Magazine article The Christian Century

Myth-Buster

Magazine article The Christian Century

Myth-Buster

Article excerpt

DEAR PASTOR Gregory Boyd: My editors do not favor the "open letter" genre, so let's consider this a "closed letter," something I'd more or less sneak to you. I have the impulse to write because I have been reading so much about you and your ministry at Woodland Hills Church near St. Paul. You've been written up in the New York Times and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and on numerous Web sites. The Times even had you on the front page, which is not a familiar location for evangelicals unless they are involved in sexual or financial scandals, executing power grabs, selling the prosperity gospel or telling Americans that we have to like war, for God's sake.

It seems you've been preaching the words of the prophets and the Gospels. You've declared that it's disastrous for the church to get too close to any national or political ideology. You've written a book titled The Myth of a Christian Nation. As a result of your views, you've lost 1,000 members from a flock of 5,000. That is a real blow, though most ministers I know work with a much smaller base. The loss of even a few as a result of courageous preaching is emotionally hard. And I'm told that donations to the building fund are down. But I think you'll recover.

It seems that you are trying to rescue evangelicalism from the taint of a simple identification with pro-war policies and an obsession with social causes that are not part of the prophetic tradition. Of course, you are not alone; there are always "7,000 in Israel" who have not bowed the knee. …

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