I like theologian Michael Horton‘s writing. He’s often provocative and helpful. Even if one doesn’t always agree with him, one generally finds him a stimulating read. The latest issue of Modern Reformation has reprinted a column entitled “Beyond the Culture Wars” published fifteen years ago that bears out a reading. Horton’s burden in the piece is to direct Christians away from the “culture wars” and toward gospel proclamation. He overstates things in places and comes to some conclusions that make me a bit uneasy, but his general message is, I think, challenging.
Here’s an excerpt that pushed me to consider the thoughts and intentions of my own heart:
“We have become the rock of offense rather than Christ. The irony is we have taken the offense out of the gospel–we don’t preach sin and grace anymore–and have taken it over for ourselves. We’re offensive for all the wrong reasons while we leave the gospel itself devoid of its power. The minorities, the feminists, the gays, and others who practice immoral lifestyles–people with whom we may not agree–will not give us a hearing at the end of the twentieth century. Not because we have preached the gospel and called them to repentance and they don’t like that, but because we have framed our communication with them in terms of a war for social, political, and cultural control. Contrary to the religious leaders of his day, Jesus was the friend of sinners. Prostitutes turned from their prostitution because, as Jesus said, “He who is forgiven much loves much.” The Holy Spirit will not convert a single soul through moral crusades. He will not convert a prostitute through Senate bill 242, or change the direction of the homosexual by prime-time denunciation from moralistic preachers. Yes, we are called to preach the good news and to call men and women to repentance, but that is not a political issue, that is not ultimate a moral issue, that is a gospel issue. Repentance can no more be coerced by the state than faith; both are the gracious gifts of God.”