Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sins of the Church

Online I came across the following quote from Brian McClaren. McClaren is considered one of the more significant evangelical leaders and part of the emergent church movement.

“Christian churches in Europe and North America were deeply involved in colonialism and, until the nineteenth century, deeply involved in slavery. When the church is that complicit in a lot of injustice in this world, I think it becomes harder for them to really face the call of the gospel on them for how they behave in this world. It’s very tempting just to focus on the gospel as something out of this world and after this life.”

I find it encouraging that McClaren acknowledges the church helped perpetuate many of the western world’s greatest injustices by not speaking out against them. Whenever the church is fixated upon things of heaven the church by its silence allows injustice to continue. By willfully remaining silent the church helps perpetuate society’s ills.

The conservative church has gone a step further than remaining silent. The conservative church in the US tied itself to George Bush. They are so tied together that conservative Christians remain silent when his administration has been unjust and committed evils. Though McClaren’s statement is a refreshing challenge to the evangelical church to speak out and strongly fight injustice has for the most part fallen upon deaf ears. Partly becasue he speaks of the church being engaged social justice issues and conversing with secularists McClaran is dismissed as being a liberal.


Barbara said...

Puts Christians to shame. We're no better than the so called "evil" that George W. Bush is fighting.

Stephen said...

I understand the complicity of the Protestant Church in the evils of the past - the guilt of remaining silent and even giving a wink to some absolutely horible acts such as slavery, forced integration and even aboriginal cultural annilation. Today we are paying heavily for those sins - the disfunctionality of the first nations peoples in Canada is one that is being played out across the country.

I continue to be amazed how some branches of the church continue to play down past complicity, some even supporting the political party agendas arrogantly claiming the moral high ground.


we need to be careful not to paint all "conservative" churches with the same brush as most of the influential of these churches are also some of the biggest supporters and advocates for social justice and change. Perhaps this is more of a Canadian thing than an American. Perhaps this is one of the places that our two countries demonstrate some divergent paths.

Dave said...

Stephen...there are churches in the present as well as in the past who have stood against the social injustice. For example, many churches fought against slavery, including some in South that did so quietly. That said, we all must acknowledge the sins committed by the group, both past and present, all the while being the voice for the harmed. Such acknowledgment of corporate culpability helps us to move forward with personal acceptance of corporate actions.

Lets call much of the resistance for what it is....greed and spiritual abuse. Greed in the effort to protect assets and reputations, spiritual abuse because we defend such injustice using language of the holy and use the same language to demonize those who are pointing out the sins of the church....a process that has plagued the church in the past and present, both in America and throughout the world.