I know, I know—you really don’t like the term “culture war.” The mission of the church is not to “reclaim” America. The growth of the church does not rely on political victories or societal approval. And we don’t want the people we are trying to reach to think we are at war with them. I understand the phrase sounds more aggressive, confrontational, and militaristic than we like.

But call it what you want—a culture war, a battle of ideas, an ideological struggle—there is no question we have deep division in America. The most obvious division right now concerns homosexuality. When Dan Cathy’s off-handed, rather ordinary comment in of support traditional marriage sends big city mayors out on their moral high horses wielding the coercive club of political power—and when the subsequent response from middle America is a record-breaking avalanche of support for Chick-fil-A—you know there is more than a skirmish afoot. I know every generation thinks they are facing unprecedented problems, but it really does feel like free speech, religious freedom, and the institution of marriage are up for grabs in our day.

Given this reality, how should Christians respond?

Let me suggest three R’s.

1. No Retreat. In the face of controversy and opposition, it’s always tempting to withdraw into friendlier confines. But working for the public good is part of loving our neighbors as ourselves. The pietistic impulse to simply focus on winning hearts and minds does not sufficiently appreciate the role of institutions and the importance of giving voice to truth in the public square. Conversely, the progressive impulse to stay quiet for fear that we’ll invalidate our witness is a misguided strategy to win over the world by letting them win. Either that or a disingenuous attempt to hide the fact they’ve already sold the ethical farm.

2. No Reversal. No matter the pressure, we must never deviate from the word of God to please the powers of the world (Rom. 12:1-2). This principle does not automatically determine the course of action in every sphere, for politics must sometimes be the art of compromise. But as far as our doctrinal commitments, our pulpit preaching, and our public values, we mustn’t give a single inch if that inch takes us away from the truth of Scripture (John 10:35). He who marries the spirit of the age becomes a widower in the next. The church is not built on theological novelty, and souls are not won by sophisticated ambiguity. Whoever is ashamed of Christ and his words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man also will be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels (Mark 8:38).

3. No Reviling. If this is a battle, then the followers of Christ must be a different kind of army. Even when our passions run high, our compassion must run deep. There is no place for triumphalism, cynicism, and settling scores. We must be happy, hopeful warriors.  When reviled, we must not revile or threaten in return, but entrust ourselves to him who judges justly (1 Peter 2:23). We must not be surprised by suffering (1 Peter 4:12). We must not hate when we are hated (Matt. 5:43-44). And when we rest peacefully at night may it not be because all men think well of us or because the culture reflects our values, but because our conscience is clear (1 Peter 3:16). In the fight against powers and principalities we must never go away, never give in, and never give up on love.

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Comments:


80 thoughts on “The Three R’s of Christian Engagement in the Culture War”

  1. Mark says:

    @Paul,

    Just some thoughts.

    Regarding Israel’s civil law, God established Israel as a theocracy at Mt. Sinai. The USA is not the new Israel and men cannot establish a theocracy. The vision of Christ that believers are involved with is the Kingdom of God which is was inaugurated by Christ and will be consummated at his second comings in the new heavens and new earth. Christians are already citizens of that new kingdom even though they are “in the world.” That is the true theocracy.

    I think “just” make disciples is your wording. Believers have a responsibility to uphold justice. Christians have a right to their opinions and to voice them in the public forum. Personnally, I doubt the gov’t giving practicing gays the same legal, taxation, financial benefits as heterosexuals is a matter of justice either way. I think the gov’t has the responsibility to protect the health and well-being of all it’s citizens, gays included. I do not believe the US gov’t should be stoning gays or adulterers (a la OT Israel). Mr. Chick-f-lay has a right to his opinion. Gays have a right to theirs. No matter who “wins” God’s kingdom will come and his will will be done; I’d prefer sooner than later.

