The Church Militant And Her Warfare: We Are Not Another Interest Group -- By: James M. Hamilton

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 11:4 (Winter 2007)
Article: The Church Militant And Her Warfare: We Are Not Another Interest Group
Author: James M. Hamilton


The Church Militant And Her Warfare: We Are Not Another Interest Group

James M. Hamilton

Introduction

Near the end of No Place for Truth, David Wells describes a striking anomaly:

The vast growth in evangelically minded people in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s should by now have revolutionized American culture. With a third of American adults now claiming to have experienced spiritual rebirth, a powerful countercurrent of morality growing out of a powerful and alternative worldview should have been unleashed in factories, offices, and board rooms, in the media, universities, and professions, from one end of the country to the other. The results should by now be unmistakable. Secular values should be reeling, and those who are their proponents should be very troubled. But as it turns out, all of this swelling of the evangelical ranks has passed unnoticed in the culture.1

I will contend in this article that part of the remedy to this problem is to be found in a shift in focus. The need for this shift in focus is attested to by a comment Amy Black makes in a review of David Kuo’s Tempting Faith. Black writes,

[Kuo’s] call for a “fast” from politics (except for voting) has caused a bit of a stir, but perhaps that partially proves his point even if he presses too far toward an either-or dilemma. If we can’t fathom taking even a short break from political activity, perhaps we have too much faith in politics. Despite and even through its shortcomings, perchance Kuo’s book and the controversy it stirs will help turn Christians away from the temptation to place their primary confidence in politics as God’s path to cultural restoration.2

My contention is that in seeking a Christian America we have hazarded our identity as Christian churches. David Wells has shown that success and influence have accomplished what liberalism failed to do to evangelical Christianity.3 The distinctive doctrines of Christianity and the hard edges of the faith are now hard to find in many evangelical churches, having been replaced by the guarantors of influence and success: self-help, moralism, psychology, therapy, and programs, programs, programs. Most sermons are more like pep-talks from motivational speakers than they are proclamations of the living word of God. We evangelicals are waging war according to the flesh (cf. 2 Cor 10:3).

We must shift our focus away from worldly measures of influence and success and return to what makes us Christian. This brief essay com...

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