Back in seminary days I had a great prof (among many others) for social ethics named Doug Miller. Well, it turns out that Doug lives in Santa Barbara so we get to see each other regularly. He is finishing a book on the political setting and implications of the gospel and came to our adult Sunday school class today to share some of his ideas.
He began by talking a bit about the 3 "quests for the historical Jesus," ending with the idea that accepting Jesus as one's savior means accepting the facts that we can discern about who he was, what he did, and what he said in a specific political and cultural context. Doug sees the political message of Jesus as being somewhat parallel to what we would characterize today as liberal or progressive and as being central to the gospel. Issues such as distribution of wealth, affirmative action, and the role of the government in caring for the poor were/are central to the good news of the gospel. To divorce those ideas from Jesus and to ignore them in our current political setting is to reject the true Jesus and embrace idolatry.
Doug will share again next week in our class... and hopefully the book will be published relatively soon. I'm looking forward to hearing and then reading more.
FWIW, these words are my interpretation of what Doug said and may or may not accurately reflect his views.