the Nanny State. I love ’im!
Now that my "presidentially-aspiring" Gov. has proposed state funding for ESCR, our bishop is left squirming.......So far, he’s done the right thing and publicly opposed the initiative. I just hope this gets him to seriously reconsider his (and his cohorts’) de facto embrace of the Dem social policy agenda. It’s frankly embarrassing. Lawler and Knippenberg (and a few other luminaries) need to offer "Christian Social Teaching" boot camp for JPII bishops and evangelical leaders.

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