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Guest Editorial: How to win the culture war

by Paul Moody

How can Christians win, in the culture war that is raging in our nation?

In the first place, we must have unity of spirit. Colossians 1:10 says, “I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.”

Can we agree that our nation has been in a moral decline for many years? Can we agree that if our nation’s moral decline is going to be reversed, it will be because Christians are motivated to address the problem?

The objective of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Committee of the Capital Association is to develop awareness of the moral and social issues impacting our society and to encourage our churches to effect positive change. With this in mind, I want to call to your attention nine moral issues facing our nation as identified by Charles Stanley in his sermon of July 4, 2010, called “Turning the Tide.” The nine moral issues are as follows:

1. America’s national debt, now exceeding $14 trillion, is driving us to bankruptcy.

2. The steady movement toward socialism, where the government takes more and more responsibility for things not spelled out in the Constitution.

3. The squashing of religious thought in numerous public arenas.

4. Confusion and corruption in America in both the public and private sectors.

5. Growing opposition by a group of Americans to Christians praying in public events and using the name of Jesus in their prayers.

6. A tide of terrorism spreading throughout our nation.

7. Government leaders are moving to distance us from support of Israel.

8. The fact that the people of America have aborted more than 50 million babies since Roe vs. Wade.

9. Homosexuality and abandonment of the biblical view of marriage by an ever growing number of Americans.

Stanley’s solution to the moral crises in America was to ask those who heard his message to commit to pray for our nation.

I would agree that STEP ONE must be for God’s people to pray daily for the restoration of the Judeo Christian ethic and value system our nation was founded on and that it permeate every aspect of American life. We need to pray that God will give wisdom to the officials we have elected to state and national office.

STEP TWO is for Christians to commit to becoming educated to the moral issues of our day. If you go to our website, and then click on ERLC, you can find the following information to be very helpful:
1. You can find the name, address and phone number of your state and national officials.

2. You can examine the moral issues identified in “action alerts” by such groups as the National Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the State ERLC and the Capital Association ERLC. You can also increase your awareness of the moral issues by clicking on www.richardlandlive. Richard Land is President of the Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. He hosts a daily talk show on the Internet. Land encourages people to call in and discuss the issues of the day. He maintains offices in Washington, D.C. and in Nashville, Tenn.

3. Other links on our website are, Reclaim Oklahoma, American Family Association, Focus On The Family, KQCV Bott Radio, National Right To Life Committee and Wall Builders.

STEP THREE is to put “feet to your prayers.” Armed with knowledge of the moral and ethical issues facing our nation and what needs to be done to make corrections, we must communicate our thoughts to our elected officials. For too long, Americans have left the governing of our states and our nation to those we have elected to office. The complaint among many is “I don’t have time to concern myself with the affairs of state.” This has gone on so long that many of our elected officials ignore what the vast majority of Americans want to see happen relative to restoring the values we hold dear. It’s time we Christians wake them up to the fact that our government is “of, by and for the people.” We believe in the Constitution of the United States. We believe we should follow it and adhere to it.

I believe America’s greatest days lie ahead. This hope is rooted in the thought that more Christians are going to rise to the occasion by becoming more informed about the issues that threaten our nation’s very survival—that more Christians will determine to elect Christians to office who promise to reduce the size of government, enforce the laws of the land and insist on the highest standards of ethics on the part of those holding office.

America has a great history of patriots who have served their country well for more than 200 years. It is a privilege and an honor to live as free people in this great land. Let us never take our freedom for granted. God looks to us to be the “salt and light” to the world that Jesus spoke of in the “Sermon on the Mount.”

Let me summarize what I hope more of us will commit to do. Pray daily for our nation and her leaders. Become informed on the moral and ethical issues facing us. Communicate with our elected officials regularly so they know we stand behind them in their decision making process as long as we are moving in the right direction.

Paul Moody is chairman, ERLC Committee, Capital Association


Author: Staff

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  • Gary Capshaw

    There is no cultural war between Christianity and our nation. That’s a political construct which does nothing more than empower one party over another and separate us from those who most desperately need to hear the Gospel. It makes the Church of Jesus Christ a partisan organization and our Lord never told us to do that!

    Government is not the problem and government is not the solution. To think otherwise denies the power of the Holy Spirit to change lives, thereby changing the nation.

    Instead of gathering our resources to fight back and moblizing members to become politically involved, how about we do what Christ told us to do? Take the Gospel to a lost and dying generation. That’s the ONLY thing which will work and anything else is a waste of time and money. Not only that, but when we take political positions, we alienate ourselves from everyone on the other side of that issue and come off looking judgmental and condemnatory. Try witnessing to a lost homosexual after you’ve protested at the state capitol. How far do you think you’ll get sharing Christ with someone who desperately needs Him after you’ve fought against that person?

