Saturday, August 04, 2007

Cheese, Fundamentalism, and the Antithesis, no. 2

With a title this good, it demands two posts. Having reflected on the fundamentalist side of this conversation between my friends Rick Phillips and Carl Trueman, the more interesting (and untouched) part of their exchange touches on the divide within the Reformed world. Because what I heard in Rick's comments particularly may actually help us diagnosis why sometimes Reformed-types don't get along so well.

At one point, Rick wrote, "Frankly, because of the big idea of antithesis, I am more comfortable with the fundamentalists than I am with the broad evangelicals. More and more, broad evangelicals do not get the idea of antithesis, and for this reason even when they have a pretty good formal doctrinal statement, they seldom really stand up for it. In Psalm 1 terms, the broad evangelicals are to willing to 'walk in the counsel of the ungodly.' Broad evangelicals want to be successful; fundamentalists want to be faithful." Aside from the fact that I heard this regularly as a student at BJU, this observation is striking for a number of reasons.

If you think about this in terms of the Reformed world, I think you get a good sense of the divide that sometimes characterizes us and it is a leftover of the Kuyperian legacy--there are those who stress the "antithesis" and those who stress "common grace."

Those who stress "common grace" tend to want to engage the culture and seek its transformation. They want to read current novels, watch the current movies, listen to the current music and find continuing echoes of Eden. They want to produce art that reflects honestly the brokenness of the world as well as the possibility of redemption, science that affirms the purposefulness of all creation, history that looks unflinchingly and critically, yet hopefully, at its subjects, politics that seeks proximate love and justice. And they want to do these things as part of God's work of redemption in this present age, knowing that God's grace has gone before them in these various spheres.

Those who stress the "antithesis" note that the world has never been a safe place for Christians and the church (Matthew 5:10-12; John 16:33) and that the world itself is passing away (1 Cor 7:33; 1 John 2:17). As a result, they want to name the world as "the world" (to use Stanley Hauerwas' memorable way of putting it) and only the church in the preaching of the Gospel can do that. They want to take seriously the noetic effects of sin, the continuing reality of the world's brokenness, the continued influence of the devil in the world, the real temptations of power and influence and their corrupting nature upon the church. Above all, they want to maintain the "holiness" of the church (remember, it is the one holy catholic and apostolic church, they would say) and the purity of the its doctrine (not just peace and unity, but purity of the church is in the PCA ordination vows).

There are dangers on both sides. Those who overstress the antithesis tend toward a separatism that leads to ghettoization. My wife and I went back to BJU while on vacation and it struck us once again how time sort of stands still there. Going into the bookstore, there were, proportionally, very few books written after 1995 (although I was thankful for all the Banner of Truth and Sprinkle publication reprints there). When I was a student, I rebelled against this sense that it was dangerous to engage the academic world; I wanted to participate in the larger academic conversations that were simply not available to me there. I felt like we were talking to ourselves.

Now, to be fair, my friends and I often felt that the same thing happened when I was at WTS. We called it the "Clark-Van Til vortex." Whenever we were in class, some student would inevitably raise his hand and say, "You know, this really all goes back to Clark-Van Til." I would then draw a vortex on my paper and hold it up for my friend to see as we slipped into the vortex for 30 or 40 minutes of point-counterpoint on these issues. We often felt that the issues we would debate at WTS were in our own little ghetto of the Reformed world, separated and cordoned off from the rest of the world. I don't think we wanted to be "successful"; but we did want to be engaged.

To be candid, I think that when some of our Reformed brothers talk about "Reformed sectarianism," what they mean is the kind of separatism that an overemphasis upon the antithesis can foster. They want to read N. T. Wright, Lesslie Newbigin, Stanley Hauerwas; they want to be involved in the larger theological conversations. And it may be that our recent debates about justification were (for some) as much about whom am I allowed to read as anything else--whether intellectual separatism that draws from an overemphasis upon the antithesis would develop a list of prohibited books (like the "blacklist" of prohibited churches that BJU used to maintain when I was a student).

