Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Should We End the Culture Wars

We frequently hear the cry from certain quarters of Evangelicalism that we should end the Culture Wars. Is this a good idea? Is it even possible? It is my perception that there are forces in our society that are opposed to historic Christianity and historic Christian morals. They are at least opposed to them having any real influence in society. If we totally capitulate to these forces, what we will be left with is nothing or something so marginal that it would not make any difference. However, I am convinced we could do a much better job of picking our battles.

The first thing I think we need to recognize is we are no longer in any serious sense a nominally Christian nation. We need to let go of the past and recognize we are Christians in a Non-Christian society, and we need to rebuild from there. This means we need to get rid of the idea that we are entitled to respect and stop  reacting with anger when we do not get it. It means we need to stop fighting over petty things and symbolic issues whose main purpose seems to be to try to show we are in control of the culture. We need to choose those things that are clear injustices, and we need to be involved in the long process of convincing people of our position. We must to do this with the love and gentleness that Scripture requires (Matthew 22:36-40; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; 1 Peter 3:15). And we need to realize that there will never be a time when the world will truly reflect genuine Christianity (1 John 2:15-17; Romans 12:1,2; James 4:4). Part of the problem here is we are trying to go back to where we can live comfortably in the culture, and I am not convinced this is a good thing.

We need to be careful of confusing any political agenda with the truth of God. As C. S. Lewis points out, there are two aspects to politics: what is moral and what is practical. One can derive the first from Christian principles, but the second we must discover for ourselves. Also, even on a moral level I am not convinced  either common political philosophy perfectly reflects Christian principles. I believe conservative politics takes too little account of the Biblical commands to be concerned about the poor and those in need (Proverbs 14:21; 1 John 3:17; Deuteronomy 15:11). But I do not believe the liberal political solution that denies the work ethic is the right one either (2 Thessalonians 3:10; Proverbs 6:6-11; Genesis 2:15). It can be difficult to know how to balance things out, but I am not convinced either side has the right solution. Therefore, we need in all areas to be careful of taking things about which Christianity does not explicitly speak and identifying them with Christian morality. 

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