On Politics and Cultural Change – An Excerpt from Tim Keller’s “Center Church”
There’s an interesting side bar included on page 200 of Timothy Keller’s new book, Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City. In light of the pending election, I thought it was a particularly salient point to mull over. Here’s what he says:
James Hunter’s claim that political activism does not typically lead cultural change is supported by an interesting finding in Robert Putnam and David Campbell’s American Grace. Today’s young adults are surprisingly united in saying that one reason they have turned from the church is the antihomosexual activism of the Religious Right. So why are young adults much more liberal in their views regarding homosexuality, so liberal, in fact, that they find the traditional Christian position on sex to be offensive and harmful? Putnam and Campbell, among other reasons, say “TV and the movies normalized homosexuality during the period.” (American Grace, Simon and Schuster, 2010; p.128) In other words, while some Christians were hoping that legislation would change people’s attitudes, it was pop culture, the academic institutions, the arts, and the media that were shaping the popular mind. Public policy is only now beginning to follow suit.
Since James Hunter is seeking to correct an imbalance – an overreliance on politics and activism for cultural change – he could be read as proposing that believers should not be involved in politics or government. This is not what he is doing. Christians have a high calling to represent Christ in all vocations – in the public sphere as well as in the church.
Watch a free webcast with Tim Keller on Friday, October 19th at 3pm EDT – www.TheGospelCoalition.org/CenterChurch
He will be speaking on Center Church and will discuss ministry topics with David Wells and Richard Lints.