Governments and police have moved in recent weeks to crack down on the Occupy Wall Street movement and many of its imitators across the United States. Following the New York protest’s eviction from Zuccotti Park, authorities shut down similar camps in Portland, New Orleans, Dallas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Oakland. Unbowed, protestors have regrouped in Washington, D.C., and plan renewed efforts nationwide next year.
Polls reveal widespread sympathy for the protestors’ concerns about Wall Street profits, boosted by extraordinary government efforts, while so many others continue to struggle in a stagnant global economy. Specific policy recommendations, however, have been elusive for an Occupy movement averse to leadership and suspicious of unity. And the protests lost a great deal of popular support as media reported incidents of lawlessness within the camps.
Neither Occupy nor the issues that originally occasioned this backlash will likely disappear anytime soon, even if they take on different dimensions in upcoming months and years. So Christians will continue to be challenged: How do we respond by carefully discerning legitimate concerns while bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to bear on the underlying spiritual problems? What is the difference between equality and egalitarianism? How can we distinguish between genuine cries against injustice and counterfeit appeals based in greed? According to the Bible, what is the government’s proper role in stewarding the wealth of a nation? How, then, does a biblical worldview compare and contrast with the remarkably consistent worldview articulated by Occupy protesters?
Voddie Baucham, pastor of preaching at Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, Texas, talked through these issues and much more with Mark Mellinger, evening news anchor for WANE-TV in Fort Wayne, Indiana. We’re grateful to Mellinger, who also hosts the talk show 1090 Today on WFCV 1090 AM, for lending The Gospel Coalition his skills and experience as an interviewer. We trust you’ll appreciate this penetrating conversation with Baucham, who combines biblical wisdom with cultural discernment. You may not agree with all Baucham’s analysis, but you’ll be challenged to think carefully about the Bible’s explanation for what ails this world in contrast with competing worldviews ascendant in Western society today.