The decline of Intervarsity continues apace. I really have to wonder about the leadership direction at this once great ministry when, under its aegis, people promote such relativistic nonsense as mutual conversion and apologies for things which they never did.
First, there is no such thing as mutual conversion; because this is Christianity we’re talking about, the Christian cannot be converted again, and to mix meanings of the word in the same paragraph breeds confusion. To say that Christians are made aware of the worldview and the suffering of others is not a conversion.
Second, it is not awesome to apologize for something you never did. It’s a throwaway line, a tawdry show of words, and a ruining of repentence to engage in this. We are only held accountable for what we do, not what others do. Thus it is literally senseless for me to apologize for what other people did in the past that I had nothing to do with. God will not hold me accountable for their actions. How just would He be if He did? We know that God is a God of justice and mercy.
It’s also beyond bizarre to apologize on behalf of an entire country, as though you were some diplomat who had secured the apologies of even 51% of the populace. Given that people who apologize on behalf of the others never do that, all they are doing is engaging in fake mercy and making a salad out of words. They are not authorized to apologize; their apology is not one heartfelt for it is not personal; their apology is impossible for nations do not sin nor can they be saved. A better response would be to deal with the hurting individuals on a personal level and to seek reconciliation and restoration personally. People who blame nations or racial groups or the system for their ills are still immature, and babying them will never lead to their maturity.
Left unasked in all this urban ministry is why people are destitute in the first place. At least some of the reasons are because they have believed lies about themselves, about others, and yes, about their home country. This is not to say that they deserve everything that happens to them, but only that they do have some responsibility for it. Yet no-one asks what is their responsibility and what can they do differently? Too often urban ministry simply accepts the lies that the hurting and injured believe and then goes off to fight windmills rather than speak the truth in love – to rebuke and to restore. Yet the gospel of Christ is one that is absolutely consumed with truth, and fighting imaginary enemies of institutional racism, the system, the man, and so on, will never help. Instead, it will leave them mired in their despair, and the trinkets of needless apologies will only continue the lie that they are ok and do not need to change.