The Gospel and a Christophobic public culture

This is an insightful line from George Weigel’s column today in The Wall Street Journal:

Only a robust, unapologetic proclamation of the Gospel can meet the challenge of a Christophobic public culture that increasingly regards biblical morality as irrational bigotry.

If we could stipulate a biblical definition for “Gospel,” this line would be absolutely perfect. Read the rest here.

57 Responses to The Gospel and a Christophobic public culture

  1. buddyglass February 14, 2013 at 9:33 am #

    Agree about the quote, but the lessons I take from it are probably very different from yours. Two ways the church fails to meet the challenge of culture are 1) persuading people to ascribe to Biblical morality and 2) mandating said morality using the apparatus of the State.

    I haven’t “met the challenge of the culture” if I persuade enough folks as to the sinfulness of homosexuality that gays are once again ostracized from society and driven underground.

    I haven’t “met the challenge of the culture” if I score a legislative victory and prevent the State from granting the secular rights and obligations of marriage to same-sex couples.

    I have “met the challenge of the culture” when I am a faithful witness to the Gospel and allow God to work through me to draw the lost to himself despite all their cultural baggage.

    • J O E B L A C K M O N February 14, 2013 at 6:21 pm #

      prevent the State from granting the secular rights and obligations of marriage to same-sex couples.

      You’re welcome to believe that it’s acceptible for gay people to be given a “right” to marry. God disagrees and the Bible is perfectly clear on that. All Christians recognize that fact.

      • buddyglass February 14, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

        It’s perfectly clear (to me) from the Bible that God views homosexual acts as sinful.

        It’s not at all clear to me that the Bible enjoins believers who are minority in a largely non-believing democratic state to oppose the granting of marriage rights to same-sex couples.

        The former does not necessarily imply the latter.

        • J O E B L A C K M O N February 14, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

          The Bible enjoins all Christians to take the same positions that God takes on issues. God is anti gay “rights”. Therefore, so are Christians.

          You’re welcome

          • buddyglass February 15, 2013 at 10:23 am #

            God is anti-blasphemy, but does not enjoin believers to advocate for blasphemy to be criminalized. God is anti idol worship, but does not enjoin believers to prohibit the practice of false religions. God is anti fornication, but does not call believers to push for it to be punished by the state. Etc. etc.

            It just doesn’t follow that because God has declared homosexual behavior sinful believers are consequently called to push it from the public square and thwart its practice by any means necessary.

      • Roy Fuller February 16, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

        “All Christians recognize that fact” a claim which, “in fact” is not true. You may claim this, and you certainly may believe that a person who disagrees with your interpretation is not a Christian. But you should know there are plenty of Christians who do disagree. We may be wrong, we may be misinterpreting the Bible, etc., etc., but we are Christians.

  2. Ryan Abernathy February 14, 2013 at 10:10 am #

    Very much agree with Buddy. So many pastors and church leaders are focusing on the wrong things. We cannot legislate or moralize people into being followers of Christ.

    I don’t even agree with the premise of Christophobia. Our culture is not Christophobic they are Christoignorant. And that ignorance starts at the Church. We have people in our own congregations who think following Jesus means voting a certain way rather than living a certain way. We have people who think that God is affirming their consumerist version of religion. When we begin to see believers willing to sacrifice and serve rather than consume and demand then we might gain a hearing for the Gospel. Until then, we will remain sidelined because of our inability to put the teachings of Jesus into meaningful practice in the public square.

    • J O E B L A C K M O N February 14, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

      We have people in our own congregations who think following Jesus means voting a certain way

      Please, provide even one biblical justification to ever vote for a pro-abortion candidate. Just one will do.

      (crickets)

      Yeah, that’s kinda what I thought.

      • buddyglass February 14, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

        If I thought the pro-choice candidate likely to do less harm than his opponent then I might vote for him on the basis of loving one’s neighbor. I could regard the pro-choice candidate likely to do less harm if I saw both candidates as equally likely (or, rather, unlikely) to make significant headway toward ending abortion.

        • J O E B L A C K M O N February 14, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

          By definition, a pro choice candidate will never make headway at making abortion illegal. So what you’re really saying is you’re all for loving your neighbor…as long as your neighbor doesn’t hap o enough to still be in the womb in which case it’s ok to slice them up into little bitty pieces so that they’re easier to take out of their mothers womb.

          • buddyglass February 14, 2013 at 11:20 pm #

            No, I’m really not saying that at all. Let me be absolutely clear: it is not ok to abort babies.

            All else being equal I would always choose a pro-life candidate over the alternative. Rarely is “all else” equal.

