Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 140:558 (Apr 83) p. 173
“Evangelicals and Social Concern,” Frank E. Gaebelein, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 25 (March 1982): 17-22.
“A Balanced Gospel in a Social World,” Mariano Di Gangi, United Evangelical Action 41 (Winter 1982): 14-16.
“Is the Social Gospel Invading Evangelicalism?” John A. Sproule, Good News Broadcaster, December 1982, pp. 12-13.
The order in which the three articles above are listed is purposeful, not accidental. Gaebelein and Di Gangi are not guilty of proposing a “social gospel” by any means; both of them propose a balanced ministry of spiritual evangelism and social concern and action in that order of priority. But Sproule correctly warns that some evangelical leaders and organizations are guilty of emphasizing the “social” before and more than the “gospel” in their message and ministry.
In presenting biblical support for their emphasis on social action such evangelicals point to the ministry of Jesus Christ in healing and in feeding the hungry. They fail to point out that Jesus fed the multitudes on only two occasions throughout His ministry and that on the day after the one miraculous feeding He rebuked the crowd for being interested only in a free meal (John 6:27–28). Certainly many other hungry people lived in Palestine whom Jesus did not feed. His miracle was designed not so much to meet the hunger of the crowd—though it did that—but to witness to Him as God’s Messiah and incarnate Son.
Similarly the Apostle Paul and his associates did not turn “the world upside down” (Acts 17:6) by organizing civil rights demonstrations and establishing food banks. Instead, they did it by preaching Jesus Christ. True, the time may be at hand when churches need to establish soup
BSac 140:558 (Apr 83) p. 174
kitchens, food banks, and unemployment counseling services for their members and their neighborhoods; but such ministries should be coupled with and subservient to the central ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Ecumenical Illiteracy in the ‘Reader’s Digest,’“ Paul Albrecht, Christian Century (November 24, 1982), pp. 1195-98.
Though it would probably be denied, this article is in effect the official reply of the World Council of Churches to the article in the August 1982 Reader’s Digest entitled “Which Master Is the World Council of Churches Serving…Karl Marx or Jesus Christ?” Albrecht is executive secretary of the Department of Church and Society of the World Council of Churches. He me...
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