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  • Randy Nabors

The Drift Toward Elitism

I would venture to say that most Reformed Presbyterian Evangelical types don’t think of themselves as elitists. In fact every once in a while they sound as if they are an oppressed minority, being marginalized by the liberal media, culturally ridiculed by the atheistic/agnostic academy. While there is some truth to the idea that Evangelicals as a whole are often mocked and disdained by the liberal intellectuals and left wing cultural power brokers, there is also truth that the disdain also flows in the opposite direction. Recently I have read how the privileged, the educated, the intellectuals tend to self-segregate, and how this is documented by demographics that reveal how they have chosen to live in a few geographic areas where the top universities and media centers are located. Purporting to care about the poor and the marginalized ethnics they are more and more leaving those people physically behind while embracing them in study papers, documentaries, and as theories. In short the well off like to live with the well off, they like to live where the jobs pay well, and where their children can get the best opportunities in schooling and enrichment. My concern is not for them, or their hypocrisy. My concern is for our hypocrisy. I am concerned that the efforts of Reformed and Evangelical folks to raise their Covenant Children and give them a Christian education, to home school them, to build an intellectual bastion of Reformed thinking in our schools and colleges, and to self segregate in where we live and where we build our churches has also left the poor and marginalized ethnic communities behind. We have the amazing ability to talk about integrating our faith into our vocational disciplines so that Christ is Lord in all of life, and yet make the life we are living one of self-indulgent isolation from the rest of the world. I am impressed with the education of Christian children, I am impressed with the competence they exhibit and certainly they are some of the most affluent, talented, and creative people. I just wonder why we did it, what was it all for, and what has been its result? Did we give our children all of this for them to enjoy a good life, did we do it so we would feel successful as parents that we hadn’t failed our children but gave them everything we could think of so they would materially thrive and we wouldn’t feel guilty? It seems to me that if our children aren’t taking the risk of sacrifice for the Kingdom of God, after we have given them all of this great Christian education, then we didn’t really give them a Christian education. The way things are going it looks like the Liberals will murder their children in the womb, and their birth rate will continue to go down. They will refuse to get married, wait too late to get married, or marry as homosexuals and not produce children. The religious right will continue to have babies and we will educate them well. The wealthy liberals will still have Harvard, but sooner or later it will be irrelevant because there won’t be anybody to go there. What bothers me is the folks both of these aforementioned groups leave behind. While Liberals have a rhetoric about justice it seems to me we have a theology of missions, mercy, and justice. That theology is not one that challenges the poor and nations of the world to do their best to achieve so they might join our ranks, but challenges us to give up our lives for them. How are our families doing that, how our Christian educational institutions doing that, how are our churches doing that? It is one thing to have great intellectual discussions about the Kingdom of God and it is something else to seek it, and to live it out. I’m just wondering how much elitism we can create before we have “elite-ed” ourselves into irrelevancy by failing to preach the Gospel to the poor, and winning the lost?

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