Culture Wars and Warriors?

 Sometimes when Christians speak of engaging culture we end up using too many military metaphors.  We talk about culture wars and culture warriors, and we discuss how to “take back” the city (as if it were occupied territory) or speak of taking over certain parts of society.  Some Christians even talk about kingdom agents, beachheads, and invasions.  In response to this emphasis on Christian conquest, I like what David VanDrunen has to say.

“Christians should pursue cultural activities not with a spirit of triumph and conquest over neighbors but with a spirit of love and service toward them.  Far too often Christian writers and leaders imbue their audience with a drive to take over – to take over politics, education, the courts, and whatever else (or maybe it is put in  more palatable terms, such as taking back instead of taking over, as if Christians are rightful owners of everything and are simply reclaiming what is already theirs).  The New Testament does call us ‘more than conquerors through him who loved us’ (Rom. 8:37), and on the day of Christ’s return we will share in his visible triumph over his enemies (e.g. 2 Thess. 1:5-10).  But until then God calls us to be involved in activities such as education and politics not in order to trounce opponents but to serve neighbors.

“‘You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.’ (Matt. 5.43-44).  The apparent enemy is our neighbor (Luke 10:25-37).  It is all too easy to demonize those with whom we disagree and seek to vilify them for their sins in order to gain tactical advantage – even though their conduct often outshines our own in many areas of life, and though, if we do avoid those sins, we do so only by the unmerited grace of God.”

“We have been justified in Christ precisely so that we may love and serve our neighbor, for this is the fulfillment of the law (Rom 13:8-10; Gal 5:13-14).  The New Testament constantly calls us to gentleness, meekness, patience, and humility (e.g. Matt 5:5, Gal 5:22-23, Eph 4:2).  If only we were as eager to deal with our own many sins as we are to expose the sins of others whom we regard as our cultural opponents – if only we would learn to take the log out of our own eyes before seeing the speck in another’s eye (Matt 7:1-5).  The way of love and service in all areas of culture, not the way of vilification and conquest, is the proper Christian attitude.”

Quote taken from Living in God’s Two Kingdoms by D. VanDrunen, pages 124-5.

shane lems

sunnyside wa

2 thoughts on “Culture Wars and Warriors?”

  1. For some reason, it has always bothered me when I hear someone say that they are going to “Conquer the city for Christ,” although it is usually a well-intentioned person that says this. It just doesn’t sound right to me, what can I say?

    We should have a larger discussion about “Servant Leadership” and how it applies to business, education, politics, and the military; not to mention Church boards!

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