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A New Kind of Conservative

A New Kind of Conservative

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A New Kind of Conservative

valutazioni:
3/5 (3 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
234 pagine
4 ore
Pubblicato:
Jan 2, 2008
ISBN:
9781441223937
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

Conservative spokesman, author, and pastor Dr. Joel C. Hunter forges a new path with A New Kind of Conservative. Hunter takes a provocative look at how faith and politics have interacted in America, giving civic-minded people a balanced and biblically-based approach to political involvement. The author speaks as a conservative Christian with traditional biblical stances regarding abortion and homosexuality, but expands it to include other biblical concerns, such as the environment, poverty, justice issues, AIDS, and more. This is not the ideology and rhetoric associated with the extreme religious right, but rather a broader look at politics that the Bible would have us address. Hunter shows how religion and politics do not have to be at odds with one another, and offers the information and motivation needed to take responsible action. Can a biblical worldview effectively mesh with postmodern society and secular government? Should Christians be involved in political action and, if so, how? How can Christians more effectively relate and present their faith in the context of contemporary and political society? Readers, regardless of their beliefs, will find this thoughtful, helpful, and compelling reading.
Pubblicato:
Jan 2, 2008
ISBN:
9781441223937
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Joel C. Hunter is senior pastor of Northland, A Distributed Church, in Longwood, Florida. Each weekend, approximately 12,000 people worship together in real time at multiple distributed sites throughout central Florida and at hundreds of smaller sites worldwide via the Internet. Dr. Hunter has become an internationally known spokesperson for compassion issues outlined in Scripture. He has a Bachelor of Science in education (history and government) from Ohio University, a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry in culture and personality from Christian Theological Seminary, and an honorary Doctor of Humanities from Belhaven College. He serves on the board of directors of six organizations, including the National Association of Evangelicals.

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A New Kind of Conservative - Joel C. Hunter

PRAISE FOR

A New Kind of Conservative

Today’s evangelicals do not naturally fit into political categories. We don’t follow a single political ideology, but another King—Jesus. It is that attitude that runs throughout Joel Hunter’s book. He writes clearly and patiently about the need to disenfranchise ourselves from entanglement from the world’s politics and embrace an understanding from Scripture of what our Lord would have us to say and do with each individual issue. This book is long overdue . . . I only wish I had written it.

Dr. Clive Calver

Senior Pastor, Walnut Hill Community Church

Former President, World Relief

Joel Hunter provides a clear understanding of what it means to be a compassionate conservative while inviting those to the left of his stance into a respectful dialogue. This book could help change the tone of political debate among evangelicals.

Tony Campolo

Professor Emeritus, Eastern University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Founder, Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education Author, Red Letter Christians

The real test of our faith is whether we treat others as we want to be treated. Dr. Hunter sears the conscience of political conservatives to remember Jesus’ golden rule.

Bill Nelson

U.S. Senator

There is a reason that Joel Hunter has joined an emerging generation of national evangelical leaders. A New Kind of Conservative is a perceptive and prophetic manifesto for people who are weary of more strident leaders speaking for them. Hunter’s is a voice of reasoned yet passionate commitment. Where he goes on important issues, many will follow.

Mark Pinsky

National Religion Writer and Author of The Gospel According to the Simpsons

In A New Kind of Conservative, Pastor Joel Hunter powerfully contextualizes the mission of Evangelicalism and Conservatism 2.0. This book will revolutionize how mainstream America defines Evangelicalism and will provoke Conservative Christians to look beyond just a few issues and embrace the collective ethos of a transformational faith. This book is the battle cry for a new evangelical movement.

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, Jr.

President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

Joel Hunter has provided a powerful resource for the evangelical movement. Hunter not only answers why we should participate in political action but also how we should engage the political landscape. If evangelical Christians embrace his approach to cultural engagement, it could actually help rehabilitate the word evangelical. A New Kind of Conservative is an answer to prayer for evangelicals in America and around the world. I highly recommend this thoughtful book.

Geoff Tunnicliffe

International Director, World Evangelical Alliance

© 2008 Joel C. Hunter

Published by Baker Books

a division of Baker Publishing Group

P.O. Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516-6287

www.bakerbooks.com

Baker Books edition published 2014

ISBN 978-1-4412-2393-7

Previously published by Regal Books

Ebook edition originally created 2011

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—for example, electronic, photocopy, recording—without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Other version used is KJVKing James Version. Authorized King James Version.

This book is dedicated to all who will respectfully disagree and will work for progress together.

Contents

Acknowledgments

Foreword

Greater Agenda

By Steve Brown and Ronald J. Sider

Introduction

A Strange Thing Happened on the Way to Utopia

Chapter 1

Setting Our Clocks Ahead

How Conservatives Can Have a More Effective Impact in the World

Chapter 2

And How’s That Working for You?

How Conservatives Can Get on the Right Track to Changing the World

Chapter 3

Thinkers or Tinkers?

