In working on a list of good resources for thinking about government and the Christian’s involvement in it, I have been reviewing and in some cases, rereading, those resources.
I recently spent some time rereading Al Mohler’s Culture Shift, from 2008, and though it is likely to make the list of good resources, is worthy of its own entry.
Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, gives attention to the reasons why the Christian should continue to be involved with, and speak to, culture, despite its seemingly ineluctable shift away from the Christian worldview. Mohler also ably addresses the arguments against religious influence in the public square. Specific cultural issues are then discussed from the perspective of the Christian worldview. Mohler cautions the believer:
This is no time for America’s Christians to confuse the City of Man with the City of God. At the same time, we can never be counted faithful in the City of God if we neglect our duty in the City of Man.
Mohler points out the inability of a secular worldview to address matters of ultimate meaning, such as life, death, and sexuality as a significant reason for culture to permit, even seek, the viewpoint of the Christian. He also offers “ground rules” for discussion in the public square:
- A liberal democracy must allow all participants in the debate to speak and argue from whatever worldviews or convictions they possess.
- Citizens participating in public debate over law and public policy should declare the convictional basis for their arguments.
- A liberal democracy must accept limits on secular discourse even as it recognizes limits on religious discourse.
- A liberal democracy must acknowledge the commingling of religious and secular arguments, religious and secular motivations, and religious and secular outcomes.
- A liberal democracy must acknowledge and respect the rights of all citizens, including its self-consciously religious citizens.
It was eight years ago that Mohler strongly condemned the heavy-handed approach of the public schools to things religious, strongly urging Christian parents to develop an “exit strategy” from them. On this, as well as other matters, Mohler demonstrates his discernment and prescience.
Worth reading for a general, introductory view of how the Christian approaches the public square.