    Societies the world over address moral issues apart from the Bible. Non-western cultures have laws about murder, theft, etc. These are common grace matters. People though fallen are created in God’s image. Additionally, Christ has been given all authority in heaven and on earth. He restrains evil in this present age for the good of his people and the progress of his kingdom. Sure Christians can be involved in the political conversations in this country. However, I see the function of the Christians in this world as one of rescue and not of transforming the culture. The gospel transformation of lives has a better chance of transforming the culture than does transformational agendas and cultural transformation of the USA is not, in my understanding, a biblical objective.

  2. Lois W says:

    Thank you, Mark! I am so glad for your comments here; they are refreshing because they are Biblical. I was confused by Kevin’s #1, having read and liked his book! (I think maybe a writer known for his clarity, nodded.) Christians speaking up, writing op-eds, having a voice in the public square, as God has gifted and called us are actions I think we all agree on. God calls some into government roles, as He did Wilberforce. That is different than the “cultural transformation” movement we hear preached today. That false gospel makes the righting of social injustices and oppressions a primary goal. The Good News of how a sinner can be reconciled to God and escape eternal judgment is an “of-course” tag-along; it is frequently described as “not enough”! I don’t have Kevin (and Greg Gilbert’s) book handy, but as I recall, Kevin said that when we make social causes an end in themselves, we have departed from the Biblical mission of the Church, which is to proclaim the Gospel in the Power of the Spirit, so that there are new disciples, new citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. Have you changed, Kevin? That is what the your third sentence seemed to say. Clarification would, I think, be appreciated here.

  3. Adam O says:

    “Conversely, the progressive impulse to stay quiet for fear that we’ll invalidate our witness is a misguided strategy to win over the world by letting them win.” That sounds good to my human ears, but winning by letting others “win” also sounds pretty cruciform. We might be missing something here. Or maybe not, but I think our engagement with anything called a “war” ought to be given careful consideration before undertaking it in the name of Jesus. Might there be a more effective way of drawing folks to Jesus? Is it kindness or confrontation that leads to repentance? I’m not saying this means we make no efforts to advocate for cultural/societal flourishing in line with God’s true and revealed will, but at least in 1 Cor. Paul advocates a method that strategically tries to avoid offense in order to bring people to the salvation of Jesus. Yet I have heard several people of late advocating that we should be offending people in the name of the Gospel, does that strike anyone else as odd? I realize that the inevitable result of the Gospel is offense (we are saying after all that Jesus makes a claim on everything and everyone), but that does not mean that we cannot strive to proceed in ways that reduce or avoid possible stumbling blocks for people. All that to say, sometimes staying quiet or avoiding the political fray is a wise decision (one my wife says I need to learn, btw) in line with our call to make disciples.

  4. Dana Peifer says:

    This is a time when we, as the church, need strong shepherding, and you so often provide it. God is glorified through you. Thank you for your leadership.

  5. Peter TeWinkle says:

    The church is an institution, a nation really. As a collective body we have a greater voice than just individual disciples would (which sadly gets distorted with all of the arguing). And, as an institution we have certain beliefs and behaviors that make up our culture. Those beliefs and behaviors, we pray, are different than we find in the world.

    I don’t mind the idea of culture war as long as we don’t think in human terms (I. Cor. 10:3-5). We should think of our role in the world less as prophets (because they are sent by God to God’s people) and more as ambassadors (because they are sent from one nation to another to represent their interests). Jesus sent his disciples to “teach the nations…to obey everything that I have commanded you.”

    That’s why Kevin’s points are helpful. We are called to go, but not like most people would go, with weapons of the flesh. We are called to go with the whole armor of God and make every thought captive to obey Christ (now, if we could only agree on what that means).

    P.S. Why is it the PROGRESSIVE impulse to stay quiet? It seems like the more conservative voices in the comments are the ones who “just want to make disciples.” I hang out with a lot of progressives who are bold in their proclamation.