Five Myths About Religion and Politics (and Three Truths)

Chapter 4

The Stone in the Snowball

The Problem with Every Government . . . Sin

Chapter 5

The Righteous American Group

How Thinking Christians React to an Imperfect Government

Chapter 6

What Are We For?

Issues Christians Should Care About

Chapter 7

The Pilate Process, Part 1

Learning to Discuss . . . Without Becoming Disgusting

Chapter 8

The Pilate Process, Part 2

Moving from Awareness to Personal Participation

Chapter 9

Proper Punctuation in Politics

How to Express What God Has Given Us

Voter’s FAQ

Voter’s Workbook

Recommended Reading

Endnotes

Acknowledgments

To say that this book was a collaborative effort is an understatement.

Thanks to the Northland congregation for their constant devotion to Christ, to one another . . . and to others. Thank you for lending me to projects such as this. It is a joy to serve as your pastor.

Special thanks to Northland’s elder board and a great church staff. You have envisioned the future with me while paying attention to the needs of our congregation. You are gifts from God, and I depend on you.

Appreciation to many wonderful friends in the National Association of Evangelicals and the World Evangelical Alliance, who are extending the vision of local churches throughout the globe.

Much gratitude to Robert Andrescik, the director of communications for Northland, A Church Distributed, for his consistent and invaluable help with this manuscript, and to Dede Caruso, Nathan Clark, Melissa Bogdany, Audrey Laird and Joel D. Hunter, M.D., for their contributions of time and talent to perfect this manuscript.

Becky—my wife and best friend—you are the ideal partner for me. Your unwavering devotion has made our family indivisible, our individual gifts evident, and our life together a joy.

FOREWORD

The Greater Agenda

Martin Luther wrote, If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the Word of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Him. Where the battle rages there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on the battle front besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.¹

Those words stir my soul. I’m ready to stand, fight and die for what is right. The only problem is that I’m not always sure what issues are those areas in which the world and the devil are at this moment attacking.

It is confusing, isn’t it?

It is a cacophony of loud voices. They are all so sure, so sincere and so very Christian. They bring their petitions, their calls for action and their position papers. They know what issues real Christians should support and which ones they shouldn’t.

They want us to choose sides . . . and they want our vote.

I’ve been one of those voices and, in a sense, I still am. I’m a conservative so far to the right that I think Rush Limbaugh is a communist and Genghis Khan was rather restrained. Opinionated is my middle name and, for a long time, I’ve looked forward to the second coming of Christ so that everybody would know that He’s a Republican and the debate would end.

That’s when I noticed Jesus blushing. He, so far as I could tell, refused to take sides.

It wasn’t that He didn’t have convictions. He just went places I didn’t want to go, loved people I didn’t think deserved it, and showed compassion in areas where a good solid economic policy would have been more helpful. He talked about letting the dead bury the dead and giving Caesar his due. But mostly, Jesus talked about another Kingdom with a King that nobody ever elected and whom nobody had the power to depose.

This is a book about the King, about His kingdom and about how the citizens of that Kingdom should think . . . not about what they should think.

Too often we have allowed the loud, angry, self-righteous and religiously correct voices to determine how we think about political issues. I suspect that sometimes those voices were correct, but I also suspect that, just as often, they have been wrong. Too often we got our swords unsheathed before we asked if we were fighting in the right battle and dying for the right causes. More important, we entered the battle without even being sure we were following the right commander.

So read this book and underline portions of it. Then quietly think about politics with the mind, love and concerns of Christ. Learn to see issues through a biblical worldview and then . . . get your sword out and, with Luther, stand in the places where the battle rages there the loyalty of the soldier is proved.

Steve Brown

Author, Teacher and Key Life Network Radio Host

A historic change is happening in the world of evangelical political engagement, and Joel Hunter is at the center of it.

For a couple decades, the loudest voices in evangelical politics were tightly aligned with the Republican Party and largely focused on a few issues such as abortion and the family. All that is changing dramatically. A powerful evangelical center is emerging that is rapidly transcending the narrow boundaries of the Religious Right.

More and more evangelicals now agree that when evangelicals join the political debate, they need to ask, What does the Bible tell us that God cares about? And when they check their Bibles for an answer, they see clearly that God cares a lot about the family and the poor, the sanctity of human life and creation care, religious freedom and peacemaking. That is why the National Association of Evangelicals’ unanimously adopted policy document, For the Health of the Nation: An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility, insists that faithful evangelical civic engagement must champion a biblically balanced agenda.

This broader, more balanced evangelical agenda does not mean abandoning a strong conservative position on the sanctity of human life and the family. For the Health of the Nation makes that very clear in its sections on those topics. But that document also has strong sections on justice and compassion for the poor, human rights, peacemaking, religious freedom and creation care.

Recently, prominent leaders of the evangelical center have spoken out clearly on justice for the poor and care for creation. One thinks of Rick Warren’s work in Africa and the World Evangelical Alliance’s major engagement in the Micah Network to reduce global poverty. One thinks of the more than 80 key evangelical leaders who joined the Evangelical Climate Initiative, insisting that we must act now to combat global warming.

