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Evangelism - Myers Mott Maggay Linthicum        

 Excerpts from Henry Interview
Interview With Carl F. H. Henry, "A Summons to Justice," Christianity Today, July 20, 1992

How then do we balance the imperatives of evangelism and human rights?

If the church preaches only divine forgiveness and does not affirm justice, she implies that God treats immorality and sin lightly. If the church proclaims only justice, we shall all die in unforgiven sin and without the Spirit’s empowerment for righteousness. We should be equally troubled that we lag in championing justice and in fulfilling our evangelistic mandate. We should realize that the Great Commission is dwarfed and even maligned if one implies that God is blindly tolerant of social and structural evil, that he forgives sinners independently of a concern for justice. ...

Evangelicals are sometimes criticized for a lack of involvement in human-rights issues. Is criticism Justified?

Yes. On the one hand, some evangelicals contend that believers should not be concerned for human rights—especially not their own—but only for the gospel of personal regeneration. But the God of the Bible says much about the abuse of rights, especially those of the impoverished and helpless. The apostle Paul did not hesitate to appeal to Caesar when regional authorities withheld his rights as a Roman citizen (Acts 25:11). ...

Evangelicals should be devoted to ‘the whole counsel of God," which acknowledges that God wills both justice and the repentance and spiritual rebirth of sinners. England’s eighteenth- and nineteenth-century evangelical movement was spiritually and morally vital because it strove for justice and also invited humanity to regeneration, forgiveness, and power for righteousness. The world in this century is aflame with injustice, so much so that the church could exhaust its energies in decrying it and forgo significant witness to redemption in Christ. That, of course, would be a costly compromise of mission. ...

We should pray daily "thy kingdom come," as Jesus tells us to do. The local church should identify the most grievous injustices—local, regional, and national—and strive to rectify them, in concert with all who seek to right the wrong. This need not call for massive demonstrations unless intermediary engagement achieves nothing. Letters to the editor, requests for editorial comment by the press, support for more sensitive alternative enterprises are all activities in which every churchgoer can and should participate. God wishes to etch his law on every heart, and our efforts advance his cause.

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