    Ever wonder why church membership, professions of faith and baptism’s are down, year after year? Ever wonder why the Church increasingly has no relevance to the lost? Ask those whom we should be targeting with the Gospel, instead of with our hypocritical fingers and they’ll tell you. WE, the Church of Jesus Christ are identified in their minds as an arm of the Republican Party, as haters and bigoted Pharisee’s preaching a Gospel of love we don’t demonstrate.

    If you REALLY want to “save” this nation, get off your pews and love the unlovable, share the Gospel, meet their individual needs in the name of Christ. We won’t win souls for the Lord by expressing our prejudices, but by expressing the Love of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

    How about we close down the ERLC Committee and put those resources into evangelism, where it’s needed?

  • Ken McKinley

    The culture war will not be one by electing Christian leaders. It will not be won by giving money to conservative groups or causes. It cannot be won through politics or legislation. That’s fighting the war using the enemies tactics. The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart. The things that we see happening in our country (such as same sex marriage, abortion, removal of prayer, etc…) are wrongly said to be things that are going to bring judgment upon America, when in-fact they are types of judgment upon America. The way we are going to win the culture war isn’t outlined above. It’s outlined in Scripture. Step 1 – Christians need to pray and repent. 2nd Chronicles 7:14 doesn’t mention godless unbelievers, but speaks of God’s people who are called by His Name. It is we (Christians) who need to humble ourselves and pray, and turn from our wicked ways, and seek His face. We need to repent. We demand that the world live like Christians when in reality they are stilll in bondage to their sinful nature. Step 2 – Share the Gospel with the unbelieving world. Until they are born again, they are going to live in accordance with their old nature. They need a heart transplant, and to be born from above in order to first of all see the condition they and the nation are in. Until then, those without Christ may or may not approve of same sex marriage or abortion, or any of the above, but nor do they condemn it or reject it as sinful. Sharing the Gospel is not doing social action. It is a verbal proclimation of a man’s lostness and Christ’s provision of salvation. Though social action may open the door for sharing the Gospel, the Gospel has not been shared until the verbal proclimation of it has been given (how shall the beleive unless they hear?).
    The Gospel alone is the power of God unto salvation. It is the means that God has chosen to use to save sinners. Our world and our naiton will continue on it’s downward slide until the Gospel penetrates the hearts of sinners and changes them from the inside out. Until then, all the political and legislative action, and all the writing to senators and congressmen, is just the useless wranglings of men. Politicians are not another CP, that we can give our money to and feel good about doing our part. Until we as individual Southern Baptists get off our pews and share the Gospel with each and every person we know. Nothing will change. Our culture will continue its downward slide and our conversion/baptism numbers will continue to decrease.

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  • Brother Moody, thank you for comments and insight into how Christians can help our stricken national community find God’s basis for a good and righteous framework of law and governance. I also appreciate the enormity of the task faced by your committee. I understand the frustration Christians feel about the changes being wrought in the culture at large because I have the same frustrations. It certainly appears that the world has gone mad and nothing we do seems to help the world regain its sanity. At the beginning of this madness, when the world began to change and was slowly ceasing to be a welcoming and accepting place for me as a Christian, I also looked to the political process to restore the world to its senses. In time I realized that the world had changed beyond the power of those of us who understand holiness, righteousness, and goodness to alter by legislation and politics. I would like to share with you and the committee the insight I learned in reaching this conclusion.

    What I came to see is that in my lifetime the underlying philosophical and moral basis of community, society, and culture had shifted from a Judeo-Christian framework to a world built upon the inalienable right of each person to construct their own lives in accord with their feelings, the truth as they found it, and the right of self-determination to construct a life built on these personal pillars. While a life built on faith and belief in a Holy God and Jesus will still (or should be) honored by our larger community, our culture has now embraced an ethos where each person, regardless of where each might find the purpose and meaning of life, is entitled to equal respect and honor. I came to see that “political correctness” is merely the term the world uses to enforce that viewpoint. Thus, as the world now sees it, while I have the inherent right to be a Christian, the world will chastise me if I attempt to take what the world now merely sees as my personal framework of being and impose it on someone else, especially if I do so by compulsion through the enactment of legislation. When the Supreme Court of the United States (in Lawrence v. Texas) held that the Constitutional right of privacy (the same basis for the legalization of abortion) allows men and women the inherent right to determine their sexual identity, I saw that the culture has begun to order itself around the uncertain truth of self and not the holiness and righteousness of God.

