TO THE EDITOR:
If ever there were a moment for evangelism, surely it is now in this “perfect storm” of anger, criminality, incoherence. No more and no less. By evangelism I understand the proclamation of the atoning work of Jesus Christ. That is, in the light of His Cross men and women are exposed for what we are and, in the very same instant, redeemed by God’s sheer grace. Ultimately Christians have no other gospel to bring into the public square.
Unfortunately, when I read through recent Christian pronouncements and editorials (Catholic and Protestant), I find that this gospel is more often than not collapsed into civic nostrums and clichés. Few will take issue with calls for “respect, courtesy, and hospitality,” (June 25). The dignity of each individual is a given in classic liberalism. But when the warrant for these calls relies on appeals to “natural law” and “social justice” alone, these nostrums and clichés have no roots. And, however well-intentioned, these calls are a very pale reflection of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I wait for the day when a priest or bishop, minister or elder, with a modicum of authority will say with St. Paul that he has no other gospel but Jesus Christ and Him crucified. No more and no less. Until that day I will continue to say with John Milton, “The hungry sheep look up and are not fed.”
Father David Lewis Stokes, Assistant Professor, Department of Theology at Providence College