The Parable of the Good Liberal

On one occasion, a highly respected British conservative evangelical leader stood up to test Jesus.

“Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the Law?” Jesus replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”

In reply, Jesus said: “An ancient people were once exiled from their homeland and scattered among the nations. Whilst among the nations, they fell among bandits, were robbed of their dignity, threatened, abused, reviled, slandered, terrorised, and left battered and bleeding. A South East Gospel Partnership Steering Committee member read about this in the newspaper, but he was busy preparing his sermon on Romans 11, and so did nothing. So too, an Evangelicals Now board member, heard about this on the news, but was too busy preparing a Christianity Explored course for his local church, and so also did nothing. But a liberal Anglican bishop, who had dodgy views about both the authority of Scripture and the meaning of the cross, also heard about these people, and took pity upon them. He started reading about how they had been persecuted historically, and how their oppression manifested itself today. He contacted their communal organisations and asked how he could learn more. He donated money to the charity that kept their schools and places of worship safe. He signed petitions, wrote to newspapers and spoke out on this people’s behalf in the media – and continued to do so, even when he himself was reviled as a result. Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the people who fell among bandits?”

The highly respected British conservative evangelical leader replied, “The one who had mercy on them.”

Jesus told him. “Go and do likewise.”

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