Wednesday, March 23, 2005

More Evidence of Christianity Today's Hard Right Turn

Christianity Today, until George W Bush's re-election last year, was a moderate evangelical voice. I used to really like the magazine. As long as the topic wasn't baptism or free will I could pretty much get on side with much of what was published. Heck, I even published an article in Leadership Journal, their sister publication.

Then, today I found this in my email box.

This week, the eyes of the world are turned toward the family and fate of Terri Schiavo, the Florida woman whose feeding tube was recently removed. As Congress intervenes and right-to-life groups lobby in D.C., many are calling this the next great rallying point for Christian conservatives seeking to build a culture of life. For more information and a variety of opinions about the ethical implications of the Terri Schiavo case, visit our special section. There you'll find information to help you create an informed opinion and pray more effectively

You need to check out the special section highlighted to explore their "variety of opinions."

I'm no journalism expert, but when I saw "variety of opinions" I expected a diversity of views on such an ethically complex issue. What does it mean to live? Does the basics of life mean simply to have a beating heart? Does "quality" of life factor in? Why? Why not? If so, how do we define "quality?"

I thought there might be new details of the case. New evidence other than what we've already seen a thousand times on CNN. Truthfully, I know very little about this case other than the pictures on TV (which, who knows when they were taken?) and listening to the heated political rhetoric coming from the US Congress and White House. I went looking for more information than was readily available to me. Surely, Christianity Today, the Grand Old Publication, could help out?

But no.

Instead, I was treated to a "variety of perspectives" from people who agree with one another. They've defined the parametres of the debate so closely that any moral ambiguity expunged under the dogmatic "culture of life" language. But where was the "culture of life" stuff during the lead up to the Iraq war? The Abu Ghib controversy? The bankrupcy bill? George W Bush's record on capital punishment?

For added pleasure, I was given a "Related Topics" section at the end with an article that asks this disturbing question: "Can God Reach the Mentally Disabled?
Are mentally challenged adults whose intellectual age is probably that of a 1-year-old sheltered under God's salvation?"

Is there a Christian alive who is so perplexed by whether or not mentally challenged people are "sheltered under God's salvation" that they need to trot out Lewis Smeades to ease their fears? This sounds like decision theology run amok. "If you can't 'choose Jesus' then you can't be saved." Salvation by choice, not by faith. The question itself assumes terrible theology. Neo-pelagianism, pure and simple.

Where now, is the voice of the moderate evangelical? Where can us orthodox mainliners find common ground with our evangelical sisters and brothers?

I'm afraid that the rise of the Religious Right and the ascension of George W Bush as the so-called "Christian president" has emboldened the much of the evangelical community to a degree where they may gain the whole world yet forfeit their souls.


Brian said...

Amen! I had to put down Christianity Today for exactly that reason. I just found your blog and it looks great!

Kevin said...


Yeah, CT's right turn has been quite breathtaking in its scope. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks so.

Thanks for your kind words!


Terry Finley said...

Nice blog. Thank you.

I invite you to visit my blog and to study baptism and the Holy Spirit with me.

Terry Finley