An Agenda For Change by Joel Edwards

Joel Edwards in An Agenda For Change is trying to rehabilitate the word “evangelical”, calling other evangelicals to present Christ as credible. Edwards states that liberal, moderate, and conservative evangelicals are dependent upon each other and must unite and challenge one another. He admits to certain evangelical mistakes, one being their indifference to social action, and hopes that they will engage in dialogue with society, allowing the transformation to change evangelicals who will change society by acting strategically in the world.

I applaud the effort on Edwards’ part but feel his message will create little change. If Edwards is any kind of indicator where Evangelicals want to go then they have a long road to travel with regards to many issues. Politics being one. Edwards equates politics with social action. I don’t understand how pushing for moral legislation will create legitimate change and transformation within society. It’s one thing to restrict someone from crossing a line. It’s an entirely different thing to transform a person so that the line is never even considered as something to be crossed.

Also, I disagree with Evangelicals approaches to anything anti-Christian. They (or at least Edwards) see things like secularization and extreme Islam as issues to be fiercely attacked. It’s important to have answers for our faith and to be able to defend it, but Evangelicals have a defensive nature in general, leftover from reactions to the Enlightenment and the rise of Evolution, and they declare a holy war against issues instead of being so engaged in the work of Christ that their actions and their love speak for themselves.

Also, Edwards, admitting that Evangelicals fell behind in social work through most of the 20th century—stresses the work done since 1970 and even in the 18th and 19th centuries—doesn’t seem to relate a holistic approach to missional work. Personal salvation is their starting point, it’s the main focus, at the expense of clean drinking water, or medication for those dying of AIDS, or protections for the oppressed. Not that Evangelicals don’t offer those things. But it’s as if Evangelicals want to save people just because Jesus commanded them to, not because they genuinely love them. Because we’re also called to love them, and in loving them, we missionally not only provide Christ, but also provide a blanket, or a glass of water, or a soccer ball.

An Agenda For Change helped me see where much of my frustration towards Evangelicals is coming from. At times I agreed with Edwards’ points wholeheartedly, at others I was cringing and frustrated. It’s a needed agenda for evangelicals, I just wish it embraced more change.

Dr. Wesley Paddock (I don’t know if that’s his real name) offers a more in-depth book review (here).

One thought on “An Agenda For Change by Joel Edwards

  1. alison was one of my dearest friends. we worked together for a year or so. she was home-schooled, her parents were missonaries and she lived a good portion of her childhood in mexico. i miss her 😉

    we were off the wall goofballs. we laughed and played and there was a presence greater than each of us that others could sense. there was a quiet confidence about us, an understood love and respect for everyone we encountered that was natural and easy. we were “different”, people would say.

    we spoke about christ freely with each other in the office – and it caught attention without us even realizing.

    the way we lived our lives, the example we gave was christ working through us to reach others. people were curious about how strong our faith was and how we seemed to be, “happy christians” when most they encountered were stern and judgemental.

    we both got to witness more than we ever had in the past and it took no effort on our parts at all. PEOPLE CAME TO US, seeking the lord.

    “my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

    and it’s been that way anytime i have been fortunate enough to be in the “secular workplace” with christian friends that are like me. our love is evident and people want it and need it – we sow the seed and god does the rest.

    i can just imagine what an amazing force it would be to have “us” all together, united in love not fear or condemnation. “loving our neighbour as ourselves” people could not resist it.

Share your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s