            • Akash CHarles February 16, 2013 at 1:49 am #

              so you will still choose to support the slicing up of babies?

              • buddyglass February 16, 2013 at 10:58 am #

                No.

                • J O E B L A C K M O N February 17, 2013 at 12:08 am #

                  If you vote proabortion, you most certainly do support that.

                  • buddyglass February 17, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

                    You most likely vote with for candidates who support a person’s right to blaspheme. Do you support blasphemy?

                    • Elizabeth Anscombe February 17, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

                      There’s a big difference between the right to free speech and the “right” to take an innocent life. Big, big difference.

                    • buddyglass February 17, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

                      “There’s a big difference between the right to free speech and the “right” to take an innocent life. Big, big difference.”

                      Absolutely.

                      But why does that difference mean that “voting for a pro-right-to-abort candidate” necessarily implies “support for abortion” (which is what Joe Blackmon has suggested) while “voting for a pro-right-to-blaspheme candidate” does *not* necessarily imply “support for blasphemy”?

                    • Elizabeth Anscombe February 18, 2013 at 9:15 am #

                      Maybe he meant “support” in the sense that pro-abortion candidates are actively pushing for and funding this stuff, and you’re helping them to get into the place where they’ll be maximally efficient at doing that.

                  • J O E B L A C K M O N February 18, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

                    Budyy,

                    If your conscience allows you to vote for people who have made it their stated goal to make sure that babies can be killed that is a “you” problem. Your red herring about blasphemy is not only moronic but is also certainly not limited to your political enemies, the Republicans.

                    I’ve made the insult somewhat veiled thus for, but for you, I’m going to make it explicit. If you vote for a Democrat, you are not a Chrisiian–and you certainly wouldn’t admit to doing so in my church.

                    • Elizabeth Anscombe February 18, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

                      JOE, an interesting statement that I can definitely sympathize with, and yet… I do seriously believe that there are earnest Christians out there who’ve just drunk the kool-aid and been terribly mis-led. Of course, many liberal Christians also have a mangled theology, so they may in fact not be Christians. But I can imagine someone who does “get” the gospel and believes it sincerely, but is just to put it mildly NOT a thinker and takes all the wrong people’s word for things.

                    • J O E B L A C K M O N February 19, 2013 at 8:37 am #

                      ERlizaebeth

                      I know…I mean, I seriously do know that who you vote for is not salvific. My temper gets the better of me when I talk to people who support those that slaughter babies.

                    • buddyglass February 19, 2013 at 10:01 am #

                      My mentioning blasphemy was not a red herring. Its point was to highlight the fact that voting for a candidate who supports the legality of a practice does not necessarily imply support for that practice.

                      I will agree that in some cases, however, it does. For instance, if one considered every issue but abortion to be meaningless by comparison and if one thought voting for the pro-life candidate were reasonably likely to make a difference. If I thought both of those things then I would most likely vote for the pro-life candidate every time.

                      If I were attending your church I would not lie about my voting record. Though, in the cause of keeping the peace, I probably would not volunteer the information unless asked.

                    • Elizabeth Anscombe February 19, 2013 at 11:02 am #

                      Mine too Joe, mine too.

                    • J O E B L A C K M O N February 19, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

                      Buddy

                      You wouldn’t like my church. They actually preach the gospel from the inerrant Bible–the one Jesus and Paul preached.

                    • buddyglass February 20, 2013 at 1:18 am #

                      “They actually preach the gospel from the inerrant Bible–the one Jesus and Paul preached.”

                      As they do at mine, the majority of whose members most likely vote almost exclusively for Republicans.

                    • akash charles February 20, 2013 at 4:47 am #

                      yeah- all your comments give me reason to doubt that

                    • buddyglass February 20, 2013 at 11:00 am #

                      ” all your comments give me reason to doubt that”

                      Why? Is it so hard to believe that someone with my views might belong to a church that takes the orthodox view on homosexuality, teaches abortion is wrong and whose members are predominantly political conservatives?

                      I don’t (often) disagree with what gets preached from the pulpit. I do often disagree with the politics of many of my fellow church members.

                    • J O E B L A C K M O N February 20, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

                      Why? Is it so hard to believe that someone with my views might belong to a church that takes the orthodox view on homosexuality, teaches abortion is wrong and whose members are predominantly political conservatives?

                      Yes it’s impossible to believe. Someone who has political leanings like you do obviously doesn’t believe the gospel.

                    • Elizabeth Anscombe February 20, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

                      Definitely hard to believe, but I guess it’s better for your soul than if you went to a church better aligned with your political views. Here’s hoping you see the light someday.

