Darrow Miller and Friends

Fresh Eyes Offer Re-Enchantment with the Full Biblical Story

In these tumultuous times, we find two groups of people pointing the culture at large to the God of the Bible. Of course, we predictably find the church in all her many iterations pointing people to God. The second group is much more surprising and rather unexpected.

Christian believers are facing a problem: we have little to no cultural influence. We find ourselves predominantly ghettoized, primarily by our own choices, leaving the woke neo-Marxist religion to do with the culture as they will. This movement has captured most of our cultural institutions and raised their banners by force.

By and large, we were caught off guard by this anti-Christian, anti-God tsunami. But we ought not be so surprised. Way back when Darwinism was on the rise with its racist, materialistic theory, we left the culture to fend for itself by privatizing our faith. We live for God in our homes, with our families, and in our places of worship. As for the culture at large, many of us have no idea where to even start, feeling overwhelmed by the chaos, and we may even have some questions about whether we should care. So, it should not surprise us that we now find ourselves in a cultural wasteland that is overtaken by people with evil agendas. We, as the church, abandoned our post as the garden tenders of the nations. What did we expect?

We abdicated our role primarily by losing track of our calling as the church. We are the ones commissioned to disciple culture, teaching them to obey what Jesus taught. We lost our drive and our confidence that Jesus loves and wants to redeem the whole world. We made a deal with the devil, so to speak, and said “We will take the ‘spiritual stuff.’ You all take everything else.” We pulled our presence and our biblical perspective back from essential cultural pillars like the arts, media and education. With these two mountains overrun by perversion, it was only a matter of time before the culture condoned and legalized things like abortion, same-sex marriage and transgenderism.

At the same time, we also didn’t see a lot of the attack coming because the siege was mostly underground. The very underpinnings of Western civilization, based on biblical truths, upon which most of us have built our lives, our families and our nations for centuries are being brutally attacked under our feet. Underpinnings like: man and woman are made in the image of God; marriage is between a man and woman; and rights like free speech, freedom of religion, and freedom to gather. These are all under major attack and it’s hard for us to know how to respond.

It’s as if we live in a home built upon the values our faith has informed in generations past, and there are now movements in the culture that are taking sledgehammers to the basement and the beams that hold it up. Now we as the church are having to consider whether we know what our foundation is made of, much less how to rebuild its damaged ruins.

What I find quite encouraging and somewhat surprising is the second group of people, a new movement of people, public intellectuals, many of whom have a wider platform of influence than most in the church; these are people who may or may not believe in Christ. It is this band of former agnostics and atheists who are now forming another cohort of people pointing the culture to God. These people are examining the quickly disintegrating foundations of Western civilization and are looking for understanding about what once grounded us as a culture. They are discovering that Christianity and the Bible are the true foundations that made this beautiful home of righteousness, freedom, creativity and plurality in their nations. They acknowledge that the Bible is the source for the greatness found in Western Civilization!

We can go down the list of people who may not profess Jesus as their own personal King who now honor Him and His Word as foundational to the civilizational values they hold dear: Jordan Peterson, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Tucker Carlson, Louise Perry, Naomi Wolf … and more are joining their ranks almost daily.

How are we as the church to respond to these sojourners? Quite simply, it’s my contention that we need to thank God for them. They have what we need as much as we have what they need.

We must identify in these classical liberals the nutrients of insight that we as a church in the West desperately need. We need them to help us reexamine the influence of the Bible on Western Civilization.

Unfortunately, we as the people of God have accepted a sidelined place in culture because we have embraced a dualistic worldview and have forgotten our true calling. We must train our minds in the biblical reality that all of life is sacred.  Every activity should be lived with the intentional awareness that God has something to say about it. We must learn to disciple not only other individual people in the truths of the Bible, but we must learn to train those same individuals to have vision for effecting culture as we work to build families, businesses, neighborhoods and entire communities.