There is a danger on the other side: those who overstress common grace tend toward a triumphalist culturekampf that can lead to secularization. Sometimes I wonder if there are no boundaries in our willingness to engage culture, looking for hints of Eden. I was at a pastors gathering a few weeks ago and one of the guys was talking about a recent R-rated movie that he watched; his evaluation was, "Well, it was terribly violent and there was one pornographic scene in it." Another of the guys at the table said, "Oh yeah, I want to see that movie too." I left wondering whether these ministers would think well of me if I went to a bar in East St. Louis, Illinois, to witness a murder and watch a stripper; that strikes me as a moral equivalent.

Now, to be fair, we need Christians who think deeply about the cultural artifacts of our moment in time, who exegete our culture and present the Gospel to it. Don't hear what I am not saying: we need apologists. My fear is that in our attempts to transform culture through engagement of it, to be "relevant," that we will end up seeing the Holy Spirit in the spirit of the age to such a degree that the Spirit becomes the age's spirit and vice versa. In doing so, the church can become so secular that Leviticus 11:44 and 1 Peter 1:16 become nice pastoral advice for some people somewhere--but not us and not now.

To be candid, this is what I hear in Rick's concern. He is fearful that the church is sliding morally and doctrinally toward a liberalism that sadly replicates the late 19th and early 20th centuries, that loses sight of the Gospel and its transformative power, and that trades its spiritual birthright for a mess of relevant soup.

In the light of all this, I think in the Reformed world, and especially in the PCA, we need to recognize some things: First, it is not possible to reconcile common grace and the antithesis; Kuyper couldn't, lots of smart Dutch theologians haven't, and I don't expect we will either.

Second, recognizing this, we should realize that we will probably tend toward one side or the other--part of this will be family of origin issues, early religious training, personality predilections, etc.

Third, as we lean one way or the other, we need to become much more self-critical. There are a number of complex reasons why we see the world the way we do; we need to be honest with ourselves so that we don't simply sanctify our ideology as "biblical" when it might be deeply flawed.

Fourth, we also need to recognize the dangers inherent in the way we lean and try to hedge against them. For example, I recognize that by training, background, etc., I probably lean toward the antithesis--my hedge is that I am constantly trying to engage the academic world, recognizing that God's grace is to be found there as well in the scholarship produced by unbelievers or those who have different Christian commitments from mine.

Finally, above all, we need to exercise the judgment of charity toward each other. By recognizing the dangers in our position, we are freed to recognize the value of the other--I can affirm my brothers and sisters who in common grace run coffee houses and line their churches with their art in order to engage in conversations with others. They bring something to the body of Christ that I don't bring; they are "jazz" to my "three-chords and a chorus" (1 Cor 12:12-27). I need those who emphasis common grace; and they, frankly, need me.

After all, if someone brings aerosol cheese to a party, someone else needs to bring crackers. Unless you are Carl Trueman--who points the cheese can directly into his mouth and sprays.

15 comments:

Travis said...

dr. lucas,

i greatly appreciated this post and i think in many ways you've put your finger on the way forward. particularly the need to become more self-critical. it seems to me that in this perennial debate folks in both camps (including myself) forget to remove the plank from our own eyes before pointing at the sawdust in our brother's.

with that said, and knowing that i have a log firmly planted in my skull, there are a few thoughts i'd like to add as someone who leans on the common grace end of the spectrum.

first, i'm sure it was simply an oversight but when you layed out the two positions you only cited biblical support for the antithesis position. in all fairness there is just as much biblical support for the common grace/engagement side of the spectrum. paul's ministry among the athenians is one example but a stronger one would be the whole role of the incarnation as a model for christian ministry and engagement (jn 17:18). in addition there is the fact that the new testament doesn't just speak of this world as passing away. there's also the declaration that all things are being reconciled and made new in Christ (col 1:15-20; rev 21:5).

second, i think the problem with the heavy antithesis crew is more than just a tendency towards ghettoization. legalism and pharisaism tend to breed here as well. if i read the gospels correctly the harshest words to come from the lips of Christ were usually directed towards ghettoized religious legalists. if Christ critiqued this position then we must say that there is something inherently unholy about christian ghetto life with its legalism. in all fairness the engagement crew can easily fall into the sins of disdain and patronization towards "less cultured" brothers which is just as ugly and dangerous to the Body.

third, i'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on how eschatological perspective shapes this whole discussion. as someone who has moved from a dispensational premil position to an amil position i have seen a corresponding shift in my approach to culture. obviously the postmil camp has a vested interest in this discussion as well. though i'm biased i do think the amillennial position provides the best grounds for holding the tension in the antithesis/engagement command. thoughts?

