Monday, 17 September 2007


Yes, just 3 months into ministry and I've got my first letter published in the Church Times!

Sadly you need to be a subscriber to view it online. It was a response to a scurrilous attack by Stephen Bates against Christian Reconstructionism (and lots of other people he doesn't like).

A couple at church yesterday morning mentioned they'd seen my letter "in Jezebel's Trumpet". Nice!

After advice from my esteemed colleagues, here it is:


Having enjoyed William Whyte’s review of The Expansion of Evangelicalism, it was ironic then to read Stephen Bates on the Religious Right. Whyte observes that “Evangelicalism was not homogenous.” Mr. Bates then proceeds to lump together Christian Reconstructionism, tele-evangelists, the Republican Party, unfortunate examples of evangelical hypocrisy, and Evangelicals generally.

To consider just one of these, even within Christian Reconstructionism, there is diversity. There are different attitudes to the legal status of other faiths. There are different applications of Old Testament Law to the judicial system. No Reconstructionist expects this to happen in 20 years, as Mr. Bates seems to suggest. Postmillenial in outlook, Reconstructionists expect this sort of state to be possibly centuries in the making. Further, the growing movement of ecclesial rather than political Reconstructionists expect this will take place as a result of large-scale Christian conversion, within the democratic process, not to be enforced by some coup d’etat.

Finally, Mr. Bates attacks the focus on homosexuality rather than divorce or poverty. If he would read the work of Jordan, Leithart, Wilson, Bahnsen et al., he would find that fidelity in marriage, love for your wife, care for your family, takes up considerably more space than any discussions of homosexuality.

He would also find that the opposition of the Institute for Christian Economics and others to state intervention, welfare and ‘fair’ trade, which he may mistake for unconcern for the poor, is prompted by a thoroughgoing desire to follow biblical (and therefore truly effective) means for the alleviation of poverty.

Yours faithfully,
Neil Jeffers


Steve Jeffery said...

So - what did the letter say? If you think I'm subscribing to CT just to read it, you can think again...



DavidF said...

That letter is your property - shove it on the blog.



Michael Dormandy said...

Well done on getting the letter in the CT, Neil. May it be the first of many!

Not for the first time, I'd be interested in exactly how you argue that Fair Trade and welfare provision are unbiblical means of alleviating poverty.

In the probable and entirely understandable event that demands of parish ministry prevent detailed discussion of the event, have you an article you can recommend?

I of course agree that the way the US Republican party, tele-evangelists and evangelical hypocrisy are all in poprular stereotype associated with evangelicals in general is unhelpful. I think (and suspect from your post that you do also) that, whatever your politics, to portray all evangelicals as being right-wing Republicans damages our ability to reach out to people of different political persuasions and undermines the display of the Gospel's power to unify Christians across the politcal (as across every other) divide.