It's a perennial question: What is the church's role in culture? Put another way, how does the church equip members to carry out their callings in the world?
The questions persist because myriad problems in our day demand urgent attention. And yet we know that the wrong approach has often led the church astray, sometimes accommodating social sins and sometimes baptizing the world's agenda. So we posted these questions to three church leaders—Matt Chandler, Michael Horton, and Tim Keller—who have thought through their responses and implemented them on a local level.
Horton reiterates his recent writing on the difference between the church as an institution that acts on its calling to fulfill the Great Commission and the church as an organism. Chandler follows up on the Great Commission's call to make disciples and wants that mandate to include the church helping Christians live as a faithful presence in the world and not merely imparting knowledge to them.
Watch to see how Keller explains that the church itself doesn't transform culture even while he works as a pastor to equip people to do that very thing. But he admits that when he's asked to sign statements on subjects such as climate change that it's impossible to explain that his personal views do not necessary reflect the church's official position.
Collin Hansen serves as editorial director for The Gospel Coalition. Formerly an associate editor for Christianity Today magazine, he is the author of Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey With the New Calvinists and co-author with John Woodbridge of A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories That Stretch and Stir. He earned an MDiv at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and an undergraduate degree in journalism and history from Northwestern University. He and his wife belong to Redeemer Community Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and he serves on the advisory board of Beeson Divinity School. You can follow him on Twitter.