I don’t know if you’ve seen word of this, but this debate, sponsored by the Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, looks great. It’s between Al Mohler and Jim Wallis and will cover the role of social justice in the mission of the church. The debate will be held on October 27, 2011 at TEDS.
Here’s the description of an event that will surely attract a good deal of attention, and should.
North American Evangelicals, long focused on sharing the gospel as the essential mission of the church, have recently become very interested in issues of social justice. A growing sentiment among some today is that Jesus, when he lived on Earth, was indeed among the poor and marginalized, and this fact has, or at least should have, implications for the church’s self-understanding and mission.
Rightly or wrongly, this interest in social justice is being transformed into a blueprint for a new vision of ecclesial ministry. For those holding this position, social justice is not only a burning concern as we seek to embody a pure and faultless religion, but also an essential part of the mission of the church. For others, this new blueprint conjures up concerns about liberal Christianity and a watering down of the gospel, not unlike what took place in Europe in the 20th century. The defining mission of the church, for them, continues to be the sharing of the good news of Jesus Christ to all nations, generations, and social classes. The issue of social justice, though important, is not to be considered as an essential part of the mission of the church. A basic question at the heart of the debate is this: Is social justice an essential part of the mission of the church?
The Henry Center for Theological Understanding, in its Trinity Debates forum, is pleased to provide a public venue for addressing this question by hosting two prominent voices from competing perspectives. Jim Wallis will answer “Yes” and R. Albert Mohler will answer “No.”
I look forward to watching this debate, which most likely will be webcasted. The Henry Center continues to produce events that are of great importance to the faith and practice of the evangelical church, and is definitely a center worth following (on Twitter, for example).