Evangelical Rescue? Global Christianity, Human Trafficking and Ecclesial Ethical Responsibility

“… the NA church with global ramifications of faith especially as the church seeks a faithful instantiation of its ethical responsibility worldwide. ”

Team Members/Contributors

Paul C. Lim Vanderbilt University Contact Me

About this sabbatical grant for researchers

It is almost historical truism to say that conservative evangelical Christians in the U.S. were nearly invisible while Dr. King and others were leading Civil Rights marches and demonstrations in Selma, D.C. in the 1960s. Nevertheless, half a century later, things seem to have changed, thereby prompting Nicholas Kristof to begin his July 2011 New York Times op-ed piece this way: “In these polarized times, few words, conjure as much distaste in liberal circles as ‘evangelical Christian.’” Yet “go to the front lines, at home or abroad, in the battles against…human trafficking or genocide, some of the bravest people you meet are evangelical Christians…who truly live their faith.”

How do we situate this recent—in the past three decades—trend among global evangelicals to be in the trenches of fighting against this nearly ubiquitous pandemic?” This will be the first transnational study of global evangelical community’s (represented at least partially by India, South Korea and the US) fight against human trafficking that raises fundamental questions about how these Christians understand the implications of the Gospel and participate in their restoration-of-Shalom project. By doing so, it does justice to the fact that the concerns of the global Church do not exist as a separate, indeed separable, compartment from the life of American churches.

Furthermore, this study will not merely be about American evangelical activism in South Korea and India, or other nations deemed to be “hot spots” for human trafficking. It will highlight the issues of neocolonial tension within the work of evangelical missions, as well as the manifold endeavors carried out by indigenous Christian leaders in Korea and India, often in partnership with evangelical NGOs and mission organizations from the US, but also with some substantial disagreements about power-sharing and deep misgivings about what I would call “American evangelical exceptionalism.”