What the Gospel Offers this Moment

I’ve recently found myself returning again and again to the fantastic offer The Gospel makes to humanity. Especially in this moment of cultural disintegration.

The long, slow story of Civilization is the tale of disparate groups setting aside their differences to cooperate in a vision of a grander future. Tribes lay down their arms and instead link arms in an on-going conversation to first find, then protect, reasons to work together, rather than bash each other over the head and take their stuff. Civilization ought not to be confused with Empire. Some empires were merely the emergence of a tribe that was able for a time to dominate others. Civilization is different. It’s a unifying vision that seeks to incorporate others in pursuit of a better future. It recognizes the need to reinforce values that provide advantages for different groups to work together.

The Greco-Roman Empire endured for a thousand years precisely because it was a civilization. When the political structures disintegrated in Europe in the Fifth Century, there was only one institution left standing to provide leadership; The Church. It did so with varying success during the early centuries of the Middle Ages until regional rulers emerged to establish a new system of governance called Feudalism. The years the Church served as a Steward of Civilization in Europe, steering it till civil rulers reasserted control, saw a Christian worldview invested in the warp and woof of European civilization. 

We leap-frog ahead to the Modern Era with modern nation-states. It was the insertion of the Christian worldview during the Middle Ages that eventually saw the emergence of modern liberal democracy with the myriad benefits and blessings it has brought the Planet. For a history of modern liberal democracy and its many benefits, see Suicide of the West by Jonah Goldberg.

One of those benefits is the unity forged from what would otherwise be warring factions to work cooperatively for the common good. That flowed from the Apostle Paul’s vision of a new humanity formed by a common faith in Christ. He stated it this way in Galatians 3:26–28 …

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 

There are no more civilization-encouraging words than those. They were used as the intellectual gist for the mill of political mechanisms that produced a society that enjoys a level of personal freedom and prosperity unheard of before or since.

But the Christian worldview that provides the intellectual core for that society has been systematically excised from it. The unity that makes civilization possible is fragmenting back into a hostile tribalism where different groups claim recognition and legitimacy, not on what they have done FOR society, but rather, how that society was mistreated them. Victimhood is now a virtue; something people clamor to identify by.

Even the concept of the value in being a victim lies in a Christian worldview. Imagine a First Century BC Gaul claiming to be a victim of Julius Caesar’s campaigns. He would be laughed at. To self-identify as a victim throughout most of history would have earned one nothing but ridicule. It is the Gospel’s elevation of The Cross and suffering for righteousness’ sake that sanctifies the victim.

Western Civilization is reverting to a post-modern tribalism because the Christian Worldview that provided its vision and energy has been systematically gutted from the public square. 

The Gospel holds forth the promise of a new identity that unites people in the Family of God. As the culture around us degenerates into a battlefield of warring tribes, let us hold forth the vision the first Christians did, one that eventually transformed the world. In Christ, we are one body, one church, one faith, one hope.

1 thought on “What the Gospel Offers this Moment”

  1. I just found the Enduring Word site. I’m reading the book of Job right now. I’m a PK and PW but a PW with addendum adding my husband’s clinical detour to dentistry. In 2001, we lost our only child. She had just been married. My life literally felt like Job. Not only did I lose my child but business, home and divorce all within 1 year. My return to God has been rapid at first and very slow thru the years. I’ve read Job many times and never fully understood it until I read the Enduring Word Commentary on chapters, 35-37. I sought comfort from friends and church to comfort me and all deserted me because they didn’t understand my grief. But God understood and has been leading in a journey that has brought me peace and awe at His sovereignty. This is the story of this humble servant, like Job, who has eternity to study Him, should I remain faithful. That I seek God instead of others and their opinions is what Job is all about. Thank you Enduring Word for the commentary and solving the story of Job for me.

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