You Can’t Hide from the Culture Wars

Daniel Darling | May 4, 2015


“Imagine if Christians took a year off from the culture wars and just did works of mercy in our communities,” a prominent pastor recently said. This is not a new sentiment. Evangelicals have been making such proposals for several years now, perhaps most eloquently articulated in James Davidson Hunter’s book To Change the World.

I’ve lived on both sides of the debate over the culture war. Most of my adult life has been in vocational Christian ministry, working in leadership for churches and Christian nonprofits. I’ve also served in political campaigns and worked for activist organizations. Most recently I was a pastor. Now I work for a public policy organization with a twofold mission of speaking for the church and speaking to the church.

I’ve wrestled with the many tensions of public theology in a religious, representative republic. When I pastored, I often cringed at the sharp and partisan rhetoric of the culture war, vexed by the many ways God’s people easily confused conservative talking points with biblical witness. I’ve also been on the other side, wishing pastors would more courageously prepare their people to live out the gospel in the public square.

In these roles I’ve discovered that…


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