An evangelical political scientist declared here that "politically speaking, evangelicalism stands for nothing because it stands for everything."
Dr. Paul B. Henry attempted to set forth principles toward developing an evangelical political theory, based on the concepts of love, power and justice. He spoke at the fourth annual Conference on Christianity and Politics at Calvin College, where he is a professor of political science.
The Baptist layman declared tht "evangelicalism's failure to articulate a consistent and developed political philosophy has meant that evangelicalism has been twisted and contorted in such a manner that it has been used to justify the most disparate of social and political positions."
Henry argued that "there can be no politics aside from the use of power." Based on that premise, he stressed, "if the evangelical community is going to develop a political ethic, it must be one in which power is recognized and accepted as a legitimate means to the ends it seeks. To reject power is to reject politics."
Relating justice to love, he said that "since the 'God of love' is also a just God, love and justice cannot stand juxtaposed. Love must go beyond justice, but it can never seek less than justice. Love may inform and inspire reverence for justice, but it can never be an excuse for absolving the claims of justice."
With regard to the relationship between justice and power, Henry commented, "Given the fact that not all men willingly seek justice, power can be used legitimately if and when it serves the cause of justice. While we have suggested that love cannot use power to achieve its ends, justice must use power to achieve its ends."
He affirmed that "as the church proclaims the Gospel, it sensitizes the community at large (as well as the Chritian community) to the demands of justice. Hence, while justice remains the servant of love, it is love which serves as the enabler of justice."