Changed Hearts Change the World

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“Changing the human heart and changing human society are not separate tasks, but are as interconnected as the two beams of the cross.” Henri Nouwen

When Jesus moves in he disrupts our personal ethics and replaces them with upside down ones, but he doesn’t stop there. He saves our souls and through us seeks to save our society. He destabilizes the defective foundation on which modern society is built and substitutes it with sturdier material.

When we say that we aspire to be like him are we just talking about being clean-talking, drug-free, conservative-voting polite citizens or must we have something more in mind?

As we strive toward a more perfect union, lawmakers and the media who frame public issues need the Church to hold them accountable to the sort of eternal values that more adequately reflect Sermon on the Mount values.

“An individual gospel without a social gospel,” said the great 20th century missionary to India E. Stanley Jones, “is a soul without a body, and the social gospel without an individual gospel is a body without a soul. One is a ghost and the other a corpse.”

Splitting the two leads to a warped reading of Scripture and tempts us to domesticate the gospel. Any gospel without feet isn’t the gospel at all.

Although the Bible is not a manual on politics, it does offer us principles that structure our moral reasoning, which in turn affects our politics. Jesus teaches us in this Sermon (and others) to integrate his truth into public life with morally compelling and biblically founded convictions.

Our influence reaches beyond getting people to say a “sinner’s prayer” and sign up for a new believers class. Spirit-saturated subversives function, as we’ll see later, as “salt” to rescue souls and societies from decay and as “light” to illuminate the path to a better humanity.


Here are a few more excerpts from a book I hope to publish in the near future on the Sermon on the Mount called: What In The World? Some Moral, Social, and Politically Disruptive Implications of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

As such, I’d appreciate your feedback on this post and others to come in order to make the final copy publish-worthy.

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