finally, i think the willingness of postmoderns to embrace mystery can instruct the church in this discussion. you said "it is not possible to reconcile common grace and the antithesis" and affected by my generational position, i say "fine, let's just live them." returning to the idea of the incarnation i think the answer here is the fact the we worship a person and not an ideology or position. our Lord is wholly holy. He is also wholly enaged in the affairs of this world as well as the individual cultures that exist in it because all things were created through Him and for Him and in Him all things hold together. knowing this we can admit that we don't have all the answers and that our way ahead is fraught/blessed with mystery. then we "simply" walk by the grace of Christ in the steps of Christ down the path of holy engagement.

okay, i'm done. sorry for such a long comment.

Jeff Kerr said...

Dr. Lucas,

Thank you so very much for this post. It is something I have been struggling with lately.

In my Christian background, I certainly tended toward the antithetical. But my time at Covenant has encouraged me to emphasize common grace.

While I am often inclined to embrace one and reject the other (depending on the issue du jour), I think it is necessary always to hold the two in tension. And, as you so rightly pointed out, we must always be self-critical and aware of where we stand on this spectrum.

Blessings,
Jeff

Sean Michael Lucas said...

Travis: As always, thanks for your thoughtful post. You are right; I didn't mean to slight the common grace biblical support--I almost posted your comment on the main page so that your excellent summary could be seen.

A couple of things: your point on eschatology is interesting. Of course, the postmils would look at the amils and say we are hopelessly pessimistic, no better than the premils. I guess I would say that amils are more realistic; we try to hold the mystery/tension of common grace/antithesis while recognizing only Jesus' return is going to resolve anything or redeem the world finally.

I also think your final point is right and is probably closest to my own practice. I think, though, that too often our retreat to mystery can simply be excuse for sloppy thinking or an unwillingness to be self-critical (I know that is not what you are saying). But you are right--we try to follow Jesus where he leads, satisfying ourselves ultimately in him and engaging the world as he leads us.

Thanks again, sml

Genghiz Caan said...

First, I wonder if fundamentalism is really antithetical in the way that Reformed theology is. Is it not rather built upon a radical sacred-secular divide?

Second, the problem with maintaining the antithesis is surely that people are always more than just intellects, often inconsistent, always sinful. Arguably, it is easier to explain to one's kids non-Christian hypocrisy than Christian hypocrisy. Could one thus argue provocatively that it's actually easier for parents to maintain the antithesis within the secular school system becuase the lines are so much more clearly drawn?

Third, are you really the long lost brother of Rob Lowe? I think your fan base deserve a straight answer on that one, sunshine.

Anonymous said...

My understanding might be easier to understand… general evangelicals versus reformed.

The differences seem to me to be broad evangelicals versus reformed evangelicals with the latter tending to separatism, the former to cultural engagement.

In I Corinthians 6:12, God tells us “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”

It takes a good understanding of all of God’s revealed Word to understand and place in context the intricacies of history, modern art and philosophy. It also takes a good level of moral maturity (grace) and accountability to not get sucked in by them.

Reformed Theology, though more developed and defined, leaves room for engaging the culture. It doesn’t stop with a general principle of separation from the world that overarches the growth and operation of the kingdom of God. This Reformed understanding is guarded by constant reflection on the effects of sin (which the fundamentalists help us understand) and the knowledge that things will both get better as God’s ways are promoted and practiced here on earth and, at the same time not get better until Jesus comes and makes all things right. These are not antithetical or irreconcilable, but only limitations of men’s minds that require faith in the wisdom, power and grace of the Creator who set up His Creation to operate that way.

It seems to me we do a fairly good job in the Presbyterian system and the PCA particularly to surface a more comprehensive understanding of all of Scripture within the context of all of Scripture from grass roots up. In line with the Reformed understanding of total depravity, there is both doctrinally and structurally more accountability, which helps set the lawful but not expedient. By God’s grace this is the “hedge” of common grace with antithesis and vice versa.

Phil said...

Might we make progress on the common grace-antithesis problem by taking Deut. 20:10ff (over Jer. 29:7ff) as our metaphor? Our warfare would be total yet spiritual (2 Cor. 10:4-6), promoting “antithesis,” yet we could appreciate the wonderful cities and homes and vineyards the ungodly have build, promoting “common grace” (or “common providence”).

