Concerning the question of the extent to which evangelical Christianity can be made palatable and respectable to mainstream American culture in our day, there is an oft-played out conflict between those on the one hand who want to winsomely get and maintain as much influence by having as little direct conflict as possible, and on the other hand those who insist we must call sinners to repentance all the more the greater their prideful embracing and affirming of those sins.
Exploring this subject as excellently as usual is Carl R. Trueman in the November 2021 issue of First Things. In his piece, ‘The Failure of Evangelical Elites’ Trueman writes:
“Let me put it bluntly: Talking in an outraged voice about racism within the boundaries set by the woke culture is an excellent way of not talking about the pressing moral issues on which Christianity and the culture are opposed to each other: LGBTQ+ rights and abortion.”
And here we come to the crux of the divide between respectable establishment type evangelical Christians and those who are cast into the outer darkness as deplorables.
Salt and Savor
Bitter clingers are we, with our guns and Bibles, believing in Young Earth Creationism and antiquated ideas of right and wrong, truth and falsehood. On the wrong side of history are we, supposing direct confrontation is the only winning strategy sometimes.
Meanwhile, the winsome Evanjelly crowd is able to get and secure respectable positions in academia, politics, and publishing companies. But the cost is twofold: for one, they must keep their peace and hold their fire when it comes to the pressing litmus test issues near and dear to the Left; for another, they must pile on in diatribes – usually subtle, but often enough not-so – against professing Christians who are clearer, bolder, and more courageous.
Everyone in American Christendom does the cost-benefit analysis. But some of us conclude that friendship with the world is a poor tradeoff for enmity with God, and we conduct ourselves accordingly. Meanwhile, others conclude that removing all the offense from the gospel can somehow make the gospel message and testimony of the Church better, purer, and more fruitful.
Trueman finishes up his piece pointedly.
“Harkening to Jesus’s words is not an excuse for sloppy scholarship any more than it is an excuse for indifference to injustice and evil. Nor does it justify treating with contempt those with whom we disagree. Christians who act despicably should not complain when they find themselves despised. But Jesus’s warning surely reminds us that we do not need to take our cultural despisers seriously; still less ought we to side with them against those who actually share our faith. Christianity tells the world what it does not wish to hear. We should not expect to be embraced by those whose thoughts and deeds contradict the truths of our faith. Nor should we seek to make our faith more palatable, lest the salt lose its savor.”
Amen to that.
This episode is sponsored by
· Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app
Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/garrett-ashley-mullet/message
Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/garrett-ashley-mullet/support