  6. mel says:

    If it feels like a sin for/to me then isn’t it still a sin? I can’t seem to make myself do something that everyone else says is okay but still feels really wrong. Does that mean I’m immature?

  7. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

  8. Mark says:

    @Mel. There are things in scripture that are clearly sin. However, on the other end there are things that are indifferent and on which Christians may rightly disagree. Having a personal conviction regarding something that is indifferent is not necessarily immature. On the contrary it could be a sign of maturity. For example, not having a beer in order not to offend others even though your conviction is that having a beer is okay coult be the mature thing to do.

  9. J. Thomas’ comments are absolutely brilliant.
    Many thanks.

  10. From a post I wrote last week called “In the Red: The Morning after Chick Fil A Day”.

    Today I’m giving the best perspective I can offer on my feelings… the morning after Chick-Fil-A day. This is taken from a comment I made in reply to some very well spoken questions I received on Facebook from a Christian sister who has a heart of gold. I very much appreciate the conversation this recent uprising has spawned among my friends and me, so I wanted to share a bit of it more publicly. Her original thoughts are posted as a comment on this post.

    —–

    I think you are addressing some very legitimate concerns for Christian Americans. As it happens, I’m answering you from the airport because I’m on my way to DC for a four day prayer conference for our nation. I’ve been doing this and thinking about these issues for 12 years, with a very open mind, and I completely agree with you on many of the things you say. I absolutely affirm that Christians should be involved in the affairs of our nation. I think every thinking person of other beliefs would say the same. My questions and comments about the CFA saga have not been intended to infer otherwise.
    I have simply been asking if, at every opportunity, we should always speak up, especially in situations where people already have a good idea where we stand on a topic.

    I’m simply saying I think we need to be more careful and really think about whether speaking up is going to produce fruit. I think it gets easy for us to feel attacked, or to engage culture wars with a rally cry that doesn’t really do anything to change the state of our nation. I think if this had been a situation of actual persecution, Dan Cathy should have spoken up.
    I still affirm his American right to do exactly as he did, even though it wasn’t persecution.

    I’ve just been trying to ask if we can stop and think, every time it’s easy to give the Sunday School answers, is there perhaps a better way to approach it, when you know you will be alienating a portion of society with your words. It was the Baptist Press who asked the question of Dan Cathy, and by virtue of the fact that they are the “press”, Cathy knew it would be published; it wasn’t an opportunity they were taking to make a difference. It was an opportunity they were taking to make a statement.
    And, in the wake of his perhaps simple statements, many Christians took it to a new level, making demeaning graphics, comments, and taking opportunity to blurt out what are TRULY offensive and hateful remarks, that absolutely do NOT help our cause.

    I’m asking, if we could just take a minute, as Christians, to consider the maturity level of some who would follow us, and evaluate whether THEY can handle they controversy we’re about to create? I have seen well known leaders in my stream of the Church post some things that are absolutely shocking and that they must be getting a real kick out of saying, but fly in the face of who Jesus was toward the lost. They’re acting like Old Testament prophets whose only method of dispensing truth was pre-grace.
    Jesus made remarks to Capernaum (New Testament city where Jesus called his disciples to him), that if Sodom & Gomorrah (Old Testament cities known for their gluttony as well as their homosexuality) had been given the same opportunities to see the love and miracles that Jesus showed Capernaum, then they would have repented.

    As it stands, the things I’ve been seeing on Facebook are nothing more than an expression of fear and carelessness and laziness toward the lost, and they clearly haven’t done the diligence of forming relationship outside their belief set in a long time. So if we continue acting like Old Testament prophets in the New Covenant era, we can expect modern day Sodom & Gomorrah not to repent.
    I think as Christians, we have to be really careful about too closely identifying our nation as a Christian nation.

