Evangelical Christianity as Public Engagement and Civic Participation
It’s okay to embrace the doctrines of Grace (Reformed Calvinism) or Arminianism and be in solidarity with the oppressed, the poor, the immigrant, and underrepresented individuals and families, and defend their humanity and their rights to life–which may include their rights to existence, have jobs, food, education, social equality, and their rights to say no to human-inflicted suffering, death, and oppression, etc. This is even a righteous thing to do for Evangelical Christians. In fact, the author of the book of James calls this Christian practice faith in action. Acts of kindness, compassion and love, what prominent New Testament scholar Michael Gorman rightly phrased “Becoming the Gospel,” toward underprivileged Americans, individuals, and families do not contradict the (ethical) message of Christianity and the principles of Evangelical Christianity. In fact, they fulfill and give practical meaning to the Gospel message we believe in and proclaim to the world.
For the Gospel of grace and love to have any practical and existential meaning in the life of those who are hurting, suffering, and dying, Christians and Evangelical Christians must become the Gospel and live in public its message of hope, transformation, and salvation. If the Gospel of compassion is not relational and unable to address, in a meaningful and constructive way, the devastating human soul and the hurt and pain of those people, its salvific aspect will have no sustaining impact upon those individuals who need it the most.