That squabbling you hear is the sound of a movement that is trying to determine what it is and where it is going. On the one side there is Richard Cizik, Vice President of Governmental Affairs at the National Evangelical Association. Cizik has energetically argued that Christians should broaden their issue set to include what is sometimes called "creation care." Confronted with global warming, Cizik believes that evangelicals should help lead the movement to encourage Americans to be good stewards of God's creation.
On the other side, there is James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Gary Bauer, and other evangelicals who are concerned that Christians are becoming distracted by a medley of issues, including environmentalism. According to these leaders, our focus should be the "great moral issues of our time"--abortion, gay marriage, and abstinence education.
I certainly have sympathy for the arguments of Dobson, et al. There is no doubt about it: abortion is the greatest moral issue of our generation, and Christians should ceaselessly work to restore a culture of life. Additionally, if we fail in our efforts to preserve marriage, society will unravel. Certainly teaching sexual abstinence is an effective way of preventing abortion and the breakdown of marriage. All of these goals are worthy of the dedicated efforts of Dobson, Perkins, Bauer, and others.
Unfortunately, these leaders are inadvertently suggesting that the scope of Christ's concern is fairly narrow. Without denying for a moment the central importance of some issues, can't we admit that Christ came to redeem all things? Shouldn't we be clear that Christians have an obligation to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned, house the homeless--and that sometimes the laws we make impact our effectiveness in these areas? Isn't it appropriate for Christians to stand against all injustice, whether it is abortion, or elder abuse, or political corruption?
At the Center for a Just Society, our view is that the Scriptures speak to the whole of life. A comprehensive Christian worldview should cause us to be concerned about suffering and injustice in all areas. Thankfully, the Lord has raised up men and women in the Church who have different passions, allowing for the one church to address many issues. The church, after all, is a body with many members. As Paul tells us, "Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us..." (Romans 12:4-6)
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