Truth and Tone in Cultural Engagement

By Darrell L. Bock and Mikel Del Rosario

Truth and Tone in Cultural Engagement


Over the past few decades, some evangelicals have seen cultural engagement as fighting a culture war for Christ. But the landscape has changed in a way that most people who graduated from seminary forty years ago might never have imagined. Today, we as Christians find ourselves in the position of a cultural minority in the United States. How should we engage with a society that is increasingly hostile to the Christian faith?

This Table briefing explores what the New Testament teaches about honoring God through our message—and our tone—as we minister in a world that often pushes back against the gospel. This ethos of balancing invitation and challenge has been a key emphasis since the beginning of the Table Podcasts.

First, we consider how the example of the early church should inform our cultural engagement as a church today. Then we examine how the Apostle Paul’s example should inform our interpersonal interactions with unbelieving friends and neighbors. [Download the full-length article]


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4 replies
  1. Andy Ryan says:

    Evangelicals made their choice on ‘tone’ when they backed Donald Trump, who attacked war heroes, gold star families and America’s allies in vulgar terms. This was your choice.

    • Andy Ryan says:

      More on tone and ‘cultural engagement’:
      At a rally last night Trump mocked cancer-stricken John McCain, the infirm George H.W. Bush, the #MeToo movement and Elizabeth Warren – all while praising Vladimir Putin.
      Again, this is your guy, the one you all still defend.

      • KR says:

        Trump’s tone towards other nations has real-life consequences. It will be interesting to see how he reacts to the new tariffs that his favourite autocrat has just slapped on US goods. POTUS has told us that trade wars are easy to win. What he’s been able to demonstrate so far is that trade wars are easy to start – and that they tend to quickly take on a life of their own. Could it be that there’s a very good reason why governments rarely choose to go down this route?

  2. staircaseghost says:

    “Today, we as Christians find ourselves in the position of a cultural minority in the United States.”

    Message to Christians: blatantly lying in ways that are easy to check is a great way to drive people away from the faith.

    At last glance, Christians make up 70% of the population, the majority of representatives from both major political parties, and their most outspoken contingents control all three branches of the Federal government, the majority of State houses and government mansions, a hammerlock on State and Federal law enforcement and the military, and enjoy a host of privileged legal statuses, including exemptions from nondiscrimination laws, taxes, labor laws, and campaign finance laws.

    But hey, one time the cashier at Starbucks said “happy holidays” to you instead of “merry Christmas”, so surely anyone can see what an embattled, persecuted minority Christians are.


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