                    • buddyglass February 20, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

                      Yes it’s impossible to believe. Someone who has political leanings like you do obviously doesn’t believe the gospel.

                      Reading is fundamental. The question I asked was: “Is it so hard to believe that someone with my views might belong to a church that…”

  3. Brett Cody February 14, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

    It is impossible for anyone to avoid legislating morality. The question is “whose morality do we legislate?” Any sexual activity outside biblical marriage is idolatry. Sexual sin ruins families, hurts the participants, turns children into objects and twists what God intended into a disordered form of self-worship. It is ridiculous for homosexuals to act like they have a right not to be offended by someone else’s beliefs. I will never support the legalization of homosexual ‘marriage.’ And because of my beliefs I will vote for legislation that represents those beliefs. That is not bigotry, it is simply defense of the truth.

    • James Stanton February 14, 2013 at 11:25 pm #

      I agree that it is defense of the truth. However, I think homosexuals have every right to feel persecuted and offended. They have every right to use every legislative, judicial, social, and cultural means to resist social conservatives’ efforts to subdue them. Because that is what we are trying to do.

      • Elizabeth Anscombe February 15, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

        Does that mean you would defend a recent court decision which gave a child three “parents” — two lesbian partners and a sperm donor who tried to claim paternity rights? That you would condone their use of this child as no more than a prop in their little social experiment? That you would view this is a “right” and applaud their efforts to ruin this child’s life for their own selfish gain? Please Mr. Stanton, the truth.

        • James Stanton February 15, 2013 at 6:28 pm #

          No, it does not mean that. Your assertions here are, quite frankly, in bad faith. That I applaud efforts that obviously offends your, and mine for that matter, conscience?

          Whether you approve of the agenda of homosexuals or not you cannot deny that they believe in their causes and furthering it is as important to them as denying them any rights is important to you. Thus it is only logical for them to use any means to achieve their desired result. Acknowledging this reality does not indicate approval of their agenda. Please read carefully.

          • Elizabeth Anscombe February 15, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

            Generally, when we say that a certain group “has every right to feel persecuted and offended,” and that it is their “right” to deliberately ruin innocent people’s lives in the course of trying to get what they want (which is essentially what “using whatever means necessary” to carve out their preferred space in society MEANS in this case)… then yeah, that’s taken as a sign that you have a measure of sympathy or approval for them.

  4. Akash CHarles February 14, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

    actually so does anyone who these social conservatives would class as doing wrong!- they all have a right to change the law

  5. Mike Gantt February 15, 2013 at 10:12 am #

    I think this is the first time I’ve heard our culture described as “Christophobic.” It’s apt.

  6. Matt Martin February 15, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    I don’t think public culture is Christophobic. My non-christian friends have all said before they respect the person of Jesus Christ, they just don’t buy into his claims.

    What they really “fear” is evangelicals who seem to think it’s necessary to switch out freedom for laws to protect their standard of morals.

    • Mike Gantt February 15, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

      Matt,

      Laws don’t enforce a society’s morality, they reflect it. Thus, with the deterioration of morality in this generation, there has been a dismantling of laws enacted in a time of stronger morality.

      Your friends who “respect” Christ but “don’t buy into his claims” are talking out of both sides of their mouths. What kind of respect is that?

      Evangelical Christians can indeed be hypocritical at times. Nonetheless, they represent people who “buy into Christ’s claims” and for that reason they bear the enmity that your friends feel toward God.

      • James Stanton February 15, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

        Mike,

        To be fair, I don’t think there were ever any laws against gay marriage at least on the federal level until DOMA passed in 1996. The first state ban was in 1973. I can’t say that these laws were enacted in a time of stronger morality when they were passed to deal with an emerging issue. Those laws reflected society’s immorality.

        Society’s morality would be reflected in the absence of a need for such laws.

        Now if the founding fathers had codified such laws we could say that definitively.

        • Mike Gantt February 16, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

          James,

          I am 61. In my lifetime I have personally witnessed:the sea change from homosexuality being considered sin to homosexuality being considered normal and “homophobia” being considered a sin. Concurrent with this change has been the semantic transformation of homosexual or sodomite to “gay.” Of course, “homophobia” and “gay” are Orwellian terms to help make the unpalatable palatable (what Israel’s prophets would have said was “calling good evil and evil good”). For a generation ago, the idea of society encouraging homosexual activity by offering social approbation and financial benefits for those making such activities permanent was so absurd that no one ever thought a law would be needed to prohibit it.

