The NAACP of North Carolina has seen to it that the moribund century-old teachings of theological liberals are still given voice in state politics.

Although few people in the 21st century specifically invoke Walter Rauschenbusch’s Social Gospel, it is very much alive and well in North Carolina with “Moral Monday.”  A creation of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, Moral Monday is a regularly scheduled protest on the grounds of the state house in Raleigh.  The NAACP urges fellow travelers to descend on the capitol to protest measures enacted and contemplated by the North Carolina legislature.  Dozens of protestors have been arrested for trespass and failure to disperse.

The protestors inveigh against cuts to unemployment benefits, proposals for school vouchers, and various budget-trimming efforts.  Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the state’s NAACP chapter, describes these legislative efforts as “George Wallace, Old South politics.”  The Rev. Clarence Shuford of St. Phillip AME Zion in Greensboro avers that this is “a time when we care for the least of these, that we care for those who cannot care for themselves.”  Maintaining and increasing government spending, Barber and Shuford lecture, is how North Carolinians can love their neighbors as themselves.

Barber evinces a disdain for Christians who voiced opposition to gay marriage on biblical grounds, but have failed to embrace the Social Gospel of Moral Monday.  These “so-called Christians,” Barber complains, are “quiet when it comes to social injustice” but “loud when you want to deny people equal protection under law.”

Barber opposed North Carolina’s 2012 efforts to define marriage as between one man and one woman.  The LGBT community—thankful for his support—have joined Moral Monday protests.

Even with the support of the LGBT community, Moral Mondays are not very diverse.  The protestors, led by Barber, are mostly graying Caucasian baby boomers wearing Birkenstocks and message T-shirts.  As they march into the state house, they chant “forward together, not one step back.”

Unfortunately for North Carolina, the Moral Monday folks want to push the state deeper into the red.  The legislature is currently grappling with a projected two billion dollar shortfall for this fiscal year.  The modest efforts and trimming will still leave the state with a bloated $20 billion budget.

North Carolina’s fiscal future aside, the real casualty of Moral Monday is the Gospel and integrity of Christ’s Church.  In his Epistle to the Romans, the Apostle Paul clearly teaches the Church not to be “ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (ESV).  At its essence, the Gospel is the Good News that Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, kept God’s law perfectly, died on a cross for sinners, and rose again to reconcile with the Father those who trust in Christ’s finished work.

Exponents of the Social Gospel rejected a focus on personal salvation and instead taught that true redemption could only come about via collective action.  Rauschenbusch, in his Theology for the Social Gospel (1917), described this as “The adjustment of the Christian message to the regeneration of the social order.”  Once directed to inequality in society, men would be brought “under repentance for their collective sins,” and this would “create a more sensitive and more modern conscience.”  Sin was redefined as “selfishness” in order to eradicate the traditional concepts of sin that had “too much the flavor of the monarchial institutions.”  The ultimate end of the Social Gospel, of course, was the use of state power to promote collectivism.

Reasonable Christians can disagree on matters of budgetary policy.  But Moral Monday leaders equate good-faith disagreements with hostility toward biblical truth and God’s commandments.  With their focus on the world, they ignore that God’s Word does not direct the Church to remedy the various consequences of the Fall.  These will only be fully remedied by the coming of the New Heavens and New Earth.

The mission of the Church is to preach and teach the Word.  With the work of the Holy Spirit, this in turn yields converts who must be taught to integrate their faith into their daily lives.

The Social Gospel as preached by Barber and company takes our eyes off the true work of the Church and results in misguided efforts to bring in the Kingdom through the political process and redistributionist economics.  It’s the same thing that Rauschenbusch pushed, plus a little race baiting.