Kristof Honors Stott and Evangelicals in NY Times

Don’t miss Nick Kristof’s generous tribute to John Stott in Sunday’s The New York Times. He sees Stott as a kind of kinder, gentler evangelical. Given their diametrically opposed worldviews, Kristof’s words come as a bit of a surprise (at least to me). It is not often that you hear a liberal columnist at a secular bulwark like The Times giving honor to an evangelical.

But what is perhaps even more surprising about this article is Kristof’s generous tribute to evangelicals in general (at least some of them), which he bases on interactions that he has been having with them over the last several years. He writes:

Partly because of such self-righteousness, the entire evangelical movement often has been pilloried among progressives as reactionary, myopic, anti-intellectual and, if anything, immoral.

Yet that casual dismissal is profoundly unfair of the movement as a whole. It reflects a kind of reverse intolerance, sometimes a reverse bigotry, directed at tens of millions of people who have actually become increasingly engaged in issues of global poverty and justice. . .

Evangelicals are disproportionately likely to donate 10 percent of their incomes to charities, mostly church-related. More important, go to the front lines, at home or abroad, in the battles against hunger, malaria, prison rape, obstetric fistula, human trafficking or genocide, and some of the bravest people you meet are evangelical Christians (or conservative Catholics, similar in many ways) who truly live their faith.

I’m not particularly religious myself, but I stand in awe of those I’ve seen risking their lives in this way — and it sickens me to see that faith mocked at New York cocktail parties.

Read the rest of Kristof’s article here.

John 17:22-2322 The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”

8 Responses to Kristof Honors Stott and Evangelicals in NY Times

  1. Brian Maiers July 30, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

    Kristof’s praise of evangelicalism suggests that the phrase you used “diametrically opposed worldviews” is inaccurate. According to Kristof there are some important areas of agreement between himself and evangelicalism.

  2. Jason July 31, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    Brian,

    I don’t think you are correct. For instance, Muslims and Christians would have substantial agreement on the importance of certain things, but they would totally disagree on the “why” and the “how” of many, if not most of those things.

    The unbeliever can nod approvingly at “love your enemies”, but how that works out in reality will be diametrically opposed to the activities of the one who is in Christ.

  3. donsands July 31, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

    Good post to read. Helps my heart to be a bit more molded by our Potter. Thanks.

  4. Brent Hobbs July 31, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    Thanks for pointing this out. Praise God for the character of Christ being shown to unbelievers.

  5. Brian Maiers July 31, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    Jason I can’t resist being a smart alec…

    still not the right use of the term.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/diametrically

  6. Derek July 31, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    I wonder if Kristof read “In the Land of Believers”, the book written by atheist and author Gina Welch, who attended Jerry Falwell’s church Thomas Road Baptist. It is remarkable for Kristof to acknowledge the reality of a reverse bigotry that exists in his circles.

  7. Denny Burk July 31, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

    Derek,

    Kristof thinks Falwell was one of the “blowhards.” Yet Gina Welch actually came to have an affectionate appreciation for Falwell. She never agreed with Falwell’s views on Christianity or religion, but she liked him as a person.

    I really like Welch’s book.

    Denny

  8. Kamilla July 31, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

    Denny,

    It is remarkable coming from Kristof, especially after reading his treatment of Evangelicals in “Half the Sky”. Now, if he revises the book in a second edition, I’ll believe this is more than a momentary bout if affection on his part.

    Sorry to be so cynical, but it’s a learned response.

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