This August we release my new book, Onward: Engaging the Culture Without Losing the Gospel (B&H). This book is a vision for Christian social engagement in an era in which Christianity is increasingly strange. I think we should own the strangeness, because it’s the freakishness of the gospel that changes things.
In the book, I argue that the church is, if we ever were, a moral majority no more. We are, on our best days, a prophetic minority, rooted in the gospel of the kingdom. This minority status doesn’t mean siege mentality. The prophetic word, after all, uproots and rebuilds. The new era before us, though, gives us the opportunity to toss aside some aspects of our past that never reflected the gospel in the first place: starting with our bargain-basement prosperity gospel.
We are not ambassadors of “traditional values.” We are stewards of the mystery of the gospel.
The book argues that the kingdom of God should set our priorities, that the kingdom should reorient the cultures of local congregations to speak to the outside world, and that a holistic mission ought to define our engagement. This kingdom-culture-mission framework drives us then to a distinctively Christian vision of human dignity, of religious liberty, and of family integrity.
The kingdom doesn’t just change what we say, though; it changes how we say it. We speak with convictional kindness because we are not enraged losers. We are more than conquerors in Christ. The Christian church, then, should be confident, hopeful, and future-directed. We should march triumphantly into the future. We pledge allegiance where we can and where we ought. We render unto God and we render unto Caesar, but we don’t forget the difference between the two. We are Americans best when we are not Americans first.
The future will be challenging. Hucksters and heretics can’t withstand it. But the gospel of the kingdom can. We’re not in Mayberry anymore, and we never were. But the gospel didn’t emerge in Mayberry. It came rocketing out of a Roman Empire in which nothing could be stranger than the idea of a crucified Messiah. Onward Christian strangers.
You can pre-order the book from Barnes and Noble here.