What a sad fate is ours if Doug Wilson’s indictment is true. “Modern evangelicals have a ravenous hunger to be hipper than thou. They have a deep and covetous hunger to be cool” (A Primer on Worship and Reformation, p. 12).
Sad because “we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles.” a Christ is “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.” b
Whether silently present or winsomely dialoguing or actively, but respectfully, engaging our culture—Christ (in us) will always be an offense to some. After all, “we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing,” c and I suspect that aroma is perceived very differently by the two camps.
Because of this, I tend to agree with David French’s conclusions in his open letter on Christians in politics. Granted, for unknown reasons, there are those who have purposed to be offensive, but most Christ-followers simply want to exercise their rights of citizenship and defend their convictions in the public arena like other Americans. To the extent that they desire to “push their views on others” is to the same extent and by the same means as most Americans who engage in the political realm–through participation in the public discourse and endeavoring to persuade public opinion.
For God’s own good purposes he has placed us in a free society for now. When we draw our lines and defend those things that reflect the nature of our God or oppose those things that are in opposition to his nature, we will not be greeted with tolerance. d Our hunger for coolness will not be satisfied by capitulation either as French points to the results of the last two generations of appeasement by many mainline denominations.
French challenges the young “post-partisan” evangelical to ponder the price of their path: Are you willing to forego any effective voice at all for unborn children? Are you willing to keep silent when the secular world demands your silence? After all, that is the true price of non-partisanship — silence. He would also remind us that popularity is probably not our fate: If you believe that a more perfect imitation of Christ …will lead to more love and regard for the Church, consider this: No one was more like Christ than Christ, and he wound up on a cross with only the tiniest handful of followers by his side.
[Illustration by Norman Rockwell]