Recently, Ed Stetzer posted several of his thoughts about the political and cultural outlook for America.
Among his many predictions, he tentatively called the end of the culture war.
Like, he didn’t call for the end of the culture war. Like watching an election map take shape and realizing that the paths to victory are narrowing, Stetzer called the culture war over.
And he says we’ve lost. Our path to victory has closed.
With multiple states passing referenda that would be opposite of the typical evangelical agenda, he says it’s time to prepare to live in post-culture-war America.
If you think that means hunkering in your basement until the apocalypse, here’s what I think.
The Culture War Is Already Over
If you think that the re-election of the President is the final harbinger of America going straight to hell, then you are behind the times. The culture war will not be lost in 2012 or 2013. The culture war has been lost for a long time, longer than anyone wants to admit. At this point, culture warriors are a bit like those stories you hear about the last Japanese soldiers defending their posts, not knowing that WWII was over for years.
Pagans Gonna Do What Pagans Do
If there is one thing I have realized by reading history, it is this:
People have always been attracted to things that are not good for them. People will always find ways to hurt themselves. It does not matter what laws and controls are placed on people, they will find loopholes. Failing that, they will find something, equal or worse to do. This is the central flaw of trying to win a culture war with laws and lawsuits. People are going to do what people do. When have Christians ever won a culture war? I’m not sure such a term existed until the 21st century.
The Wrong Hill To Die On
If you ask me, (and I don’t know if you are), we have been tricked into dying on a lot of hills that just don’t matter. We are fighting, battling, bloodying each other on issues that are tertiary. A hill always seems big when you are standing on it. But not when you see it from a birds-eye view.
Prohibition looked like a big enough hill to die on in the 20s. That turned out to be a disaster. (And it proves my second point. If people want something, they will get it.)
Take any sacred cow you want in the culture war. It is probably an idol that is just a distraction. And that goes for the biggest sacred cows. You know the one I’m talking about (I’ll let you guess.)
Christian Soldiers, Retreat
Old Testament prophets looked forward to a time when God’s people would be at peace in the land. They would beat their spears into plowshares and stop fighting their enemies.
I am pretty downright disgusted with Christians who proclaimed that their presidential vote was informed by gospel reasons, and that goes for my conservative and liberal friends. The gospel is not spread by governments, be they Republican or Democrat. You can elect people who you think will restore the middle class or provide more benefits to the poor, but neither has anything to do with the gospel of grace, and you are fooling yourselves if you think otherwise.
If we want peace in our culture, we have to be the ones to lay down our weapons. Peace doesn’t come when our enemies agree with us. Peace happens when we realize that we cannot change people with war. We can only change people with the gospel. God does not save nations, He saves people. A culture is not “won.” Hearts are changed by the Holy Spirit.
We should stop trying to save something that God will burn as chaff anyway.
Is the culture war officially over? Have we been tricked, or is it more important than ever to win back our culture?