“A religious organization is a remarkably poor vessel for either piety or prophecy.” Randall Balmer


In a review of Embattled Ecumenism by Jill K. Gill, Randall Balmer writes:

…one of the lessons of the NCC is the frailty and ultimately the impotence of institutions, especially in the absence of popular support. A religious institution may be a sociological necessity, but it ultimately seeks its own perpetuation. The NCC became obsessed with various bureaucratic reorganizational schemes as its cultural influence waned.

A religious organization is a remarkably poor vessel for either piety or prophecy. And when religious leaders seek favor and influence in the councils of power, the prophetic voice suffers—an indictment that applies as much to the religious right as it does to the NCC.

As America heads into its presidential election, it’s a good idea for evangelicals of all political stripes to keep Balmer’s warning in mind.

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