What would you say is the biggest setback American Christians have experienced in the “culture wars” over past year? I know what you’re thinking, but trust me, it’s not that. I’d like to suggest that the biggest setback is something we Christians have done to ourselves.
Look, I believe the U.S. Supreme Court decision to redefine marriage was a setback. But an even bigger one is that in our zeal to defend the standards of God’s Word we’ve positioned ourselves as “angry Bible readers” and pushed people even further from the Good News.
So what should we do? First, as Rod Dreher wrote in an essay for TIME, “We have to accept that we really are living in a culturally post-Christian nation. The fundamental norms Christians have long been able to depend on no longer exist.” But hang on. Didn’t the Apostle Peter say that centuries ago; we’re “aliens and strangers” in this world (1 Peter 2:11 NASB )? Then second, we have to recognize that being angry and combative about sexual issues hasn’t worked. It’s been “a communications disaster,” as David Brooks wrote in the New York Times.
So what should we do? What if instead of using all our energy and resources fighting the culture wars we focused our efforts on making a winsome case for the Bible? My instincts say positive engagement is “a more excellent way.”
For a long time I’ve been convinced the best strategy for bringing biblical values to society is for the church to become passionate about reading and living its own Book. Then Christians will have the spiritual credibility to offer an attractive alternative to the prevailing secular worldview, a worldview that I believe leaves people hungry for truth. Maybe that’s why the Apostle Paul said, “In every way…make the teaching about God our Savior attractive” (Titus 2:10 NIV). At least it’s worth a try. Amen?