That’s how Touchstone Magazine describes Russell Moore’s article  on the similarities between Jeremiah Wright’s approach to the Scriptures and many of the conservative preachers who condemned him. He writes:

Last Easter Sunday, the new pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ, where Wright is now pastor emeritus, preached from the biblical account of the crucifixion of Jesus, but did so as illustrative of the controversy over Wright. In other churches all over the country that same Sunday, many conservative “Bible-based” pastors preached from that same account, but the account of the crucifixion and Resurrection was used as illustrative of finding hope when you’re hopeless, of finding a light at the end of your tunnel.

Again, he writes:

There is a liberation theology of the Left, and there is also a liberation theology of the Right, and both are at heart mammon worship. The liberation theology of the Left often wants a Barrabas, to fight off the oppressors as though our ultimate problem were the reign of Rome and not the reign of death. The liberation theology of the Right wants a golden calf, to represent religion and to remind us of all the economic security we had in Egypt. Both want a Caesar or a Pharaoh, not a Messiah.

Preachers will always be tempted to bypass the problem behind the problems: captivity to sin, bondage to the accusations of the demonic powers, the sentence of death. That’s why so many of our Christian superstars smile at crowds of thousands, reassuring them that they don’t like to talk about sin. That’s why other Christian celebrities are seen to be courageous for fighting their culture wars, while they carefully leave out the sins most likely to be endemic to the people paying the bills in their congregations.

Where there is no gospel, something else will fill the void: therapy, consumerism, racial or class resentment, utopian politics, crazy conspiracy theories of the left, crazy conspiracy theories of the right; anything will do. The prophet Isaiah warned us of such conspiracies replacing the Word of God centuries ago (Is. 8:12–20). As long as the Serpent’s voice is heard, “You shall not surely die,” the powers are comfortable.

Are we calling people to a comfortable life of ease in Egypt, or are we urging them to set their hearts and hopes on the Promise Land? Are we pleading for our people to believe in the American Dream or the Gospel of Christ? Do we preach “your best life now” or “whoever will lose his life for my sake and the Gospel’s will save it”? Perhaps we aren’t too far removed from Rev. Wright.

(HT: Denny Burk)

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