          Our country is in desperate moral condition, and it is worsening at an increasing rate. My generation (the baby boomers) has been foremost in the embrace of immorality, all in the name of freedom (another euphemism – this one for licentiousness). We need widespread repentance if we are to spare our children and grandchildren the awful consequences of our choices. I currently see no sign on the horizon that this is forthcoming and therefore grieve all the more deeply about it.

      • Elizabeth Anscombe February 16, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

        Spot on Mike.

  7. Mike De Vos February 15, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

    The fact of the matter is, does Christianity has a say in dictating public policy? if so, how does one avoids advocating highly for some issues while regarding others irrelevant? Last time i check gays, atheist, non christians, christians or whatever, they were still US citizens and all deserve to be treated as first class citizens under the constitution., so why should we and if we advocate separation of church and state elevate Biblical morality as a law to everybody?? I cant help myself but think about how daniel lived under the Babylonian empire, or Jesus for that matter under roman empire.

  8. Robert I Masters February 16, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    Mike De Vos

    Because Jesus commanded us too in Gen 1:28!

    BTW-The phrase Separation of Church and State is nowhere in the Bible.

    One Kingdom. One God

    Our God reigns!

    • Roy Fuller February 16, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

      No, but the concept of separation is established law, even as the interpretation and application of the principle has changed over time. We are a nation of law, with a Constitution, and are not governed by the Bible, even as some of the values which are found in Scripture did inform those who wrote the Constitution, and even as Christians are informed in their faith and moral behavior by Scripture. Mike makes a good point.

      • Elizabeth Anscombe February 17, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

        Are you referring merely to the statement that congress shall make no law establishing a state religion? Keep in mind that the founders were breaking huge ground simply by suggesting that the government shouldn’t force people to attend church. I quite seriously doubt that they would be all for the kind of society-destroying principles driving legislation today.

  9. Robert I Masters February 16, 2013 at 8:41 pm #

    Roy Fuller,

    Well when mans law and Gods law conflict ..who is your King?

    I am governed by the Bible in all spheres of Life.

    Pietism is killing the Church.

    • buddyglass February 17, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

      Out of curiosity, how do you determine when God’s laws and man’s laws conflict?

      If man’s laws establishes a right to something that’s sinful, is that a conflict?

      If man’s laws establishes no right but does fail to punish something that’s sinful, is that a conflict?

      If man’s laws punish activity that has the potential to not be sinful, is that a conflict?

  10. Elizabeth Anscombe February 17, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    I’m afraid buddyglass has been woefully misinterpreted by JOE BLACKMON and co. Allow me to offer a defense. [clears throat]

    Buddyglass obviously doesn’t support abortion even though he tends to vote for pro-abortion candidates in practice, so stop saying such a ridiculous thing. It’s just that he thinks this whole voting business is more complicated than y’all are making it out to be.

    For instance, he thinks Democrats are the ones who really care about the poor (which is a lie) that the environment is a weighty issue (also a lie, environmentalism is ultimately rooted in bad science, bad economics, faux religionism and hoax), and that it’s just as important to make sure that serial killers aren’t given their just reward as to make sure that innocent babies aren’t murdered, therefore he’s consistently pro-life (need I say more?)

    And putting all those together is enough for him to not feel guilty about voting for a candidate who DOES eagerly support the slicing up of babies. Because we wouldn’t want to make this too black and white.

    Hope that clears things up.

    • J O E B L A C K M O N February 19, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

      Ok, you owe me a new monitor after the Diet Dr. Pepper I just shot out my nose after reading that. STOP IT!!!!!! LOL

      • Elizabeth Anscombe February 19, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

        Sorry. :D

  11. Robert I Masters February 17, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

    buddyglass

    1,”Out of curiosity, how do you determine when God’s laws and man’s laws conflict?”

    Easy….When mans law tells you to do the opposite of what the Word of God commands.

    • Stephen Beck February 17, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

      Fair enough. Has the state mandated (yet) that a Christian pastor marry a homosexual couple or mandated that a Christian physician perform abortions? Not yet, although we have seen the state mandate a private company circuitously pay for its employees’ access to abortifacent medication, and Hobby Lobby has rightly resisted. For non-Christians, it is difficult to make the case that Christians must mandate for them to follow God’s law.

    • buddyglass February 18, 2013 at 2:29 am #

      That doesn’t seem like a complete definition. It’s limited to situations in which the believer is compelled by law to do something he oughtn’t or those in which he is prohibited by law from doing something he ought.

      It doesn’t seem to cover situations in which the law fails to protect the interests of some portion of the population. (e.g. abortion)

      I’d be interested to know how, starting from this definition, you arrive at the conclusion that believers should vigorously oppose state recognition of same-sex unions.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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