    This change is hard to accept although, I am afraid, it is real. The question then becomes how to advance the gospel in this climate. As a Christian and child of God, I believe that the righteousness of God and the Gospel are essential to a well-ordered, just, and decent society so we, the Church, should have a voice in how our national community is ordered. With that said, the question becomes how we do it. I finally concluded that, first and foremost, we are going to have to stop characterizing our efforts as a war. Why? Because if we think of what is happening as a war, we are going to fight it as a war with politics as the battleground. In a general sense wars are won by identifying and vilifying the “enemy”, marshalllng and channeling resources into the fight, massing and training armies, accumulating the power to enforce your will on the enemy, making and carrying out tactical and strategic plans for the conduct of the struggle, and finally fighting in a way that either results in the destruction of the enemy or the enemy’s surrender.

    I understand passion. I have it. I have also fought in a war (as an infantryman) and I know that war must be approached in a vital and brutal way. I know when I first began my “fight” in the culture war, I found myself looking at the other side as the “enemy”. I no longer saw them in a way that respected their personhood, their worth to God, and as soil ripe for the seed of the Gospel; I saw them as a force to be overwhelmed and defeated. I found myself looking to politics (and politicians) to advance righteousness through the enactment of law and I expected those laws to be enforced by the police power of the state to compel obedience to righteousness. I thought of it as a form of spiritual warfare and I, too, fought it hard.

    In time I came to see what my formulation of this struggle as “war” did to me. In the fight and in my passion I lost the ability to love, to find words and actions that would demonstrate what Jesus had wrought in my life, and I turned my face against those who most needed the gospel. I came to the conclusion (upon confession and a plea for forgiveness) that I could not make someone live a godly and righteous life; I had to live it myself and offer my own good and decent testimony of the Gospel to those who saw our national community in a different way. In short, I realized an awful truth about myself: only God can love the sinner and hate the sin at the same time. Sadly, I learned I could either love or hate or merely temper my hate with a bit of love, but I could not be and act in love and hate at the same time. War does that to you.

    So what can we do? I think the answer can be found in our conduct in the “war” against abortion. The seldom recognized truth of the abortion debate is that we are winning it apart from the political process. When we talk of love, we win hearts; when we compel legislation, we invite discord and judgment. The work done in our Crisis Pregnancy Centers and other like organizations (supported by individuals within our community of believers and our churches) presents love in a way that invites fathers and mothers to truly encounter the power and life-changing energy of love. When others see love, it has the wondrous capacity to insinuate itself into our lives in a compelling way. Love opens our eyes and dramatically illuminates the creative reality of God at conception and helps us consider what we ought to do with this gift of life, thereby allowing love to flower. Once love is found and experienced, it leads to God, Jesus, the Gospel, and it can lead inexorably to the decision that the baby is to be born and loved in spite of the burden (or inconvenience) to the mother and father, even if it means adoption. Nothing we do through the legislative process to compel a woman not to have an abortion will have the same life-changing and life-sustaining effect. Legislation will never show a stricken woman love; it can only reveal judgment at a time when love is needed more than condemnation. Legislation will never give a woman the reason to hold her baby and commit herself to offering it a lifetime of giving and sacrifice. Legislation will never compel a father to love and nurture his child. True, we can compel a father to provide money for the child’s support and this result is good and decent, but legislation never leads a father’s heart to love. Our testimony for Jesus and the actions of our love will speak the necessary words for us in a way legislation never can. Our quiet, persistent, and patient words and actions in support of Love has rendered audible and compelling what we know to be true: life is sacred and a gift from God and abortion unalterably denies the precious life God created its rightful opportunity to be.

    Thus, while we should speak out for goodness, righteous and decency, it seems to me that our struggle with culture ought to be a matter of love, not war. God’s righteousness and holiness are made manifest by and through love. Decency, integrity, individual worth and being, our conduct as citizens and fellow members of humanity, and our ordering of our community is to be found, nourished, and lived through love. If we talk in love, act out of love, and live love, both individually and in our community of faith, we demonstrate (not legislate) the reality of God’s good creation and our place in it. This is what draws individuals toward God, His Word and His Son. These are the things we can, and should, say that will help our larger community restore itself. So, in the end, I concluded that we need to prayerfully consider whether and in what event God wants us to employ the tool of external compulsion through man-made law to create a righteous society. While we should speak and be involved in public life, we should do so as ministers of love and not as soldiers in war. So my testimony is simple: We should no longer speak of the righteousness of God in a way that sounds the war tocsin; we must speak in a way that illuminates the love of God and the Gospel.


    Jim Lockhart
    Bethel, Norman

  • Ralph Casteel

    Gary Capshaw captured and articulated my beliefs to a “T” !

    Great Reply Gary !

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