Biblical social action that reflects advocacy on behalf of the poor--gets your hands dirty and messy
For the church to have a public voice that affects the public square with kingdom values, it needs to have public actions that demonstrate the interests of the community and, in particular, actions that reflect advocacy and social action on behalf of the poor.
There will be expected tensions in advocating for the poor in the public square, including opposition from within and from outside the church community. The political process is rarely comfortable for those with deep, conservative biblical convictions and is often beset with estranged alliances and awkward compromises. Additionally, the very poor we seek to serve will not always appreciate or rise up to the advocacy afforded to them. Nonetheless, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, we need to “smudge” ourselves with “the hard complexities of the world” [Elshtain’s “Afterward” in Evangelicals in the Public Square by Budziszewski, 197].
*Adapted from chapter 1 of Wasted Evangelism, "Widows in Our Courts."
Chip M. Anderson, advocate for biblical social action; pastor of an urban church plant in the Hill neighborhood of New Haven, CT; husband, father, author, former Greek & NT professor; and, 19 years involved with social action.