The Common Good

Border-blenders and Corner-dwellers (Part 4 of 5 by Rich Nathan)

My dear friend, Ken Wilson, who pastors the Ann Arbor Vineyard, showed me a chart that I found very helpful:



Social Justice


What has happened in the last generation is that there has been border-blending among the four great movements in the church. So we find many evangelicals who feel very comfortable praying for the sick and casting out demons; and there are many evangelicals who engage in liturgical practices such as using the Anglican Book of Common Prayer in their devotional lives, etc.

But while there has been a huge move of border-blending, there are still many corner-dwellers, people who believe that it is entirely wrong for someone in their camp to engage in practices associated with one of the other three camps. Corner-dwellers get really mean and mad when we step out of our traditional boxes.

So, for example, some conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists get mean and mad when we claim to be evangelical, but we engage in border-blending with one of the other wings of the church. Like the Pharisees of Jesus'’ day, some angry corner-dwellers may set themselves up as the judge of what is biblical - like the Pharisees, they get really mad when we associate with “the wrong sort of people,” and, like the Pharisees, they are constantly looking for reasons to accuse border-blenders for our supposed theological errors.

I look forward to a day when an evangelical church that does a Justice Revival not only doesn’t create any controversy, but hardly raises an eyebrow. I look forward to a day when Christians who hear about a Justice Revival say: “So, what else is new? Of course, evangelical churches are involved in social justice. That is what Christian churches are supposed to do. We are supposed to follow Jesus, who is both the God of justification and the God of justice!”

Rich Nathan is the pastor of the Vineyard Church in Columbus, Ohio, which is the co-sponsor with Sojourners of next week's Justice Revival. Click here for more details.

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories


Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)