    We were founded primarily by believers, and we were founded on principles of freedom that survive best when men rule their own hearts and keep them from darkness. But we were definitely not founded to be a nation of Christians only; we were founded with the right to worship as we wish. I know you know this, but it’s good to remember, our forefathers were running from the fact that the Anglican church had become too intertwined with their government, to the point that they were indistinguishable.
    When government becomes theocracy, ultimate power is in place because those who govern now have place to make into law their brand of morality, AND bear the sword, and oppression ensues.

    It’s a dangerous combination for any people, and many Christians probably think it would be wonderful, because really, how unsafe can Christianity be? And maybe their personal expression of Christianity would be great. But how does that play out over a few presidencies? After a while, when theocracy is corrupted by its absolute power and adopts doctrines contrary to scripture for the sake of the king’s convenience, then we’re all up a creek.
    The truth is, enforcing Christian morals on a nation (by way of law) would still not change hearts, and if hearts are not changed, we are still a goat nation, no matter what our law books and courthouses say.

    This nation may have at one time held innocence and been primarily a Christian nation. I wish it were so again, but I would only want it if people truly wanted God in their hearts. God does not want our “worship with our lips, if our hearts are far from him”. Our nation did not come to this place overnight, and it is going to take a good amount of digging in on relational levels to allow God to work through us to reposition the hearts of men.
    My point is, this is not a problem that gets solved from the top down.

    We who are Christians, should definitely put on our American citizen hats, and should engage the political realm. We should vote, we should defend our rights when they are truly being attacked, and we should defend the rights of non-believing groups when they are being attacked. We should ALWAYS work to decrease the influence and size of government. We should also put on our Christian citizen hats to engage the culture, but with those hats on, our brains should be on kingdom growth. Our citizenship is first in heaven, second in America.
    We should really think about the outcome before we engage the culture, each and every time. We should count the cost, and see if our return on investment from a harvest standpoint is going to leave us in the red or not.

    I know many friendships between atheists & gays and Christians were broken on Facebook, for the world to see this week. That breaks my heart far more than it pleases me to see people “standing in lines together”.
    I fear that we are deeper in the red as a result of this week. If we have produced lasting fruit, it’s likely been for the darkness.

    Because I’m friends with a lot of different kinds of people, I see this from a few more angles than what would just be comfortable for me as a Christian who would love it if we could all agree about issues like gay marriage. It’s so much easier to just bury our heads in our Bibles and stick with our Christian friends, but it’s not obedience.

    I think your thought that “some are called to this” and “some are called to that”, is accurate on some level, and I think both are necessary. I think we should put equal amounts of energy, as Christians, into both commissions that Christ left us with, which is discipling men and discipling nations.
    I don’t think you get to disciple a nation with much progress until you’ve done what’s needed to disciple men first.

    And I think since we have let that slip, for a number of generations, since the 60’s on a moral level and since the 30’s on an economic level, we gotta go back to the hearts of men and educate and love. But we all share some degree of both callings. The ones, like myself, who desire to deal in both realms should be seeking a rule of law where the government simply decreases. I think its reaches into American life are gruesome. I think its reach into the freedom for parents to educate their own children is tragic and completely offensive and wrong. I think those things should be fought, tooth and nail, as you do.
    It is my prayer as I board this plane that we can be effective in creating one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice… for ALL.

  11. Kenneth Holley says:

    I would concur. My normal Wednesday routine is stopping by CFA for carry-out anyway. It was just business as usual for me.

  12. John says:

    When someone shoots people outside a temple like what happened this weekend, it’s an attack on religion. When some refuses to eat a chicken sandwich, it’s called a balanced diet. I think you need some perspective.

  13. Mark says:

    I suspect that when Christians buy into the “culture wars” or cultural transformationalism they have to be somewhat conflicted over the murder of the Sihks in WI. Sihkism, any non-Christian view is on the wrong side of the culture war and it militates against Christian transformation. I’m waiting for some tv “evanelist” to say this was God’s judgement on Sihk paganism. I don’t think most Christians would say that, but … I expected there would be little moral outrage compared to the Chick-Fil-A incident. I think “culture wars” transformationalism promotes such a view. Maybe Christians should re-think some of their attitudes toward immagrants along the lines of an opportunity for missions. After all, you cannot preach Christ in Islamic countries but you can proclaim Christ to them in the USA.

