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Covenanting Collectivists

Jim Wallis, editor of Sojourners magazine -- the evangelical baptizer of contemporary collectivist ideology -- recently gushed over the Justice, Peace, and The Integrity of Creation World Convocation, a program of the World Council of Churches. Wallis declared that the "life, energy, and spiritual power of the gathered global church [at the convocation] are something to behold. This is the great contribution of the World Council of Churches" (Sojourners, May 1990).

The goal of those convening was to "integrate biblically the most pressing questions facing the world." Wallis rehearses tiresome collectivist rhetoric common to such guilt-ins, "The urgency of justice [read redistributionism], the longing for peace, and the cry of creation [read Luddite environmentalism], are no longer fragmented agendas, but rather have become the unified and common struggle of our many faith communities."

The most important work of the convocation, according to Wallis, was the "covenanting together." The participants "covenanted" in response to the debt crisis, the environment, world militarization, and racism. Other participants apparently couldn't control their excitement and enthusiastically made "covenants" between member Israelis and Palestinians, between Northern Nations to reduce "greenhouse gases," between "liberation" groups, between Europeans and Koreans for a re-unification of Korea, between youth delegates everywhere "to act together in the future," between Europeans and Asians to "fight the exploitation of women worldwide," between delegates from the East, West, and South "in the face of the moral collapse of the two major world systems," and many others.

What makes all this gushing so nauseous is not its utopian naiveté, common to all collectivists, but its commitment to political solutions. On the face of it, Christians should be averse to abject hope in political solutions. Political solutions are, in the nature of the case, short term, coercive, and destructive. We've choked heavily on such collectivist political prescriptions for over a century, to no avail. Yet the alternative to collectivism is not some form of nihilistic-individualism, but the comprehensive gospel of Christ applied to all areas of life.

In one sense, however, I am glad that evangelical collectivists enjoy spending their time on naive political "solutions." By focusing on grandiose plans, they leave the rest of us alone to work on real change. Long-lasting change, such as that which was empowered in first-century Jerusalem, builds step-by-step, little-by-little. We attempt to Biblically train ourselves, our churches, our local communities, and most importantly our children, so that they will faithfully train their children and so on. This is one way genuine covenantal living operates. Nations and faddish collectivist ideologies will rise and fall, but God's covenant is sure.

DMJ


Copyright © by Covenant Community Church of Orange County 1990
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