The Gospel in the Public Square
The wrong side of history. It’s the refrain we hear over and over, from political pundits and news media. Evangelical Christianity, and any who share its sexual ethic in particular, are on the “wrong side of history.” The culture has changed. Historic, orthodox Christianity is not only outdated, but wrongheaded and destined to failure. Progressives now claim the moral high ground on everything from sexuality to assisted suicide to abortion—some of which was unthinkable just a decade or two ago. And they have the most powerful social institutions to back them. If Christianity is to have any place in this brave new world, we’re told, it had better get with the program.
Much of this has come as a shock to conservative Christians. For most of our country’s history, it was culturally and socially advantageous to identify with Christianity, even in the absence of genuine faith. For instance, one wouldn’t dare run for political office without first associating with some sort of church.
The opposite is now true today. Exercising the Christian faith in the public square is no longer an asset, but a liability. Religious liberties that once protected that free exercise are now under attack and slowly eroding away. To identify with historic, orthodox Christianity in public is to risk being labeled or marginalized as fundamentalist, bigoted, narrow-minded—on the wrong side of history.
So what do we do with this so-called cultural sea-change? Do we retreat from the public sphere, wringing our hands in self-pitying anxiety? Do we wave our fists in anger, standing in smug condemnation over a hell-bound culture? Do we reevaluate our reading of Scripture and revise the historic tenets of our faith in effort to become more palatable to the next generation?
How do we engage the culture in a meaningful way without compromising the gospel? How do hold together both the truth of God in all his holiness, and the grace of God in all his love, as we interact with friends, family, and colleagues over potentially divisive topics?
These are the questions we’ll be asking as we move into the next section of our Sunday morning series, The Gospel for All of Life—what we’re calling “The Gospel in the Public Square.” Our goal is to examine some of the cultural questions that often dominate our daily interactions (whether in person or via social or main stream media), and ask how the gospel of Jesus ought to shape our understanding and engagement.
- Sept. 27: Strangers and Aliens: Gospel Faithfulness in a Changing World (1 Peter 2:9-12)
- Oct. 4: The Gospel and Hollywood (Genesis 11:1-9)
- Oct. 11: The Gospel and Politics (1 Peter 2:13-17)
- Nov. 1: The Gospel and Social Justice (Luke 10:25-42)
- Nov. 8: The Gospel and Abortion (James 4:1-10)
- Nov. 15: The Gospel and Homosexuality (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
We hope you can join us for this timely focus.