Friday, June 30, 2006

Good Discussion on the Prophetic Voice of the Church

I have been having a good discussion with Michael the Leveller in the comments section of the post on Buddy Shurden's address at the BJC Luncheon. So, take a look at the comments section for that post, or click here. Feel free to chime in on the discussion. Anyone who has read the Old Testament knows how difficult it is to be a prophet (Don't believe me? Go read Ezekiel!) , but let's pray that the next generation of leaders has the courage and conviction to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done.

1 comment:

Michael Westmoreland-White said...

Thanks for the plug, Gil. It's a subject near and dear to my heart as my blog, Levellers, makes clear. I used to divide up religious worldviews into 2 main types: Authoritarian or Imperial Religion on the one hand, and Prophetic/Liberating Faith on the Other. I now add a 3rd category: Mystical/Other-Worldly. The mystical CAN ally itself with the prophetic (both need each other in my view), but all too often, I think, the mystical/other-worldly is simply "above it all" and, thus, allows the Authoritarian/Imperial model to go unchallenged.

Baptists have seen all 3 models. The fundamentalists and hyper-Calvinists and the Landmarkers of all our history are clearly authoritarian and sometimes imperialist. There is a strong prophetic/liberating strand about which we discussed. But, I think, the temptation of far too many U.S. Baptists, especially white Baptists from the South, has been to be Other-Worldly.

In my view, one reason that "moderates" (=Lukewarm?) could not mount an effective resistance to the fundamentalists in the SBC takeover is that the majority's most fervent wish was to go back to the times of peace and quiet in the Convention when "religion had nothing to do with all this politics." I worry that this was also the mood of a great many who founded the CBF--and some of those in the Alliance of Baptists. This is the view that focuses on soul-saving and neglects social reform--doesn't stand in its way or work for oppression, but tries to be "neutral."

But as Martin Luther King, Jr. said, when the history books are written the judgment will be stronger against the silent good people even than against the evil people. Evil triumphs when good folk do nothing. So, let us rekindle the prophetic tradition.

Thanks for your great blog.