Christians should understand government and culture in order to engage, understand, and influence it. Earlier I listed a few helpful secular resources for Christians. Here, I suggest resources from the Christian viewpoint on government and cultural issues.
Of recent vintage, Ashford and Pappalardo give principles for engaging culture in the Kuypernian tradition. They discuss “sphere sovereignty” — recognizing that government and church have different roles and responsibilities — and “thick” and “thin” approaches to presenting the Christian worldview — when it’s appropriate to cite the Bible, for instance, and when to use persuasion that is less dependent on Scripture and more accessible to the non-Christian.
Also fairly recent, David Platt here addresses the Christian’s call to be visibly different from the prevailing, non-Christian culture. The believer should not only be different, but advocate for different results and advocate differently.
Platt applies his suggestions for influencing the culture to several prominent and controversial needs in culture.
Written in the late 1940s, the relevance of Henry’s treatment might not seem readily apparent. But his is a classic work, and though couched in terms and circumstances peculiar to the aftermath of a world war, still applies relevant principles to the issue of how Christians should seek to influence culture.
Here Mohler assesses the significance of cultural trends, and why Christians should be alert to them.
Here Moore advises Christians that it might actually be good for the church that the so-called “Bible belt” has lost its power to cinch. He advises the church take a position of “prophetic minority,” accepting a less powerful role for one that is perhaps more influential: speaking prophetically to culture.
There are many good resources for Christians in this area. For further reading on the subject:
Politics According to the Bible (Wayne Grudem). Grudem provides an almost encyclopedic resource for principles of good government as well as proposed positions and solutions to common issues in government and culture. Though his treatment of specific issues is at times almost too simplistic, it is nevertheless useful.
The Poverty of Nations (Wayne Grudem). This extends the Christian’s understanding of culture to an international setting, exploring why poverty affects some nations more than others, and providing a plan to help those nations in a manner that gives more than temporary relief.
The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism (Michael Novak). Think Liberalism in the Classical Tradition from a a more Christian viewpoint, and one which recognizes more faithfully the sinfulness (selfishness) of man.
The Naked Public Square (Richard John Neuhaus). A classic that explores why culture should not expel the religious viewpoint from the public discussion, and why the church should not be silenced.