Will said...

First, let me say how much I appreciate your willingness to tackle this. I think you’ve presented the difficult tension well and reminded us all of the desperate need to keep the tension in balance.

I must take a little issue with your positive paintings of the “BJU-style” fundamentalism. I graduated from BJU with a B.A. in Bible and graduated from a dispensational, fundamental seminary with a M.Div. It was at Bob Jones that I went from Arminian to Calvinist. It was in seminary that I went from dispensationalist to PCA (although I’m still making that journey). I think you may be putting an overly undeserved positive spin on contemporary fundamentalism by describing it as a movement that is “determined to do whatever God in his Word says to do, leading to a passion for missions and evangelism.” Many people are zealous, but a zeal without knowledge is sometimes useless and sometimes dangerous. I know you are just as familiar as I am with the evangelistic techniques that fundamentalism offers. Those techniques are often based on a terrible misunderstanding of the gospel. I’m not sure that deserves such praise as you’ve given it.

You also say that fundamentalists are “serious about piety.” I would agree that they mean well, but they are seriously misguided. Phariseeism and piety are two very different things. Unfortunately they tend toward the former more than the later too often.

Like you, I appreciate my heritage. And despite the negative content of this response, I really do respect many of my professors and friends from the fundamentalist world. However, I am not as convinced as you are that their approach to holiness is a biblical approach or an approach informed by a biblical world view.

That being said, I certainly agree wholeheartedly that the members of the body of Christ need each other very much. The last thing we need to be doing is cutting each other off (like fundamentalists) or confusing who we are (like the common gracers).

Sean Michael Lucas said...

Hi, Will:

I appeciate your response. I can certainly grant that we can look at the same phenonmenon from two different angles. As I mentioned, I have a little bit more of a willingness to see the positive sides of those phenomenon that you mention. I too came to the doctrines of grace while at Bob Jones through my classes there--and while there are certainly things that make me wince at times, still I can affirm the good.

Best, sml

Anonymous said...

question:

regarding your reference to n. t. wright in the o.p.: is he REALLY that far outside Biblical, historically reformed faith as to warrant a mention from you that posits him as being read by those who want to step well outside the reformed stream? granted, i haven't read him on Paul (yet), but what I have read (historical Jesus summary, postmodern apology, and defense of authority of Scripture) don't seem so far outside reformed faith.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Sean. I've heard both Don Carson and David Wells say this year that Niebuhr's various Christ-culture models are each dangerous if used exclusively, and all valid to a degree. Different times and cultural settings require different emphases and combinations of these approaches. I heard David say that, while right now he'd prefer more emphasis on antithesis (Christ against culture) he believes that there are great dangers in being too culturally disengaged as well. Don Carson is coming out with a book that makes similar points. Sounds a lot like what you say here.

-- Tim Keller

Baus said...

A very important response to this topic HERE:
http://prosthesis.blogspot.com/2007/08/dooyeweerd-antithesis-and-common-grace.html

Sean Michael Lucas said...

Thanks, baus, for the link. I skimmed through the article and I think this is one of the places where Dooyweerd tried to improve and systematize Kuyper. For Kuyper clearly argues in Lectures on Calvinism and elsewhere that the antithesis is between life-systems; he also argued that these life-systems produce different kinds of science; and ultimately that the paligenesis produces two different kinds of scientists. Perhaps Dooyweerd is correct in what he does--but Kuyper certainly allowed for a broader application of the antithesis than the article you reference (and ultimately Dooyweerd) does. FWIW, sml

Baus said...

Happy to throw in my two cents. I curate The Kuyperian, so I may have opportunity to address there at more length what you say about Kuyper's view.

But I suspect that what you take as a "broader" application is misunderstood. Kuyper knew that even the regenerate might not be consistent with the roots of a proper Christian Worldview (viz, Calvinism). So, the antithesis is not Christians vs. nonChristians such that it is possible to "over-emphasize" it and end up ghettoized.

Anyway, it's an important conversation... so I'm grateful for your making it a topic of discussion. We need much more.

Feeding on Christ said...

