Active faith

Christians are often confused when it comes to knowing whether they should get involved with cultural and political issues. Their church leaders will often neglect this topic because it can be controversial, especially when it comes to topics like race, politics and working to select our government leaders. The following book references address this issue explaining how the biblical motivation for our involvement with cultural issues should be one of love. The motivation in favor of activism addressing cultural issues revolves around the love we should have for our neighbors and their welfare. Public policy and cultural issues directly impact the lives and the well-being of both them and their families. We should be involved in addressing cultural and civic issues from a biblical worldview because we care about how these issues impact the lives of our neighbors.

Another biblical reason for our active involvement with cultural issues is our role of being salt within society. The Bible describes the need for Christians to be both salt and light within society. We are to permeate the culture around us with the godly influence of Christianity found within biblical principles and ethics. This is part of our calling by Jesus to help disciple the nations by teaching people everything he has taught us within the Bible. We are the hands and feet of Jesus while we are here on the earth. We are his ambassadors for Christianity by spreading the good news of the Gospel and its influence as both light and salt in every facet of life. Jesus is Lord of all areas of our lives and this includes the culture.

However, in light of the lack of influence that the Gospel has had with regard to the transformation of both cultures and the private lives of professing Christians, we need to examine what is wrong with the current version of the faith that is being presented to the world. Francis Schaeffer was a prophetic voice addressing this issue. His writings reveal a false dualistic dichotomy that characterizes much of the evangelical church. According to his research and writings he concluded that a false pietism has infected the evangelical Gospel message which resembles Gnostic dualism. He concluded that the faith has taken on a false dualistic form that over-spiritualizes the faith. It excludes the material dimension of life from the transformational power of the Gospel. The mission of the church is reduced solely to sharing the gospel with little, if any, emphasis on discipleship resulting in both personal and cultural transformation. I call it the half-way gospel. Nancy Pearcey has followed up on his work and goes into deeper detail explaining how this dualism divides the Christian life into a false division between the spiritual and material dimensions of life. She traces this false dualistic dichotomy of life back to Greek philosophy's dualism in her book "Total Truth."

How the church resolves this issue will have an important impact on the world. This is because it deals with the mission of the church. According to these authors the Lordship of Jesus applies to all areas of human life. This includes both the spiritual and material dimensions of humanity. This means that both personal and cultural transformation should be a part of the mission of the church. This is expressed in the Great Commission's call for discipling nations, which includes cultures as well as people. This same theme of total lordship in all facets of life is picked up by other Christian leaders whose writings I have listed in this section. Their conclusions are similar. They teach that the Bible reveals the lordship of Christ is total and includes every facet of our lives. Several of them trace this same theme back to the Reformation with a special emphasis on the holistic approach to life taught by the Reformed faith which was developed by John Calvin.