The evangelical church has a social responsibility. But what is that responsibility and what does it look like in practice? This collection explores the nature of the institutional church’s responsibility, but also explores deeper questions related to the church’s social witness: Why is the church significant? How should it speak and act—and who should do the speaking and acting? And how might various contexts affect the form that Christian responsibility takes?
An indispensable tool for answering such questions is the distinction between the church as organism and institution. A proper understanding of this distinction provides the means to appreciate the complexity of social life in the modern world and to invigorate the church’s witness and action with both the rigor of institutional authority and the vitality of conscientious action.
Edited by Jordan J. Ballor and Robert Joustra. Including contributions by:
Vincent Bacote * Jessica Driesenga * Kevin R. den Dulk * Kevin N. Flatt * Carl F.H. Henry * Mike Hogeterp * David T. Koyzis * Richard J. Mouw * J. Howard Pew * Stephanie Summers * Calvin P. Van Reken * Peter Vander Meulen * Michael R. Wagenman
"There is a great deal of confused and agitated discussion nowadays as to whether or not the church has a social responsibility, and if it does, how it should carry out that responsibility. The essays in this collection, written in lucid accessible prose, approach the topic from a variety of angles and offer helpful ways of thinking about the issues. Running throughout the essays is the indispensable distinction between the church as institution and the church as organism. If you find yourself confused about the church's social responsibility, this is the book to dispel your confusion."
Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology, Yale University
Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, University of Virginia