  14. Philip Brooks says:

    Interesting article. I have a few concerns though. First, it’s a fallacy to say all of this is in response to Dan Cathy’s comments during an interview on gay marriage. Ask anyone who called for a boycott of Chick-fil-A and they will point to the financial support Cathy and his company have provided to the Family Research Council and similar groups for years. One could say that Cathy’s very public comments were the straw that broke the camel’s back, but it’s false to say this is the only reason people are upset. Many consider the Family Research Council to be a hate group. Here are some of the reasons why:
    Council President Tony Perkins once paid to obtain the mailing list of KKK leader David Duke in a Louisiana election campaign. He wanted to garrison the support of white supremacists for his candidate.
    Perkins has also spoken publicly at a meeting of the white supremacist group Council of Conservative Citizens.
    Perkins has also accused homosexuals of having a higher tendency toward pedophilia, despite evidence to the contrary and argued that homosexuals are a danger to children.
    Council Researcher Peter Sprigg has argued for the return of Sodomy Laws which punish homosexual behavior as a criminal act.
    Maybe none of this bothers you or changes your mind about going to Chick-fil-A, but surely you can see why Cathy’s support of this organization might anger LGBT persons and allies. Imagine if you and wife walked into a restaurant and the manager called your wife by an offensive name. To many LGBT persons Chick-fila-A might as well have done that.
    This statement was interesting:
    “The pietistic impulse to simply focus on winning hearts and minds does not sufficiently appreciate the role of institutions and the importance of giving voice to truth in the public square.”
    While there may be some truth to this, I can’t help but feel that you’re underestimating the role of importance of what you call the “pietistic impulse” and perhaps giving more weight that is merited to what I will call “morality campaigning”. This attention to religion within the political sphere of petition and campaign concerns me for several reasons:
    1. It lacks the strong Biblical witness that “winning hearts and minds” or as it has traditionally been called, conversion enjoys. Nowhere in the New Testament do we see Christians using the power of the state to enforce their way of life or unique values onto the society at large. Granted it could be argued that this because such methods were not possible for the early church being on the fringes of society, but it should be noted that Jesus could have at any time utilized political and institutional power to achieve his ends, but instead he chose to live in the fringes, and that is something we should not be quick to forget.
    2. It has a shady and somewhat unimpressive history. Though it is unfair to say morality campaigning always turns violent, it certainly has a history of it in form of inquisitions and heresy trials. Do I think this could happen in America? Not overnight, nor do I think any, but an insane few have such ambitions, but we should be wary of the temptation. Beyond that, however, this method tends to fail at producing genuine vital piety across the nation and among the unconverted and often its success is short-lived. This is essentially how prohibition happened and look where that led.
    3. It tends to settle for achieving success by the politician’s standards instead of God’s. If you outlawed abortion tomorrow does that mean it won’t happen anymore? No, because you have not treated the root of the issue, which is over half of country being pro-choice. Abortions have been happening for ages, just as there have always been homosexual persons. The only difference is all this happens out in the open now without repression by the state. So if all you do is pass a law making such things illegal, you’ve succeeded in the sense that you’ve made a statement and made things harder for certain people, but you have not converted them to your beliefs and have thus failed. You’re settling for symbols and image over real results. This is the easy way out.
