Pure and undefiled spirituality of the Church...

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Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. (James 1:27).

(Tim) Comment #16 under Mr. Kristoff's blog follow-up to the oped piece he ran in the Times, today:

No church in the country has had a higher visibility in evangelical

leadership during the twentieth century than Boston's Park Street Church

where, for decades, Harold John Ockenga formed the consciences of

coming generations of evangelical leaders. Go back to the eighteenth

century and it's Park Street on Boston Common where William Lloyd

Garrison spoke, repenting of his colonization compromise on the slave

question, announcing his new commitment: "No union with slaveholders."

Before that, Park Street was central to the Sunday school

movement--another national work of the Christian social conscience.

This

to say that the sort of evangelicals tracing our theological heritage

back to men like Jonathan Edwards (who suffered in his second pastorate

for his unflinching defense of the native Americans in his small

village) have always been the bleeding edge of liberal when liberal

means loving and generous and, like good Job, snatching the innocents

from the jaws of the wicked.

To those who know historic--not

mass-market blowhard evangelicalism, the suggestion that President Bush

was a sea-change in our concern for the poor and disenfranchised is

humorous. Jim Wallis has never spoken for us...

He’s all about politics

while we work quietly doing the things Christians have always done.

Think

of literacy: worldwide, conservative Christians' faith in God's Word

has led international literacy work through agencies like the Summer

Institute of Linguistics and Wycliffe Bible Translators. Move on to

prison reform, child labor laws, human trafficking, literacy, AIDS

education and nursing for the dying, malaria and smallpox eradication,

protection of the Jewish minority in the Middle East, hospitals, the

dignity and equality of women, the civil rights movement--the list could

go on at great length before arriving at an end to works of compassion

the secular and pagan world takes for granted and has never stopped to

acknowledge and give thanks to Christians of Biblical commitments for

their critical leadership in each of these areas.

And this is not

even to mention the Confessing Church’s lonely opposition to Hitler

within Germany and our opposition, today, to the slaughter of millions

upon millions of unborn babies—social justice work our benighted

columnist disses by his reference to those “who seem obsessed with gays

and fetuses.” Yes, yes; they once thought we were obsessed with slaves,

too.

To the chattering classes, it’s hard to imagine why

followers of Christ would be pleased to be off the radar. But then,

Jesus was born among the livestock in Nazareth and He told us to take up

our crosses, daily, and follow Him.