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