Joel Hunter is centrally engaged in these and other initiatives. He is on the board of the National Association of Evangelicals and the World Evangelical Alliance. He was a key spokesman for the Evangelical Climate Initiative. He is a leader in a new evangelical initiative to work for a fair two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.

Joel Hunter remains firmly conservative in his theology. He continues to be solidly conservative in his views on abortion, marriage and sexuality. But he believes—as does a large, growing number of centrist evangelical leaders—that the Bible also calls us to be a voice for the poor and to care for creation.A New Kind of Conservative represents this emerging centrist evangelical political movement.

It is interesting to note that the biblically balanced position advocated by Joel Hunter is very similar to the official position of the Catholic Church on public policy. Catholics represent about one-fourth of all U.S. voters; evangelicals represent another one-fourth. If those two groups worked together over a decade or two on the kind of pro-life and pro-poor, pro-family and pro-creation care agenda represented in this book, they would change American politics. If enough evangelicals listen to Hunter’s arguments here, that just might happen.

Ronald J. Sider

President, Evangelicals for Social Action

INTRODUCTION

A Strange Thing Happened on the Way to Utopia . . .

All men should strive to learn before they die, what they are running from, and to, and why.

JAMES THURBER

Something was different about Dr. Stanley I. Shoemaker as he stood behind his high pulpit that Sunday. I looked around First Methodist Church, Shelby, Ohio, as I did every Sunday as a boy. Everyone looked so perfect. The men were in suits formal enough for a funeral. White collars denoted more than their categories of work. Those collars were symbols of self-confidence and sophistication.

The ladies lifted their stately heads to the Reverend Doctor in the pulpit. The fruit on their hats tilted ever so slightly upward. I looked to Dr. Shoemaker, too, for another distinguished but indistinguishable message. His robed arms braced him as he leaned toward us. The tone of his voice braced us all as he spoke the opening words. Then Dr. Shoemaker let go a sermon the likes of which I had never heard before. Gone were the usual long academic words such as redemptive intent and eschatological hope and alienation. Here came words like sin and repent and you.

Men folded their arms across their chests. Women’s mouths drifted open in disbelief. The emotional temperature rose to the point that the fruit on their hats could have gone the way of cherries jubilee. And then the ultimate surprise—Dr. Shoemaker gave an altar call. He asked for anyone to come forward and confess faith in Christ. The tension was so thick you could have knelt on it. A voice inside my head urged me to go. I looked around once more, hoping that someone would lead the way. As the hymn verses pushed on, it was apparent that no one was going to visibly respond. My insides wrestled for a decision, but neither side won during the closing verses and benediction.

Dr. Shoemaker went away discouraged. To my knowledge, he never tried that again at First Church. That Sunday’s invitation, however, never left me. It created a hunger within me for the deep and significant matters of life.

Years later, I was a freshman at Ohio University. It was the mid-1960s. The United States was making new policies left and right, mostly right. The students were polarized left and right, mostly left. Armed forces had just entered Cambodia. The civil rights movement was in full bloom. Students entered into intense political analysis. The student leaders I heard were most eloquent and serious. They spoke of deep and significant issues: of how people ought to be; of how government was so wrong; of what better ideas young people have. Though I was against the extremist factions of the movement, I was drawn into the center that reasoned for solutions and was impassioned for results. I had found my new inspiration. I placed all my hope in political philosophies led by new and improved personalities—like Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.

But a strange thing happened on the way to Utopia. In all of the wonderfully intense idealism, we missed something that could ruin everything. What was it that killed my heroes? What was it that turned the reasoned, positive, uplifting dreams into verbal weapons of cynicism and bitterness? The rhetoric had changed from this is how to improve what we have now to this is how to destroy what we have now. The student leaders began to debate and attack one another. What was it that disintegrated altruism into egotism? A major part of the leaders’ solutions had turned into personal ambition. All was being corrupted. What was it that was tainting every good effort?

For the first time, I came to realize the social and personal devastation of sin. I marveled at its depth and subtlety. I had heard enough descriptions of it to remember its characteristics. I remembered something Dr. Shoemaker had said: Nothing will ever come right in the world until you address the sin in your own heart. I remembered enough of Dr. Shoemaker’s invitation to know the solution.

One night I walked the aisle to a generic altar in the university’s Galbreath Chapel. There I responded to Dr. Shoemaker’s altar call of years before. I knelt, alone in the chapel, and placed all my confidence in Christ.

I did not abandon hope of an improved political structure. I majored in history and government; though after my experience in the chapel, I put them into a new perspective. I knew that depending on improvements in our government to make any major change in people was too simplistic and unrealistic.

As Alexander Solzhenitsyn once said, Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line dividing good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either—but right through every human heart.¹

The introduction to this book then is both theoretical and personal. My journey was from political idealism through disillusionment to the Lord of the universe, who is stationed in the heart. I see some evangelical Christians tempted to reverse that order of progress in the name of practical Christianity. It is especially for those that this book is written.

This book attempts to clarify the important interplay of religion and politics in our society. The potential problem does not lie, as many believe, in mixing religion and politics. The problem

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