We hear the world saying that science and religion are unrelated activities of the human mind. Charles A. Ellwood said, “A new hope has come into the world — that science may unite with religion in the work of redeeming mankind; that thus we of this generation may discover a new synthesis of aspiration with knowledge.” The world says that science cannot be the basis for religion and that it deals with entirely different realms of experience. However, God says, “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it” (Psalm 24:1). God’s declaration breaks this compartmentalization mindset that distinguishes between the secular and the sacred.
Moreover, Ellwood also suggests that when the church welcomes social science as an ally, then there will be a powerful religious revival that the world has never seen before. Maybe the Body of Christ should start caring more about the social issues that surround the community which it is a part of. But how can the church play a more active role in society? What gifts does the prophet have to offer to the marketplace?
The worldview that we are all “allies” is a social science model wherein the ultimate goal is to explore whether social science and Christianity are capable of a dynamic integration. In contrast to the “Enemy” social science model, which illustrates social science and Christianity on opposing ends of the spectrum, the goal of the “Allies” model is to achieve unity wholeness in the world. Integration refers to the act or process of making whole; in this case, therefore, integration could refer to the process of fitting two items together in order to make one orderly functioning entity. Simply said, social gospel seeks to unite social science and Christianity together to make the world a better place.
While the church must not turn a blind eye to sin, it must also not bring about condemnation to sinners. In Jesus’ time, he always took the side of the poor, the outcast, the oppressed, and the marginalized, at the expense of the religious leaders who strictly followed the rules.
The crowd did not encounter Jesus and walked away saying, “Man, he sure hated adulterers!” In fact, Jesus stood up for a woman whom the Pharisees called as adulterous (John 8:1-11). Jesus’ main concerns were and are the poor, the homeless, and the sick. Accordingly, maybe the church should also sow into these areas that concerned Jesus the most when he walked the earth. If we apply the “Allies” social science model into practice, we will notice more and more about how the world needs the Body of Christ to put into practice the message of the Bible.
Studying the Word of God is about equipping yourself to live out in practical ways the standard of the Bible. Archbishop Jordan’s book, Prophet in the Marketplace is now available exclusively via the Book of the Month Club.
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What can you learn from Jesus as the epitome of a social gospel preacher?