POC Blog

The random technotheolosophical blogging of Reid S. Monaghan

On the Culture War | Resurgence

Mark Driscoll poses some good questions about the concept of Culture War over at Resurgence. His contention is that an older generation sees America as a Christian rooted nation and that there is a war for the soul of our country. He poses the following questions, which I want to swing the bat on...though only briefly as I have some work to do! Is Christianity at war for culture? I would answer this with a resounding no. Rather, Christianity is a war for the souls of women and men in cultures. Jesus' mission was to come to purchase men for God from every tribe, tongue, language and people (Revelation 5:9). You might go ahead and say "purchase men from every culture" though I prefer the language of the Bible. The fight is not for the soul of a culture, but rather to see souls redeemed who will then redeem and transform culture to the glory of God.
  • We struggle not against flesh and blood
  • We want to take every thought captive as Christians making it obedient to Christ
  • We want to live a kingdom culture as the church in and through various cultures
  • We reject that which is unholy (Phillipians 4) and embrace, participate and rejoice in culture that is not. We desire not to be polluted by the world, but we do not desire to avoid the world.
Is it beneficial for Christians to speak of themselves in military terms such as war when speaking of their engagement with lost people and their ideas? I don't think so, but we must be careful not to loose the fighting language of the Bible. Some of us just point the guns in the wrong direction. We are to fight to put to death our own sin by the power of the Spirit under the grace of God. We are to fight the good fight of faith. We are to man our posts in the church like a good soldier (2 Timothy 2). We are to struggle forward with all his energy that works in us. Paul said that many live as enemies of the Cross of Christ - what should our response be?
  • We should see that with tears and know that their end is in the hand of God - not our hands (Philippians 3:18)
  • We should not be frightened (Philippians 1:28)
  • We should feed, clothe, love our enemies and overcome evil with good (Romans 12:17-21)
  • We should preach the gospel because it is the power of God for salvation. (Romans 1:16) Culture is changed when people get changed
Does the concept of a culture war cause Christians to fight moral and political battles rather than gospel battles? Yes, at times this is true - too much energy is spent fighting causes and battles which do not go to the root of the issue. I am in no way pro-life, pro-gay marriage, pro-whatever crazy cause people push in the public sphere. But I also would prefer our energies spent in gospel issues. Now, I think the church should engage all these issues intellectually and in winsome dialogue with our neighbors, but I think we can couch these issues as "political fights" and this does not help us. Scholars and philophers write on marriage and abortion. But put not your trust in princes, but in the living God. Discuss these things in public, but not at the neglecting of Jesus and his gospel that transforms lives. This is a complex issue and question to answer - so I will not add any more trivial words than I just did. We can do better here - and there are others who will offer better advice than me. Does the greatest threat to Christianity come from forces outside the church, or from inside the church, through leaders who are more like Judas than Jesus? Both - the greatest threat is sin, pride, and arrogance of each of us. From within and from without. I am not in the "beat the hell out of the church" choir who sees the church and its leaders as the main problem for every ailment of believers. I am also not in the club that loves to beat on the non Christian as the source of all evil as well. As I see it, God is sovereign and uses all our junk in the end for his purposes. I also believe that the church and the world have sinners abounding in their midst, so there is plenty of crap we all bring. Let me pose some different questions.
  • Do Judas like Leaders hurt the cause of the gospel - Oh, Yes
  • Do lying professors who distort and suppress the truth in unrighteousness hurt the cause of the gospel - Oh, Yes
  • But do any of these thwart the hand of a Sovereign God in his purposes for the church? In the end, no. But woe to those through which these things come. O God may it not be me...dang it, it probably is me. Thankful for Jesus.
Do Christians have the right to continually claim the moral high ground when they are statistically no more moral than the average pagan?" No, Ron Sider's book (though I don't agree with Sider on many fronts) The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience is a good stick for this problem. His findings that biblical doctrine is a difference maker should be a wake up call for all the seeker, doctrine isn't cool, ultra hip, too cool for Jesus, the atonement, and the justice of God crowd. Driscoll, you are leading well in these areas - and you have a big set with some proper boldness...Watch you life and doctrine brother, persevere in them in doing so you will save yourself and your hearers, and readers, and bloggers. Fight the good fight, finish the race ...