Darrow Miller and Friends

Truth, Goodness, and Beauty: Kingdom Culture

  1. Truth, Goodness, and Beauty: Kingdom Culture
  2. Goodness is Good for People and Nations

The laws of creation relate to what I call the “cultural trinity”— truth, goodness, and beauty. These elements of kingdom culture capture the comprehensive maximum of teaching nations to obey all that Jesus commanded. Just as humans are hardwired for life, they also thirst for truth, goodness, and beauty. These are the ultimate human desires.

Human sinfulness, however, has distorted what God has made: in the reality of our fallen world, sin produces deceit, evil, and hideousness. Our task in creating kingdom culture means combating lies with truth, evil with goodness, and the hideous with beauty.

Christ is king of both heaven and earth. He has a task for all Christians, wherever they are deployed, and that task is nothing less than the discipling (might we even say the building up?) of nations. This primary responsibility has two secondary tasks: to baptize nations overwhelming them with the nature and character of God; and to teach them to be obedient to all that Christ has commanded them, transforming them to reflect the truth, goodness, and beauty of God’s kingdom.

Christ is king of both heaven and earth. He has a task for all Christians, wherever they are deployed, and that task is nothing less than the discipling (might we even say the building?) of nations. This primary responsibility has two secondary tasks: to baptize nations  overwhelming them with the nature and character of God; and to teach them to be obedient to all that Christ has commanded them, transforming them to reflect the truth, goodness, and beauty of God’s kingdom.

Roosevelt believed in truth, goodness, and beautyAs Western societies abandoned biblical theism, the cultural trinity of truth, goodness, and beauty was steadily overtaken by a so-called “new morality.” Theodore Roosevelt, twenty-sixth president of the United States, witnessed firsthand the slide from Christian liberty to atheistic license:

There are those who believe that a new modernity demands a new morality. What they fail to consider is the harsh reality that there is no such thing as a new morality. There is only one morality. All else is immorality. There is only true Christian ethic over against which stands the whole of paganism.

License is not freedom

License switches the labels on truth, goodness, and beauty. In this framework, if people believe your lie it becomes true! In secular humanist ethics, tolerance of immorality is virtue, and defending morality is vice; darkness becomes light; the vulgar becomes beautiful.

License unleashes a person to do what feels good without any constraints. English humanist and novelist Aldous Huxley states clearly and honestly,

Huxley denigrated truth, goodness, and beautyI had motives for not wanting the world to have meaning; consequently assumed it had none, and was able to find satisfactory reasons for this assumption. … For myself, as no doubt for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom.

Modern libertines like Huxley want to free humankind from moral absolutes and from traditional institutions like the family and the church. They want to revert to a “natural” state in which people follow their animal instincts.

For the West to survive, those who value freedom and morality must return to the truth, beauty, and goodness of Judeo-Christian culture and courageously reengage the society. If they do not, the opposing side will win the culture war by default, and life in the West will change dramatically. It is essential for us to understand that free societies come not from deistic or atheistic philosophy but from Judeo-Christian theism.

People respond to Jesus’ love demonstrated

The same cannot be said of Islam. In December 2001, in an Al-Jazeera television interview, Sheikh Ahmad al-Qataani made the startling claim, “Every day, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity.” Even if this number is exaggerated, the claim of widespread conversion is supported by other, more recent data. What is driving this astonishing move to Christ? Just this: as people made in God’s image, Muslims are repelled by jihadist hatred and violence. They are in fact hardwired for love. Muslims are rejecting evil and responding to the demonstrated love of Christ.

as salt of the earth we bring truth, goodness, and beautyJesus Christ declares of his people, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matt. 5:13–14). Like salt, Christians are to season, heal, and preserve society. Like light, they are to reveal truth, goodness, and beauty in the midst of a dark world.

The kingdom offensive begins with recognizing “Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). It commences with people putting their faith in Christ for their salvation. Christ died to save the whole of each person and all of their relationships. But this is not the end; it is the beginning. The kingdom offensive puts feet to the prayer, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We are conduits of truth, goodness, and beauty to our atheistic and Muslim neighbors. We are to engage in a love-and-service offensive. Our message?

Life is better than death.

Health is better than sickness.

Liberty is better than slavery.

Prosperity is better than poverty.

Education is better than ignorance.

Justice is better than injustice.9

Christians must resist tyranny

God’s Trinitarian nature is manifested in culture through truth, goodness, and beauty. Christians are to embody and create culture that reflects these elements of God’s nature.

The church is to counter the modern and postmodern culture. At times, Christians must form the core of the resistance to political, social, and economic tyranny. Rick Pearcey, editor of The Pearcey Report, makes a clarion call to stand against tyranny and injustice:

Pearcey teaches about truth, goodness, and beautyHuman beings are creatures of resistance. There is a sense in which we are hardwired to rebel—not against good, but against evil. Not against life in community with our Creator and our neighbor, but against that which, if not resisted, alienates us from the good, the true and the beautiful—including freedom. So of course a creature destined for freedom is a creature of resistance against tyranny. And so the founders in the Declaration affirm the “right” and “duty” to “throw off” a government that has as its “direct object … the establishment of an absolute Tyranny.”

How can the New Resistance win the culture war? First, do not allow a demonizing name-calling to slow you down. Second, stand up, proudly, as citizens of resistance. And third, stand up, magnificently, as human beings—as creatures of resistance “blessed” that way by the Creator to say “no!” to tyranny and “yes!” to freedom.

Speak truth to power, goodness to evil, beauty to crudeness

These points of resistance are grounded in the kingdom culture of truth, goodness, and beauty.

First, we are to speak truth to power. This may be as simple as starting a blog or writing letters to the editor to challenge prevailing opinions. It may be homeschooling children or establishing charter schools that function from a biblical worldview and principles. Or it may be to serve on a school board or introduce a supplemental curriculum into a public school setting.

Second, we are to confront corruption, injustice, and evil with goodness, justice, and wholesomeness. The civil rights and pro-life movements are examples of this. We might choose to have a larger family (being fruitful and multiplying) in the face of the anti-family movement.

Third, we are to habitually bring beauty into the “small places” of home, work, school, and recreation. We are to model excellent work in the marketplace. We are to live the Word so that it becomes flesh to the world around us.

  • Darrow Miller

This DM&F Classic blog post is excerpted/adapted from the book Emancipating the World. For the entire text go here.


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Darrow is co-founder of the Disciple Nations Alliance and a featured author and teacher. For over 30 years, Darrow has been a popular conference speaker on topics that include Christianity and culture, apologetics, worldview, poverty, and the dignity of women. From 1981 to 2007 Darrow served with Food for the Hungry International (now FH association), and from 1994 as Vice President. Before joining FH, Darrow spent three years on staff at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland where he was discipled by Francis Schaeffer. He also served as a student pastor at Northern Arizona University and two years as a pastor of Sherman Street Fellowship in urban Denver, CO. In addition to earning his Master’s degree in Adult Education from Arizona State University, Darrow pursued graduate studies in philosophy, theology, Christian apologetics, biblical studies, and missions in the United States, Israel, and Switzerland. Darrow has authored numerous studies, articles, Bible studies and books, including Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Culture (YWAM Publishing, 1998), Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women for Building Healthy Cultures (InterVarsity Press, 2008), LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day (YWAM, 2009), Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion (YWAM, 2015), and more. These resources along with links to free e-books, podcasts, online training programs and more can be found at Disciple Nations Alliance (https://disciplenations.org).