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A Jim Wallis Fan Thinks the Social Gospel Is the Right Stuff.

Gary North - March 22, 2013
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I received this email recently.

Dear Mr. North:

I am a Christian and a singer/songwriter. I have quite liberal ideas and have indeed found myself a few times in very interesting discussions with one of my sisters, who is very conservative in her Christian beliefs. In fact, she is the one whom I would say led me to Christ in the first place.

I read your article about Jim Wallis' commentary on the mini-series "The Bible". You were quite critical of his comments and interpretation of the story about Jesus and Peter in and around the boat.

I have read Jim Wallis for years. No, he is not perfect but he has a heart deeply moved by the Holy Spirit and I find the far-right criticism of him to be unreasonable. I have been a Christian ever since I can remember. I did take definite steps to commit to Christ when I was about 13, but even before that time, I just knew that Christianity was true. For me, my Christianity ends up influencing my politics; it is inevitable that if we live the way Christ wants us to live, it will affect the way we look at the world and others around us. If we separate our politics and our so-called religion completely, and I don't mean as in "separation of Church and State" but I mean, in our own minds and hearts, we have a situation where we may state our ideology very loudly but our actions shout much louder.

I have seen such hatred, prejudice and anger coming from people who purport to be Christians. I would not point to any particular political side; it is everywhere. But I am going to address what you wrote about, because that is what I just read.

Just because Jim Wallis talks about his faith in a way that influences the world around him, you feel that it is a threat to your right-wing ideology. So of course, now you have to find fault with the way Wallis lives out his faith, or if you cannot find much fault with the way he lives, you can at least find fault with the way he interprets the Bible. I suppose the way you interpret it is completely irrefutable.

If your faith and your politics are so correct, then they should be leading you into ways that imitate our Lord Jesus Christ, and that means to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, help clothe those who need clothing, and to visit the sick and those imprisoned. Of course, that is a very literal interpretation of the Scripture, but Jesus very clearly lived these words Himself, He didn't just give lip-service to these ideas. Anyway, you can call this left-wing liberalism or whatever you want, but it's the way to live a Christian life, "Christ-ian" meaning "little Christ".

Maybe if you looked for ways that you and Mr. Wallis have things in common instead of looking for his faults, you could begin a movement that would really turn this world around. Matthew 25:37-40

New International Version (NIV)

37 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' 40 "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'

This lady follows Wallis' version of the eighth commandment: "Thou shalt not steal, except by majority vote."

She, like Wallis, should wear a WWJS sweatshirt. "What Would Jesus Steal?"

I have spent years identifying Wallis' deviations from the texts of Scripture, and then citing biblical passages to refute him. He has never responded publicly -- a prudent decision on his part, though not a courageous one.

This leaves his followers at a disadvantage. They cannot go to his alleged Bible-based answers to my criticisms. So, they have to resort to emails.

No one sees their emails except me, unless I write an article like this one.

They are not idiots. They know that a critical, unsupported email will not change my mind. So, they are merely venting -- venting for Jesus. They have too much time on their hands. She writes:

If your faith and your politics are so correct, then they should be leading you into ways that imitate our Lord Jesus Christ, and that means to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, help clothe those who need clothing, and to visit the sick and those imprisoned. Of course, that is a very literal interpretation of the Scripture, but Jesus very clearly lived these words Himself, He didn't just give lip-service to these ideas. Anyway, you can call this left-wing liberalism or whatever you want, but it's the way to live a Christian life, "Christ-ian" meaning "little Christ".

Let me summarize her position.

You see this badge, boy? You see this gun? Get out your wallet. Jesus sent me. I am here to get you to help the poor. I am paid $80,000 a year to do this. Do I tithe? That's none of your business. What I do is to make sure that you tithe. Not to the church. To the state. And when I say "tithe," I mean it figuratively. I don't mean 10 percent. I mean closer to 30 percent.

Now then, you go get your wallet. The Bible says you owe this to the poor, by way of the state. What's that? You say you never read this in Scripture? You've been reading the wrong Scripture. I mean the real Scripture: the Internal Revenue Code. That's what Jesus wants you to read very carefully -- you and your accountant.

This is the Social Gospel. This is what Wallis preaches.

His audience is tiny. The mainstream Protestant denominations have been listening to Social Gospel preaching for over a century. They are shrinking. They have no influence any more.

So, Wallis says he is targeting the evangelicals. But there are no electronic church preachers who accept his views. There are few megachurch pastors who preach it. The evangelical churches avoid preaching on such matters. Their members are pro-free market people, or think they are. If they had ever heard of Wallis, they would have identified him as just another liberal politician who is trying to infiltrate the church. They would be correct.

Wallis is paid $197,000 a year to preach this message. "Helping the poor" pays very well these days.

A generation ago, conservatives started calling these people limousine liberals. I still do.

They tell us we need to be sweet. We must be kind. We will be both, just as soon as the guy with the badge and the gun is permanently retired from the "free goodies for the poor" program. But Wallis does not want the guy to be retired. He wants the guy to confiscate even more of our wealth, all in the name of Jesus. "Smile. Jesus loves you. Now hand over your wallet"

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