Sean, I wanted to sent down a few of the dangers that seem to be looming on the “culturally relevant” side of this discussion. I would certain classify myself as someone who believes the doctrine of “common grace” and I also want to be culturally relevant for the spread of the Gospel. But the question that has not often been raised, and it seems to me is simply being dismissed, is that of, “what will be the end result of spending so much time analyzing culture rather than seeking to spreading the word of God to the people of that culture?” I would like set down ten considerations on this subject and get your response:

First, the pastors/theologians who have promoted the study of culture have
themselves often been much more grounded in the Scriptures than those who follow their
advice about studying culture. This will result in a culturally educated church and a
biblically illiterate church (Sadly, this is not far from the truth already. Just ask any
church member under the age of 30 if they have ever heard of Jeremiah’s sash!—which is
found, incidentally, in Jeremiah 13.)

Second, the simple fact of the matter is that many in the Reformed church under
the age of forty (and for that matter often times just under the age of fifty or sixty) have
been seeped in culture most of their lives—a culture, I would remind you, out of which so
many were graciously delivered. Can a culture be sinful? This seems certainly to be the
conclusion of calling the culture in which we live “secular.” According to the definition
of culture given above we must conclude that culture is comprised of more than just art,
musical genres, and language. Culture, according to Wikipedia, includes human activity
with its moral systems, behaviors, or habits. The conclusion that we can draw from this is
that culture can be so seeped in sinful behavior that it becomes increasingly difficult to
engage the culture with “cultural relevancy” without ourselves being led into sinful
practice or without condoning, to some extent, sinful behavior. The danger is that we might forget the advice of the apostle Jude who said, “on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh (Jude 23, 24).” So often we don’t know where to draw the line between what is purely cultural and what is sinful. This is not always easy to achieve, but when we fervently study God’s word we are promised that “by reason of use we will be able to distinguish between good and evil (Heb. 5:14).”

Third, One does not have to spend long watching any channel on television, movie in
the theatre or on DVD, listening to music, eating out in restaurants, or simply walking
through clothing stores to see what the culture appreciates, runs after, and values. I have
heard of Reformed seminaries teaching entire courses on cultural studies. This may be
beneficial to a point but I hardly understand why one should have to watch Pulp Fiction
in a seminary class. If culture is not sinful and if it is the environment in which we live
then why do we have to study it in school. If “culture” is the environment in which we
live then why do we have to study culture.

Fourth, When the apostle Paul said, I become all things to all people so that I might
win some,” he did not mean, “I become just like everybody else in all their peculiar ways
in order to win some.” Paul did not begin listening to the various musical genres of the
groups at the Areopagus in order to “reach” them with the Gospel. While it is true that he
did remark of one of their own poets, he did not dwell upon even the name of that poet or
of any of his touring that month! This is a difficult area to address because we would
acknowledge that God uses things of the culture as common talking points but we can be
sure from the apostles ministries that they did not “make it their primary aim” to study the culture in order to be culturally relevant.

Fifth, So often “cultural-analyzers” begin to adopt the sinful elements of culture and
therefore become less distinctively Christ-like when they take to serious “analysis” of
culture. We have forgotten what Martin Lloyd-Jones said in his book on the Sermon on
the Mount, namely, ‘the world is most attracted to the church when the church is least
like the world.” Also the converse truth, “the world is least attracted to the church
when the church is most like the world.” Philip Ryken, in his book City on a Hill quotes a
New York Times reporter who explains that the world has turned to the church in order to
find out what they are and have found that there are no answers coming from the church
because the church has become exactly like the world.
There is a real danger of falling into worldliness while seeking to study the
culture in order to reach the culture with the Gospel. This is just as true of analyzing
culture as it is of analyzing false teaching. The Westminster Directory of Public Worship
says, “In confutation of false doctrines, he (i.e. the minister of the Gospel) is neither to
raise an old heresy from the grave, nor to mention a blasphemous opinion unnecessarily:
but, if the people be in danger of an error, he is to confute it soundly, and endeavor to
satisfy their judgments and consciences against all objections.” I believe that
the pastoral wisdom found in the statement above ought to be carefully considered. Why
did the writers of the Directory of Public Worship say that a minister should not “raise an
old heresy from the grave, nor mention a blasphemous opinion unnecessarily?” What
they were getting at was that we should not unnecessarily bring up heresies because men
and women are very prone to fall into the heresies—even when, and I would say
especially when, ministers are seeking to guard against them. We have recently seen this
in our own times with the reinterpretations of the Pauline doctrine of justification. When
institutions set out to take a stand against a false teaching it is almost inevitable that some
at the school will be attracted to what is being warned against. This has been proven time
and time again throughout history.

