A Consequence of a Divided Church

by Alexei Laushkin

As many of us recover from Trump exhaustion and yet another shooting in Florida (click here), I want us to take a moment to think about a big picture problem that may not be as evident.Our lack of common language and its origins.

I’ve recently been reading a book Good Faith by Gabe Lyons and David Kinneman (click here). I know Gabe personally, David by reputation.  Their work describes the attitudes of those outside of the evangelical community towards the evangelical community. As you might guess, not good. Intolerant. Hateful. Extreme. And on and on.

As a whole it’s a rendition off of questions Rod Dreher and others are attempting to ask and answer when they propose the Benedict option (click here). What to do with a culture that doesn’t like you.

All this work is attempting to answer a very basic question. And to be honest a lot of the answers end up sounding very similar. We’re disliked, let’s deal with that, we believe what we believe, let’s articulate that. It gets very tiring.

In the wake of the shootings in Dallas and Baton Rogue, columnists where openly asking, like this one here (click here), have we lost our common language as a culture and society?

That’s an interesting question and, honestly, so is how to deal with people that aren’t like you, but I want to ask a totally different question.

Why do we expect the culture to have a common language when Christians themselves have ceased using one in their own context?

We can endlessly debate what the culture will do and whether people will respond to the gospel and we should. How do we convert Muslims and atheists and nonbelievers to the Christian faith. That should be asked and wrestled with and worked through.

How do we love those who don’t share our views on marriage and abortion and on and on. Excellent to work through living with difference and working to persuade and being amicable and kind to all people. Very healthy questions.

Yet we have a bigger problem. We can’t seem to muster a common Christian conviction across many different kinds of Christians. From mainline, evangelical, Catholic, and Orthodox. We are creating moral meaning at odds and opposed to one another. A house divided itself will quickly lose a culture.

Many of our differences are legitimate, but if we don’t have a common language among ourselves, what hope is there for the culture?

Surely one thing we can attend to is working through living with difference among many types of Christians and calling us still to a common unity.

Pope Francis calls one form of unity the unity of martyrdom. We have Christians being persecuted the world over. Legitimately so, by any standard and definition. I am in favor of letting persecuted people in from many backgrounds and nations. Muslims welcome.  Bhutanese refugees welcome. Yazidi welcome. Displaced people welcome. But that ought to include Christians legitimately threatened with extinction in context.

It is a scandal of epic proportions that fellow American Christians cannot be stirred to a common witness on so basic a question.

Friends our common language problem actually begins at home long before it begins in the culture.

Alexei Laushkin is a Board Member of the Kingdom Mission Society, Vice-President of the Evangelical Environmental Network, and writer of the Foolishconfidence blog. His views are his own. 

 

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