Public Engagement Does Not Mean Sneering at Jerry Falwell

Public Engagement Does Not Mean Sneering at Jerry Falwell April 19, 2014

I just wrote an essay for Canon & Culture, the new project of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. It’s entitled “The Moral Majority Is No More,” and it attempts to begin charting a new course for evangelical public engagement among the group known as the “Millennials.”

Here’s a little bit to whet your ethical appetite:

Unlike the Moral Majority, many Millennials are quiet as a church mouse on public square issues, save for a vocal rejection of past tactics. Let me get down and dirty here: If your only significant act of public square proclamation is a sneering disavowal of Jerry Falwell, you’re doing it wrong. A church inspired by the gospel, aware of its claim on all of life, and in tune with a historic tradition of figures like Augustine, Wilberforce, and Colson cannot content itself with exquisitely calibrated public neutrality. Neither can it accept the velvet muzzle its opponents offer. It cannot dance like a celebrity cha-chaing his way back to the C-list when a confused church member asks for guidance on cultural questions of grave import.

It must speak. It must offer a new social witness.

I go on to offer four means of engagement to build this “new social witness.”

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