When the Culture War Turns Into Guerrilla Warfare
It’s not every day you get to hear a VeggieTales character read one of your articles out loud. Okay, so it was actually Phil Vischer (the voice of Bob the Tomato) who highlighted my recent piece, . More on that in a moment.
In the article, published at The Gospel Coalition, I ask this question: “Is a warlike posture the proper response to an increasingly anti-Christian society?”
The problem with the culture-war approach is not that it (rightly) discerns opposition from the world. The problem is in the chosen mode of response.
By embracing the culture-war paradigm, many Christians adopt—likely inadvertently—an “all’s fair in love and war” perspective. After all, in a war you don’t turn the other cheek; you strike back as hard, or harder, than your opponent. That’s how wars are won. . . .
To engage with our culture in a militant and hostile manner is to forsake our role as ambassadors. It’s trading our diplomatic visas for military dog tags. It’s trading the armor of God for the fig leaves of human striving. It’s a capitulation to earthly wisdom—attempting to fight for the kingdom of God on the world’s terms.
Some readers got tripped up by the provocative title. They walked away with the idea that I was anti-military, or that I think it’s never appropriate to confront our wayward culture. That is most certainly not the case. Ultimately, the problem isn’t with what terms we use. The problem lies with our approach, and that’s what I critique in the above piece.
But back to Phil Vischer. In episode #421 of The Holy Podcast, Vischer and his co-host, Skye Jethani, spend one of their segments discussing my article and its implications for Christian witness in our modern cultural climate.
The podcasters had some additional thoughts worth repeating in print form:
- “When you look at what’s going on in the culture wars today…it’s ‘We need to win, we need to defeat them in order to have power and control.’ . . . It’s not ‘We need to advocate for justice and order, not just to protect us and our tribe, but we want to do what’s best and loving for the people who have aligned themselves as our opponents.’ That rhetoric is missing, even from the Christians—where it should be at home.”
- “We believe in a kingdom in which you do not fight fire with fire. You fight fire with water. And if you find yourself having to use the same tactics—the evil tactics—of your enemy and justify it because your ends are noble or holy, you’ve already lost.”
- “It’s better for the people of God to go to martyrdom holding to the way of the kingdom, than it is to win a victory—supposedly in the name of God—but do so in a way which is inconsistent with his character and kingdom.”
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