Encouragement and Caution for Culture Warriors

Jun 10, 2022 by

by Trevin Wax, TGC:

What should Christian public engagement look like as we move forward in this era? So far in this series, I’ve laid out some of the challenges facing traditional Christianity, and why it’s no surprise that some on the right claim a more combative posture is necessary for pushing back against harmful ideologies and practices in society.

Some Christians seem to believe that confrontational or combative approaches to public theology are inherently sub-Christian. This is not the case. Christianity has a long history of people willing to speak truth to power, to call into question the reigning ideologies of the day in the name of Christ the King.

Too often, the negative label of “culture-warring Christians” gets applied solely to Christians who oppose ideologies common on the left. When left-leaning Christians call out politicians or pastors who support sinful beliefs or behaviors common to the right, they get described as “prophetic” and “courageous.” This is unfair. Culture warring requires two sides, and one can be a left-wing culture warrior just as easily as a right-wing one.

But, speaking of being “prophetic,” sometimes, we think courage and boldness consist in bloviating bluster, “destroying” the opposition, “owning the libs,” or mocking the “nutcases” we find on the other side of the aisle. No. It takes little courage to be bold in opposing those whom your closest friends, family members, or online followers would expect you to oppose. What takes courage is to police your own side, to call out the problems not only in “the culture” but in your particular subculture, to buck the consensus of your own tribe and go against the people whose favor you usually enjoy. Compromise always involves capitulation, but capitulation can happen in more than one direction.

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