Darrow Miller and Friends

Three Kingdom Virtues for the Church Today: Courage, Perseverance, and Faithfulness

What does kingdom faithfulness look like in 2013? How should we live as faithful Christians in the midst of a culture that is increasingly anti-Christian? How do we respond when we are progressively misunderstood, mischaracterized, and mistreated?

Glenn Sunshine writes about kingdom livingDr. Glenn Sunshine provides a powerful, profound answer in his outstanding book, Why You Think the Way You Do: The Story of Western Worldviews from Rome to Home. See the following excerpt (emphasis added).

We must work for social justice… to help dismantle the legal and institutional structures that keep people in poverty, and instead to put in place policies that promote human flourishing. Among other things, this involves supporting a pro-family agenda that emphasizes the biological family of mother, father, and children established by God… as the essential foundation for economic, cultural, and social stability.

In political life… we must be careful. Christ’s kingdom is not of this world, and it will never be ushered in through political power. Instead, we must live lives consistent with our faith, and thus by our concern and our action on behalf of others we will earn the right to be heard. From there, we can persuade others the truths and values of the kingdom and build the kind of grassroots movement that alone can bring long-term change to a society. Politics is downstream from culture, and while Christians can and should be involved in the political process, we must never forget that in this world the kingdom can only be built from the bottom up, never imposed from the top down.

We also need to insist on the right to dissent. Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience and the right to express themselves without fear of repercussion, whether or not they agree with us. The kingdom is not built on coercion, and since all truth is God’s truth, the biblical worldview will always prevail in a free marketplace of ideas and a level playing field…

Those who hold to a biblical worldview may come to strikingly different conclusions concerning policies and the best means to promote the well-being of society. We need to give each other permission to disagree on both peripheral issues and on practical applications of principle.

Mostly, we need to follow the model of the early church. Living a biblically faithful life will not make us popular. It is no accident that the Beatitudes end with “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). In the face of a culture far more corrupt and decadent than our own, the early Christians lived lives of extravagant faithfulness, even to the point of torture and death. And they won. It took over three hundred years, but they transformed Roman society.

We tend to get discouraged over a single election cycle. If we are going to have the kind of impact on our society that the early Christians had on Rome, we need their courage, their perseverance, and their faithfulness. If we have those qualities, we can and will have an impact on our society far beyond our numbers and will produce cultural renewal and a better life for those who come after us, Christian and non-Christian alike.

I couldn’t agree more strongly. Now is the time for courage, perseverance, and faithfulness. Living a life of “extravagant faithfulness” will not make us popular with the cultural elite. We must be prepared and willing to be mischaracterized and mistreated. We must be ready to speak up for the truth boldly, yet in love.

Dr. Sunshine was a co-presenter, along with Darrow, at the recent Wilberforce Weekend conference in Virginia. He is a professor of European intellectual history at Connecticut State University.

– Scott Allen



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Scott Allen serves as president of the DNA secretariat office. After serving with Food for the Hungry for 19 years in both the United States and Japan, working in the areas of human resources, staff training and program management, he teamed up with Darrow Miller and Bob Moffitt to launch the DNA in 2008. Scott is the author of Beyond the Sacred-Secular Divide: A Call to Wholistic Life and Ministry and co-author of several books including, As the Family Goes, So Goes the Nation: Principles and Practices for Building Healthy Families. His most recent book is Why Social Justice is Not Biblical Justice. Scott lives with his wife, Kim, in Bend, OR. They have five children.