John Pavlovitz
John Pavlovitz is an advocate for the Christian Left

One of the hobbies of the Christian left is to beat on the Christian right for being hateful and uncaring. John Pavlovitz’s article (Link Below) celebrating the greatness of the left is no exception. It is a diatribe of the many issues and problems generally associated with evangelicalism and the religious right. Though this rant does little to substantiate its claims, it is not the point of this article to defend the right but rather expose how the article reveals a fundamental problem for the Christian left.

For as much as the Christian Left Pats itself on the back for how much it caring they are toward their fellow man, it is shocking at times at how little they seem to care about spiritual needs. When I read this article I thought to myself “where is the gospel in all this?”

Yes, it is important to help people with their physical needs, but isn’t this life temporary? The great commission didn’t say go into the world and feed all people but rather make disciples. The “Social Gospel” seems to make the purpose of the Christian life to make the world a better place. It is a noble goal, but pointless if the soul is lost.

Hopelessly Pluralistic

One of the main problems with the Left is that they have become hopelessly pluralistic. Maybe years of abuses from various religions claiming that they have the only truth has turned them against all claims of objective truth. Unfortunately, it seems that the particulars of the Christian faith have been lost in their pluralism. In discussing Muslims, Pavlovitz says “no faith tradition has a monopoly on truth”. How can a Christian really say that?

Maybe he is unfamiliar with Jesus’ claims about the exclusiveness of truth. Jesus claims in John 14:6 that “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Also in John 17:17 “…your Word is truth.” Is Pavlovitz denying these statements? How is he reconciling his pluralism with scripture?

Maybe what he means is that we should be kind to those who think differently than us. That we could agree on. Why this pointless validation of other traditions and why virtue signal while doing it? What is being gained here other than social media points? The final irony of the statement is that the Muslims themselves don’t even agree with them. They certainly belief the Quran contains THE truth. Ultimately, all this thinking does is to subvert your own religious tradition.

Better to be Saved, Right?

Next he criticizes Christians who “disregarded the faith tradition” of indigenous people. Unless I am missing something, I think he is referring to the Christianizing of Native Americans. Doesn’t “Christianizing” mean they were saved? Isn’t going to heaven preferable to maintaining your own false traditions on Earth?

Of course, some will point out that there were many abusive and coercive practices associated with the conversion of indigenous people. I don’t deny this or defend this. Let’s not fool ourselves, however, into thinking that conversion was always associated with abuse or that coercion is a necessary component of it. Converting pagans is following of the great commission.

My criticism of Pavlovitz is that he is lamenting the loss of pagan faith traditions themselves. He mentions culture separately, so he doesn’t mean holding Christianity within indigenous cultures. How can any Christian feel that replacement of a alternate faith tradition with Christianity is a bad thing? Would he rather they keep their traditions and go to hell? It is almost that he are oblivious (or denies) that this life on Earth is not all there is.

Denial of Doctrines

I don’t think Pavlovitz wants those outside the faith to go to hell. It is more likely that he doesn’t believe in hell in the first place. I am not going to cast stones here, but I suspect most of the problems with the Christian left is a denial of key doctrines. If you don’t believe in the inspiration of the bible, depravity of man, hell, the virgin birth, the resurrection, deity of Christ or the atonement, then maybe the focus should be what happens here on earth. Christianity is reduced to personal fulfillment and self-help.

Evangelicalism and conservative Christianity is almost by definition associated with the belief in the doctrines above (for which they are sometimes mocked by the left). A sincere belief in them naturally leads one to evangelize. A denial of them leaves no reason to. Likely, this is the source of the problem.

Christian Left or Humanitarian group

Comparing beliefs and goals, how is the Christian Left distinguishable from a humanitarian group? I don’t see any in this article. If particulars of Christianity are really true, however, the left is ultimately trying to create a better life for fallen humanity, which is an exercise in futility. In the end, human happiness becomes the new religion and meeting needs the new salvation. Isn’t this worshiping the creature rather than the Creator?

Ultimately, the great failure of the Christian left is that the “social gospel” leaves many comfortable in their sins and if possible feeling as if they do not need a savior. It is a noble goal to want to improve people lives but it is hollow without meeting spiritual needs as well. Is it really an improvement that people are happier on their way to hell?

John 6:27 (ESV) ” Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life…”

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