Consider track record of social gospel
By James L. Evans, pastor of Auburn First Baptist Church
There has always been resistance to a social application of the gospel. Evangelicals, even before they were called that, expressed suspicion about the idea of "social evil." In the world of evangelical theology everything depends on the individual and his or her personal decision for or against Jesus. Salvation for the world depends on the one-at-a time salvation of every individual person.
This is one reason evangelicals have no problem engaging social issues such as drug and alcohol abuse, pornography, gambling, sexual practices, and abortion. All of these represent individual behaviors which evangelicals feel enormously empowered to address and condemn. And in some instances they are right. What alcohol abuse, gambling and pornography have done to marriages and families is well attested.
But their failure to appreciate how social forces contribute to these issues makes their efforts to combat them ineffective and in many cases just plain mean. Men and women trapped in destructive behaviors are not always helped by a just-say-no message of condemnation. What does help is to learn that God cares for them and is at work trying to change the situation that contributes to their misery.