    4. Most importantly, this method will always dehumanize those who you would otherwise be trying to convert. Conversion is replaced by repression. If you constantly badger someone to change their life, then you are at least respecting them as an individual and showing some kind of concern for them. If all you do is pass a law making it harder for them to live as they do, you’re treating them as a symptom to be purged or a blister to be hidden. The methods which the right are using cannot possibly lead to the full “conversion” of America, but simply the exaltation of conservative Christian standards and individuals at the expense of the rest who they expect to simply quietly return to the closet. This is not what the Kingdom looks like. Winning hearts and souls may be slow and tough, but it is the only way that leads to the Kingdom.
    One final point. Let’s be clear about this “massive support” middle America (what does that even mean anymore?) showed last week. They walked into a restaurant, bought a chicken sandwich, and proceeded to eat it, with some waiting of course to take a picture of themselves at the restaurant about to stuff their faces so they could post it on Twitter or Facebook. And for this we should honor their “Christian witness”?
    In other parts of the world Christians are actually “dying” for their faith and just this weekend six people were killed by a gunman in front of Sikh temple in Wisconsin while a mosque is burned down in Joplin, Missouri. When the temple president stood between the gunman and his temple members and was shot to death, he was fighting for his faith and for the religious liberty of all Americans. This is what heroic witness looks like, not what happened in Chick-fil-As all over the country. Maybe if Huckabee or just one of the organizers of this Day of Support had quietly suggested people buy their sandwich, leave the restaurant, and find a homeless person to give their sandwich to (if you live in a major city like me, it takes less than thirty seconds to find one) then it might have been a heroic display of Christian witness. No one even thought of that. Passage after passage of Jesus feeding the hunger and early Christians sharing meals, and somehow we didn’t think that would be a good witness. Instead I saw a lot of people out for their own self-gratification, who went on to Facebook or Tweet “What a good Christian am I!”
    Isn’t this the part where Luther comes in with his nail and hammer? This is what American Christianity has come to? We turn our indulgences into indulgences. We’ve managed to regress five hundred years. The only difference is that instead having our church hand us the slips of paper saying we’re absolved, we’re having a fast-food restaurant do it. Ain’t that America? Instead of going to holy shrines or kissing relics of saints, we’re making pilgrimages to the front counter or even better, the drive through, for the pilgrim in a hurry. Ain’t that America? And instead of a slip of paper, we get a fried meal and instead of being “…condemned eternally together with their teachers, who believe themselves sure of their salvation because they have letters of pardon” as Luther feared we get “our arteries clogged with the grease and fat from Hell’s kitchen.”
    Okay, that was a little cheesy, I admit. I think I’ve made my point though. Our consumerist habits combined with self-idolization through social media is having direct consequences on the quality of Christian practice in this country. We’ve become lazy, proud, materialistic, and exceedingly temporal. We expect points in heaven for forwarding email or liking a page. We can’t see the Kingdom pass the football goal posts and McDonald’s billboard. It’s time American Christians learned to grow up and quick playing martyr or culture wars in their backyard. There’s real wars happening and real martyrs dying and those involved in such events would smack us up side the face for our pretensions, that is if they could stop laughing for a moment…

