For Christians in America, the world looks very different than it did a generation ago. Over the past few decades, we have watched church attendance fall and immorality blossom. Tension around social and cultural issues is at an all time high. My friends, we are waist-deep in social, culture wars as I write this. All around us are progressive ideals that threaten the moral fabric of Christianity that holds our churches and communities together. I have previously written on how Christians need to prepare their hearts and renew their minds with helpful insight on how to survive such pressing times.
Mindful of this need, I want to share 3 books that I have found extraordinarily helpful in navigating America’s Culture Wars. I would go as far as to say they are almost indispensable for any Christian who wishes to survive this woke, “brave new world”. It is imperative that the church learn to expertly discuss issues like abortion, racism, critical race theory, gender identity, sexuality, materialism, and Marxism, logically, factually, and with strong biblical conviction; more than that, we are called to do it. If we are unwilling to educate ourselves, and those around us, on such issues, anti-biblical social theory will continue to stain our communities, churches, and families. Let us be wise in our understanding and help teach others on the dangers and pitfalls of progressive ideologies.
Before diving into the list, I want to stress the importance of our need to discuss such things in love, patience, and kindness. It is likely that within your church or community group, some have come to embrace progressive ideologies mentioned above. Many have done so with the best of intentions. Yet, as they do this they are unknowingly contributing to falsehoods and abetting systems and ideologies that seek the deconstruction of biblical morality and minority communities. Yes, we must engage with love and point them to the truth. We must not remain silent when we hear/see those we love promote critical race theory or other “woke” ideologies. Therefore, let us educate ourselves on the cultural and social issues that are dividing our nation and churches. As Christians, we above all peoples must seek to promote the facts, expose the lies, and point others to the truth. Therefore, I encourage all reading this to dive into these books. Equip yourselves with the truth so that you can traverse America’s culture wars.
Book 1) Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality by Nancy R. Pearcey
This book, written in 2018, is the best I have read on understanding the sexual morality issues that plague our culture. Chock-full of examples and facts, Pearcey drives down the philosophical (and theological) roots of the modern sexual ethic. She points out how most of today’s cultural sexual morality issues find their basis in the bifurcation of the human person. That is, a clear division between the person and the body. From the hook-up culture to abortion, to transgenderism, and beyond, all such falsehoods are built upon a general premise that the body is disposable and not intrinsic to the existence of the person.
As we understand the philosophical and theological origins of such issues, we can then engage with those around us and shine a light on the truth. Simply put, God cares what we do with our bodies. Though marred by sin, they retain the image of God and are full of worth. Though the world says our bodies are little more than utilitarian vessels for pleasure, Christians know they are temples for worshiping the living God. The better we understand the lies of the culture, the more we can help those around us.
Book 2) Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe by Voddie Baucham
Although this book has only been out a few months (released in April of 2021), it has quickly grown in popularity. At the time of writing this, it is the #1 best seller on Amazon’s Best Sellers in Christian Ministry & Church Leadership List. It will be interesting to see the impact this book has on evangelical churches in the coming years.
While the first book on this list is focused on sexual issues, Pastor Baucham deals specifically with racism, social justice, and critical race theory. I found this book extraordinarily helpful. It is the single best resource I have come across that deals with the errors in the social justice movement and the dangers it holds for Christians. As an African American who grew up in South Central Los Angeles, pastored a church in Houston, and now lives in Zambia, his perspective is honest, biblical, unbiased, and refreshing. In love, Baucham draws attention to the fact that so many are buying a narrative without looking at the facts. I recommend this book for anyone who feels challenged by the racial tension that surrounds us.
Book 3) Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents by Rod Dreher
Unlike the other books on this shortlist, this book does not focus on a specific set of relevant cultural issues, rather, Dreher aims to prepare Christians for an America that persecutes Christians. Compellingly, he draws comparisons between the totalitarianism of the Soviet Union and the growing socialist movement within the United States. The book was sobering, to say the least.
He offers stories from those who lived through the transition to communism in Eastern Europe and, using their examples, offers commentary on how Christians can navigate the changing western world. One of the biggest mistakes we can make is to assume that what happened in Eastern Europe cannot happen here.