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Change the world?

June 25, 2013

The claims that Christians can change the world or change their own culture are frequently tossed about by well-meaning writers, teachers, and preachers, but is there any good reason to believe that? Writes James Davison Hunter:

“The call to this generation of Americans to repent and pray for revival to renew the values of the national culture may be welcome, but no one should be under any illusion about its capacity to fundamentally transform the present cultural order at its most rudimentary level. Invitations by Christian leaders to fast and pray are most worthy, but their main effect will be to renew the church rather than keep America from ‘losing its soul.’ All such engagement may be worthy, but if the end is to ‘save civilization,’ it most certainly is naïve.” (To Change the World, 46-47)

If we do all things to the glory of God and love our neighbors as ourselves, as we’re commanded in Scripture, we may well have a positive influence on our culture. We aim at the wrong target, though, when changing the world becomes our motivating vision. Maybe Jesus’ proverb, “Physician, heal yourself,” should be taken seriously by the church before it aspires to fix everyone and everything else.

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