Living out the Good News with consistency and conviction

Read the following quote, and take a quick guess as to when it was spoken:

“Evangelicals have lost sight of the fact that the great issues being debated today are no longer those pertaining to organic evolution. Now they are pertaining to social revolution.

We can no longer afford the supposed luxury of social withdrawal, but must find viable means to relate the Good News to the turmoil of our era. And as we have addressed ourselves to the theological problems of organic evolution in the past, let us turn to the theological problems of social revolution in the present. To do less is to concern ourselves with only half of the gospel.

Just because many theological liberals have upset the balance between dogma and ethics in one direction is no reason for us to upset it in the other. Insofar as we preach only half of the gospel, we are no less heretical than those who preach only the other half. It is my hope that evangelical Christianity will be led in a return to the entirety of the gospel.”

Senator Mark Hatfield spoke these words 37 years ago. It was 1970 and Hatfield, an evangelical Christian, was actively pushing a plan in Congress to withdraw troops from Vietnam. Not surprisingly, he had received a great deal of objection from the Christian community. This is a part of the speech he gave to the graduating class at Fuller Seminary. It’s a fascinating read, and it’s amazing to me how so much of it applies to today’s climate. The more things change, the more they stay the same, right?

I love what Hatfield writes in the preface to his book (emphasis mine):

“People are not particularly interested in our ideas; they are interested in our experiences. They are not searching for theories but for convictions. They want to penetrate our rhetoric in order to discover the reality of our lives.

An unabashed candor about our deepest convictions will be respected if we convey them in an authentic spirit of humility and explicate them by the tested quality of our lives.”
– Mark Hatfield, Conflict and Conscience, p. 11

One response to “Living out the Good News with consistency and conviction”

  1. Jon,, sweet stuff! Did you come across this in your research on Fuller past and present?

    I’m always amazed and humbled when I read stuff written a long time ago that sounds suspiciously “emerging” and “missional.” Makes me think that we give ourselves too much credit sometimes for being innovative. Sometimes it seems like there’s nothing new under the sun!

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