Sixth, the product of cultural analysis is often trendy, theologically-inaccurate
phrases or sociological conclusions. One of the most common trendy phrases among
“culture-analyzers” is that well-known saying of St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel
always, use words only when necessary.” While it is should be recognized that the
apostle Peter did teach that a wife could win her husband without a word when he
observed her chaste conduct accompanied by fear, It should be noted that what is
normative for the spread of the Gospel is taught by Paul in Ephesians and Colossians
when he said, Pray for me “that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth
boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel,” and “that God would open to us a door
for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may
make it manifest, as I ought to speak.” When men appeal to the verse in 1 Peter they
almost universally leave out the fact that the husbands which these believing wives are
seeking to win are those who “do not obey the word.” It seems that they have heard the \
Gospel preached and now they must see it lived out.

Seventh, when Abraham Kuyper said, “There is not a square inch in the whole
domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not
cry: 'Mine!'" I don’t think he meant everything that some of the “culture-analyzers” think
that he meant. When the culture analyzers quote Kuyper and say that all of culture needs
to be redeemed I know for sure that Kuyper obviously did not mean that we should start Christian strip clubs in order to minister to the sexually immoral.

Eighth, When Jesus told the disciples to be wise as serpent and gentle as doves I
hardly think he meant “stop confronting people with the word of God and start having
Christian rave parties, or Christian art exhibits, or whatever else might replace giving out
the Gospel.” While it may be entirely appropriate to have Christian art exhibits we should
stop saying that this is the way we preach the Gospel. I have seen paintings that are
supposed to be expressions of the Gospel and my conclusion is that I either do not know
the gospel or they are not representing it very well.

Ninth, I have often heard the excuse, “How can we reach out to those hurting in
culture if we are not submersed in or at least well versed in culture?” Well, I don’t think
Jesus and the apostles had a very hard time with this. Throughout His earthly ministry our
Lord ministered to a multitude of people in various regions of Israel—including Galilee
of the Gentiles.

Tenth, There tends to be a level of human wisdom rather than inspired wisdom
coming from the “cultural analyzers.” This is one of the chief concerns I have with the
whole movement. I have many close friends who have become obsessed with discussions
on studying culture rather than with edifying others with words from Scripture.
Sometimes this observational wisdom comes in what sounds like good advise about how
to maximize the spread of the Gospel. For instance, we are being told that we have to be
in the cities in order to effect cultural Christianization. The logical defense set forth is, “if
the cites are secular and the country-sides are Christian where’s the culture going? Its
going secular. If the cities were Christian and the country-side is secular where’s the
culture going? Its going Christian.” This is not necessarily true. In fact the same
argument could then be made on a higher level. If Hollywood is Christian and the cities
are secular then the cities would become Christian. So instead of planting churches in the
Cities we should be focusing most of our attention on the centers of the music and movie
industry. Sadly this is also the conclusion of so many “cultural analyzers.” Another
mistake by the analysis offered above is that the country-sides cannot be preserved in the
face of secular influence from the cities. What if it is God’s desire to send revival to one
area of North America and not to the nearest major cities? Would we have to conclude
that those country-side areas would not remain Christian because of the influence of the
cities. In fact there is an opposite danger that is not often considered in this discussion.
When Abraham and Lot separated, Abraham told his nephew to choose the place of his
dwelling. Lot chose the lush, populated cities. These were the cities that God intended to
destroy. Was Lot not seeking to change culture in these cities? He most certainly was.
We are told in Genesis that the men of Sodom and Gomorrah came out and said to Lot,
“Who made you a judge over us?” And the Scriptures tell us that righteous Lot’s soul
was tormented by seeing and hearing the wicked deeds of the men of the city. I am
certainly not saying that we should not plant churches in the city but we should realize
that there we will endure persecution and at times have great difficulties there. There is no promise in Scripture that if all Christians moved into the cities we would then
Christianize the country.

--Nick Batzig

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