A lot of Christian activists detach themselves from the Bible, evangelicalism and a devoted life to God. I know of so many Christians that used to be passionate about Jesus, then after they started working for peace and justice, they started to question their faith and it grew colder. I even know of some becoming atheists. I fear that Christian activism is one of the main secularizing movements in the church today.
Of course, it is with pain I’m writing this. As you can tell from my blog title, I’m a Christian activist myself. For over five years I’ve been telling fellow Christians to love their enemies, share all they have with the poor, end oppression and care for the creation. I am very critical to the lack of activism within evangelicalism, but I’m convinced that it isn’t because they read the Bible too much or take Jesus too seriously – on the contrary, they ignore large parts of God’s Word even though they claim to believe in it. Much like the pharisees in the time of the gospels.
If we do take Jesus and the Bible seriously, we’ll sell everything we have and give the money to the poor (Mk 10:21). We’ll never fight back but turn the other cheek(Mt 5:40-48). We’ll give to everyone that asks us (Lk 6:30). And not only that, we’ll heal the sick and raise the dead (Mt 10:8), prophesy and speak in tongues (Acts 2:6-21) and preach the Gospel to the whole world (Mt 28:18-20). If you follow Jesus, you can’t separate peace and justice from miracles, evangelism, Bible study or prayer. It’s all connected.
There are a lot of Christian activist movements that do combine all these things. Iris Global is one of them. They feed the hungry, save the dying, heal the sick and raise the dead. Their leader Heidi Baker has an amazing testimony concerning how a lame poor man was healed by the power of God and delivered from poverty. When I visited Iris Global’s South African branch I met Surprise Sithole who has raised eight people from the dead and who is a passionate advocate for poverty reduction.
Everything Iris Global is doing is birthed in worship. Heidi Baker spends hours every day in worship. In a famous quote from the awesome documentary Finger of God, she says that everything from praying to hugging to cleaning is “holy holy holy”. Her activism for the poor is holistic, integrated with miracles, evangelism, prayer and love.
It’s good that we point out and criticise when Bible-believing evangelicals worship God without caring for their neighbour, but if we try to care for our neighbours without believing the Bible and worship the Lord passionately, we won’t look any more like Jesus than they do and we wont be very succesful in our activism. If we want to live liberation and free the opressed, we need to worship more, use the gifts of the Spirit and spread revival.
This is a contribution for reflection for The Wild Goose Festival, a gathering at the intersection of justice, spirituality, music and the arts. Happening June 26-29 outside of Asheville in Hot Springs, NC. You can get more information and tickets here: http://www.wildgoosefestival.org.