  15. Mark says:

    @Philip. Your thoughts are interesting.

    This morning I happened to read the story of the woman caught in adultery. Adultery could be any sin or idolatry that people are caught in. I strikes me that the men who are about to stone the woman are good cultural warriors. Jesus as the true king of the true kingdom that transcends culture and is counter-cultural tells all men to “Go and sin no more.” The only way that happens is through the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit transferring sinners from this “present evil age” into the “age to come.”

  16. James M. says:

    Mark,
    The scribes and pharisees were protecting their turf, not challenging folks with pursuit of truth; while there may be some who fit the bill, that’s a pretty tacky comparison to the many who care much about the gospel and see engagement as a part of the call to make disciples. Again, you engage the culture, one way or another. We may not always agree on the ways that happens, but the pharisee comparison wears thin…

  17. Mark says:

    James,

    Thanks for your reply. We may not differ that much. I would not press my comparison. I was just musing, not expositing. However, I think many of my Christian friends don’t give much thought to their socio-political views, and while they feel they are defending truth, are in fact protecting their [American/religious right] turf. I believe there are more than “some” who fit the bill without giving it much thought and too easily buy into the culture.

  18. James M. says:

    Mark, yes, in reading your posts I believe there is wide agreement between us. My concern – and you may forgive my sensitivity here -is that I have seen many thoughtful and engaged believers lumped into categories like this – “right winger”, “fundie”, “pharisee”, “intolerant” etc. in pejorative manner that belies the love basis that ought define our dialogue as believers. And, I will drop a name here. While I may not always see eye to eye doctrinally or politically with James Dobson, the pounding he has taken from some evangelicals has just been wrong. So while I would never suggest that love for the bretheren is characterized by total agreement, the caricatures we can do without. And, hey, we are in process with our imperfections. Let’s go ahead and humbly point them out, but take care how we do so. I appreciate your response.

  19. James M. says:

    And so, here goes…I wonder – regarding the perspectives and public stances of many who confess Christ and assent to the veracity of scripture – why expression of moral judgment toward such things as dishonest corprate heads or slavery is near universal (and rightfully so), yet concerns raised about the implications of homosexuality in society elicit anything from mild rebuke for straying off message to accusations of graceless judgment. This has puzzled me for awhile now. I am with anyone who opposes trying to cobble together merely political solutions, or resorting to name calling, in order to “win” some sort of contest. But I find it odd that taking a public stance in support of what God has instituted brings disparagement. I’m pretty sure that no one here would support, for example, legislative action giving a cleptomaniac rights to another’s property, correct? Or the right of public officials to line their pockets at citizen expense. No, we can’t imagine it. So with respect to this one issue, what is the bottom line here?

    BTW, I am not posting the link, but Matt Anderson over at Mere Orthodoxy has some pretty good insights I think with regard to Chick-fil-a, friendship, and our approach to public disagreement on his site.

  20. There is much about this post that resonates with me, especially as I’ve lately considered the unfortunate situation with the American Church where we focus on “The Great Commission” or “The Gospel” without giving sufficient meaning to those endeavors. And one unfortunate side effect is to allow the “public square” to fall off our radars. We forget that God’s truth is relevant and a blessing to our institutions. We forget to “do good” in all arenas, reducing God’s magnificence to something that transforms an individual, but is not applicable to changing a nation or governing body. I know people will say, “If we get to enough individuals with the gospel, then the larger entities will change…” This tends to fail because we bring a gospel that is only focused the person and their personal life. We don’t bring a gospel that speaks to the broader aspects of life, including governments and nations.

    With this in mind, I do wonder about the statement that the mission of the Church is not to “reclaim” America. I realize we don’t want to fall prey to the sin of idolizing America or putting our hope in the power of any country. However, America had a unique and Godly heritage (see David Barton/Wallbuilder’s writings and work in this regard). To me, “reclaiming America” means restoring a more Biblical worldview and love throughout our aspects of our culture, then I believe the Church is very much in the business of doing this! :)

  21. John says:

    @James. The pounding Dobson has given other evangelicals that don’t share his loyalty to a strictly Republican platform is just wrong, as is the way he has intentionally misrepresenting psychological studies (which we calling lying) to try support his own ideas.

    @Dane we are already guilty of idolizing America and there is nothign particularly special about “Americans” in the eyes of God. We are no greater than the Romans were. Ask Augustine. We go into the Kingdom as citizens of the Kingdom, nothing else. And Barton’s a hack. No respected historian wants anything to do with him.

  22. James M. says:

    “…as is the way he (Dobson) has intentionally misrepresenting psychological studies (which we calling lying) to try support his own ideas.” You see, where do we go from here that’s helpful?

  23. @John – Would you be willing to chat on the phone? You made some interesting statements regarding my post and the post from James, and I’d be interested in hearing more where you’re coming from. You can email me at dane_slinkard@hotmail.com, and then we can arrange a phone call.

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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