What is the mission of the church? Is the mission of the church social justice or preaching the gospel? Kevin Howard, in his recent review of Beyond the Sacred-Secular Divide: A Call to Wholistic Life and Ministry, by Scott D. Allen, addresses these very questions. He writes,
We must not confuse the local church’s role (mission, purpose) with what some Christians might do as they live out their faith. All believers will do good works as a result of faith in Christ and his Spirit within them, but that is a far cry from the need to transform their neighborhoods with mercy ministries. Allen has many unproven presumptions about the need to transform, impact, and shape cultures. The gospel has transforming power and is good news in itself. While we should not resist compassion, we should resist any approach that reduces the gospel to just another piece of the puzzle concerning man’s plight. Although Scott Allen wishes to guard against this, I am not so sure he has the right paradigm to prevent this reduction.