A strangely familar take on evangelism and social action

The latest edition of the theological journal Themelios (December 2008) is now available free online from The Gospel Coalition.

What do you make of this?

(Amazon UK)

(Amazon UK)

In 2004 I published Good News to the Poor. In Good News to the Poor I outlined three principles assertions about how we should relate evangelism and social action:

1. Evangelism and social action are distinct activities

2. Proclamation is central

3. Evangelism and social action are inseparable

In the latest edition of Themelios Tim Keller has an article on the gospel and the poor in which he makes the following three points about how evangelism and ministry to the poor relate (and I quote):

1. Evangelism is distinct

2. Evangelism is more basic than ministry to the poor

3. But ministry to the poor is inseparably connected to evangelism

There’s no reference to Good News to the Poor. Coincidence?


8 thoughts on “A strangely familar take on evangelism and social action

  1. It’s worse than you think! I got the outline from Dan Strange (in his article on public theology) who was quoting you. So I’ve offended two British authors, not one! Actually, for reasons I don’t know, the footnote didn’t get into the article. It was originally a handout for a roundtable discussion, not a paper for publication. An oversight somewhere. Sorry! It’s essentially the position some of us worked out 25 years ago and it was in the Ministries of Mercy book, though not so pithily.

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  3. Actually, the Bible was always clear about these issues. I seriously wonder if Protestants have forgotten that they are allowed to read it without official interpreters!

  4. Hi Cora, thanks for the comment. I agree the Bible is clear on these issues (I’m not claiming originality!). But it’s also true that I’ve spent the last twenty-five years debating these three statements with people – mostly evangelicals – who flatly denied one or more of them.

  5. 25 years debating over these issues? Such a shame. To think of all those poor communities we could have been reaching out to. Still, glad to see that after all that debating you have not become dissilusioned Tim. Keep up the good work man! God bless yer.

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