The Liberating Dimension of the Kingdom of God – Evangelical community, civil society and political action – part 2

Dario Lopez is featured in part 1 of the Jesus Agenda film (‘the Proclamation’), produced by Micah Challenge. Have a look at the Micah website here for more information on this excellent DVD resource with accompanying study guide.

In this part 2 we share a few more excerpts from Dario Lopez’s chapter in Carnival Kingdom:-

An examination of the viewpoint and actual practice of Latin American evangelical believers and churches in respect to the critical themes which affect every ground level citizen…can help us to understand the degree to which evangelicals are following the principles of the good news of the Kingdom of God– peace, justice, reconciliation, truth, and solidarity. By ‘critical themes’ I refer to those themes which challenge the social conscience and the socio-political practice of all those who claim to follow and obey the God of life within the historical context of poverty, injustice, violence, oppression and overt or covert violation of fundamental human rights. These themes are the defence of human rights, and especially the right to a life of dignity; the battle against marginalisation and exclusion, one of whose most extreme consequences is racism; the battle against the scandal of poverty, and the extreme poverty which affects thousands of human beings; the responsible care of our common home in a context where powerful economic interests destroy non-renewable natural resources and carry out violence against indigenous peoples;

for all citizens, and especially for the large majorities, the right to participate actively in the construction of a democracy is only really meaningful when it is inclusive and participatory, when social justice more than political discussion is a daily reality for all
people and families. The excluded and marginalised, those on or below the poverty line, need to become actors in the construction of a state and of a society radically different to that which we currently have in South America. The hour has come to radically transform the relationships of power, so that power is at the service of all citizens and directed towards the common good!

Too little has been done to halt the frenetic, destructive path which, step by step, has decimated our natural resources. Those responsible for these deeds are only seldom publicly denounced. In other words, evangelicals are not carrying out their divinely appointed task of responsibly stewarding humanity’s common home. This is despite concrete problems such as air pollution which directly affect them–pollution does not distinguish between evangelicals and non-evangelicals! In other words, evangelical Christians are part of the problem, because with our passivity and our complicit silence, we are allowing the irreversible destruction of green areas which are the “lungs” of the world, and the gradual disappearance of non-renewable resources and the extinction of species. These are problems which have as an immediate consequence the alteration of the ecological balance and irreparable damage to our common home which, step by step, is being destroyed.

To clarify then…Christian mission has to be integral. When the mission of the church limits itself almost exclusively to the verbal proclamation of the gospel, disconnected from a commitment to good works and social justice, it will have as visible fruit good people, good neighbours or good parents, with an outstanding private ethic, but a poor public ethic, deficient and of little use for social transformation. A mutilated gospel, dedicated to the salvation of bodiless souls, disconnected from the historical reality, will never produce exemplary citizens who are preoccupied by the search for the common good and committed to the concrete actions of fighting against poverty and extreme poverty, the defence of human rights, the responsible care of our common home, the protection of helpless social sectors and the battle for a democracy in which all citizens have equal opportunities and where social justice is a palpable every-day reality, especially for the poor and the oppressed.

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