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A leading evangelical questions the easy identification of the message of the gospel with the agenda of one political party. This book grows out of George Hunter's lifelong passion for the evangelistic mission of the church. Evangelism, he notes, means both bringing individuals to faith in Christ and working to bring society into closer conformity with the coming Kingdom of God. It means that all Christians are called to be missionaries to those persons and groups among whom they find themselves. It means engaging with the culture around us to bring the saving word of the gospel to those who need it. When Hunter looks at the increasingly close relationship between evangelical Christianity and the Republican party in the United States, he sees a danger that the witness to the gospel will be compromised. Appreciative of the Republicans' emphasis on personal responsibility, he still worries that identifying the Christian message with the Republican party platform will lose the social dimensions of the gospel. Seeing how evangelicals cast their lots in increasingly exclusive ways with one party, he asks if we have forgotten the gospel injunction to be salt and light among all elements of society, including political parties. Supportive of the fight against abortion, he is concerned nonetheless that evangelicals are attempting to form an enclave with the power to force a decision about abortion that leapfrogs the hard--and necessary--work of bringing hearts and minds into conformity with the Christian message. And so Hunter, one of the country's most noted evangelicals, has written Christian, Evangelical . . . and Democrat? to call his brothers and sisters in the evangelical movement back to a more holistic practice of the gospel and a more effective witness to the faith.
"For too long the polarization between the Religious Right and the secular left has paralyzed us. Our need is not simply for a Religious Left, although that might be part of the solution. What we need most now is Christians in both major parties, and other "third" parties too, who commit themselves to raise the level of discourse above bitter argument, mutual caricaturing, and divisive win-lose politics. We need committed Christians who care for the common good, who seek to be uniters rather than dividers, in deed and not just in word, who let their faith modify their politics rather than the reverse, who are suspicious of "graven ideologies," and who love their political counterparts by refusing to see them as enemies, treating them instead as beloved neighbors. We need people of faith who search the Scriptures, not for proof-texts to support the policies about which they ve already made up their minds, but rather for new truths that will stretch their political and social understandings beyond the planks of any party.
That describes Dr. Hunter 's aim in this important and well-written book.
In spite of the word "Democrat" in the title, Dr. Hunter isn t interested in getting Republicans to switch parties. He wants to help Christians - and especially evangelical Christians - see that their first loyalty is to a King and kingdom higher than any "principality or power" on earth. If we get that straight, we can expect a revolution of goodness and peace to continually unfold. The effects of that revolution will make themselves felt in the areas of economics, ecology, sexuality and family, poverty, education, the arts, racial reconciliation, the media, religion, and yes, even politics."
--Brian D. McLaren, author of "A Generous Orthodoxy "(anewkindofchristian.com), from the Foreword
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