Thursday, September 07, 2006

Give up on the culture...for Jesus?

Great article by Stan Guthrie in CT. Do we give up on culture, or not? He highlights some recent writers.

• Likening culture to the weather, Frederica Mathewes-Green (March) counsels: "God has not called us to change the weather. Our primary task as believers, and our best hope for lasting success, is to care for individuals caught up in the pounding storm."

• Columnist Philip Yancey (November 2005) worries about "how tempting it can be—and how distracting from our primary mission—to devote so many efforts to rehabilitating society at large, especially when these efforts demonize the opposition. (After all, neither Jesus nor Paul showed much concern about cleaning up the degenerate Roman Empire.)"

• In July, Yancey warns of a "harsh fundamentalism" spreading not among Muslims, but among politically minded Christians.

Guthrie says, "Certainly these writers are making a perennially important point that evangelism and social ministry must never take a back seat to political activism. But we must also beware of going to the opposite extreme of a privatized faith. Christians are to be salt and light in all spheres of human life—even at the risk of occasionally offending our neighbors." (emphasis, mine)

Guthrie gives us this quotable (that we all ought to memorize): "Carl Henry, the first editor of Christianity Today, said as much almost six decades ago in his classic book, The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism. 'The battle against evil in all its forms must be pressed unsparingly,' Henry said. '[W]e must pursue the enemy in politics, in economics, in science, in ethics—everywhere, in every field, we must pursue relentlessly.'" (emphasis, mine)

Well, yes. Yes!

Guthrie concludes: "As we seek concrete ways to love our neighbors, Christians are right to fight sex trafficking, genocide, and aids. But doesn't Christ's love also compel us to speak compassionately against the new eugenics, gay marriage, and other attempts to redefine bedrock Judeo-Christian understandings of human nature and family life? We must fight evil in the public square—whether we are the political flavor of the month or not."



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