We, as the church, have bowed out of the public conversation and now we see intimidating guards standing watch who threaten to “cancel” us or make our lives miserable. We can find comfort in this growing group of intellectuals who have already walked through the fire of public scrutiny and the cancel culture. They are still alive and well and are speaking out against the tyranny of our day. We must remember that we are the stewards of the revelatory Light of the world, Jesus calls us the light as He is the Light. We hold the Gospel of the Kingdom in our collective conscience and that Gospel is the antidote to these cultural cancers we now see spreading so rapidly.

Too often, we have truncated the Gospel of the Kingdom to the Gospel of Salvation and thus have nothing to say to the culture at large. But our history in the West speaks for itself in terms of the influence of Biblical worldview, principles, and values. The seedbed of the Bible alone has wisdom that can cure our nations, giving us principles and a foundation through the character and story of the living God. It is the foundation for human rights and flourishing, for family, labor, freedom, redemption, creation, science, and art. We are talking cultural formation from Genesis to Revelation. The people who understand this are the thinkers who are often outside our ghettos looking in and reflecting on the Christian foundations of our nations.

In many ways, this new movement of intellectuals from the outside are challenging the church to be what God intended us to be: those who guard and cultivate our gardens, our own lives, our families, our neighborhoods, our communities and our nations. May we not turn on these thinkers and reject them because they don’t quite fit into our side-lined club. May we hear them, thank God for them, befriend them, and learn from them. And may we, through the process, remember who we are: the Ecclesia, the called out delegated stewards of the earth.

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About 
Naomi Smith is wife to Austin Smith and a stay at home mother of three living in Wichita, KS. She became fascinated with understanding the world through a Biblical lens after she was confronted with the reality of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection at age 21. Since then, she avidly hunts for what is true, good, and beautiful in every area of her own life and the lives of flourishing cultures. She wrote a book called Home Inspired: A Look at the Micro-Nation of Home for New Moms and has a particular passion to help mothers thrive as they take on the task of bringing the Kingdom of God into their homes. She and her husband love to host all kinds of people at their home with the intention of sharing these kingdom principles with their community and friends.

6 Comments

  1. Rich Lorenzo

    May 23, 2024 - 3:37 pm
    Reply

    Love it Naomi! So true. May we as followers of Jesus be and do what you describe in the last paragraph.

  2. William

    May 23, 2024 - 3:37 pm
    Reply

    Beautiful and well thought out explanation of how we have preached a truncated gospel wit no legs to walk out the Kingdom in our culture. Thank you, Naomi, for that presentation. I pray we will welcome those who are discovering the depth and beauty of the Gospel of the Kingdom of the heavens.

  3. luke

    May 23, 2024 - 7:54 pm
    Reply

    Excellent blog. Thanks, Naomi!

  4. Ranee

    May 28, 2024 - 7:33 am
    Reply

    Very interesting read. I do wonder though if we as Christians accept and follow the world as they inflame people to violence, and encourage people to hate instead of love, are we not stepping away from what Jesus called us to do. Are we so focused on protecting our “rights” as Americans that we are not heeding the call to take up our cross and follow Jesus.

    • Naomi

      June 4, 2024 - 4:52 am
      Reply

      Ranee,
      Thank you for this perspective. I don’t ever think it’s Jesus’ mandate to encourage hating people or people groups. That hate usually comes from a sense of lack, self-protection and fear. He has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. He obviously calls us as His disciples to go the way of the cross and sacrificially love and serve people and people groups.

      Also, Jesus’ inheritance is the nations. (Psalm 2) If we love Him, then we love the nations too. And the nations are being influenced by either the ways of the Lord or the ways of the world. We’ve seen what kind of bondage and death the ways of the world bring to entire people groups. We as the church are called to be salt and light not only to individuals or families but to entire nations. We love what He love and we hate what He hates and we endeavor to enforce the boundaries our Father gives and to align culture with those boundaries for the flourishing of all people.

  5. Darrow Miller

    May 30, 2024 - 10:53 am
    Reply

    Great piece Naomi. So perceptive of our times and the need for the church to engage in shaping culture.

    DLM

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