Monday, August 20, 2012

Are the culture warriors and the two kingdoms types talking past each other? Matthew Tuininga

Matthew Tuininga asks this important question over at his blog, Christian in America.  Its a question that I've grappled with over the last few years and I think that the answer is "Yes".

Having come up through the ranks of broad evangelicalism I was introduced and trained in reformed theology by those who are cultural warriors.  Over the last few years have I begun questioning their methods and message.

Tuininga writes:

In addition to all of these concerns about the two kingdoms doctrine, I wonder if part of the disconnect between the “two kingdoms types” and the “culture war” types boils down to a disconnect between those who are focused on ends, and those who are more concerned about means. Let me try to explain.
Culture warriors tend to have their minds fixed on one object: preserving or restoring American politics and culture on the basis of what they regard as its Christian foundation. They operate at the level of desired ends and on accomplishing those ends whatever the cost. America should protect the unborn and it is not doing that. We can offer no compromise on the issue of abortion until it is completely outlawed. Sexual immorality is tearing apart the fabric of this country. We can offer no compromise on marriage until the traditional form is wholeheartedly upheld as the law of the land. America is jettisoning its Christian foundations. We need to labor hard and long until every American understands why our prosperity is based on Christianity and on nothing else.
Two kingdoms types, on the other hand, are more worried about the manner with which Christians engage politics, and they fear that the church has become so politicized, and Christians so willing to embrace the ruthlessness of politics, that it is obscuring or bringing slander upon the gospel. They operate at the level of means, and are unwilling to pollute the function of the church or the virtue of Christians in order to achieve desired political ends. Christians should communicate a devotion to justice for both mothers and their unborn children regardless of whether or not the law permits abortion. Christians should reach out to those practicing homosexuality or other sexual sins with the gospel and a spirit of love regardless of whether or not they are able to persuade the country that homosexuality should not be promoted or marriage compromised. Christians should be more worried about whether or not America acts justly than whether or not it professes Christian truth.  

He admits that he is using generalizations and that there are exceptions and important qualifications to be made.  I grant that point.  But on the whole I think that he is on the mark.  Visit the link to read the entire piece.  

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