Friday, January 01, 2010

'O, Evangelicos!'

Hope I'm wrong, but it seems like Yancey has written his "final column for Christianity Today—for a while"...partly because he's upset about the new format, which kicks his column (dating back to 1983) 'The Back Page' from the back page to the center of the magazine (and obviously renames it).

It includes this cool story from Brazil as his last word:

In one encouraging trend, the fundamentalist-social gospel divide that marked the church a century ago has long since disappeared. Now evangelical organizations lead the way in such efforts as relief and development, microcredit, HIV/AIDS ministries, and outreach to sex workers. I have visited thriving ministries among the garbage dump communities outside Manila, Cairo, and Guatemala City. Evangelicals have taken seriously Jesus' call to care for "the least of these."

I recently heard from a friend who visited a barrio in São Paulo, Brazil. He grew nervous as he noticed the foot soldiers of drug lords standing guard holding automatic weapons. They were glowering at him, a gringo invading their turf. "Then the chief drug lord of that neighborhood noticed my T-shirt, which had the logo of a local Pentecostal church. He broke out in a big smile: 'O, evangelicos!' he called out, giving us hugs. Over the years, that church had cared for the children of the barrio, and now we were joyfully welcomed."

Some of my friends believe we should abandon the word evangelical. I do not. I simply yearn for us to live up to the meaning of our name.

Phillip Yancey, link

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