A Vanguard…I hope
I just recently reread parts of Tim Keller’s The Reason for God. If you haven’t read it yet, I urge you to do so. I think it may be the most important evangelistic work to come along since C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. In fact, Keller has said in a few interviews, that his hope was that this book could serve as a Mere Christianity for the twenty-first century. I think it certainly could. The book showcases Keller’s gift for addressing believers and non-believers in equally meaningful and engaging ways.
What struck me in this most recent reading was his hope for the future, based on his interaction with young Christians in New York. In his introduction, he writes:
“As soon as I arrived in New York I realized that the faith and doubt situation was not what the experts thought it was. Older white people who ran the cultural business of the city definitely were quite secular. But among the increasingly multiethnic younger professionals and the working-class immigrants there was a lush, category-defying variety of strong religious beliefs. And Christianity, in particular, was growing rapidly among them.
I think these younger Christians are the vanguard of some major new religious, social, and political arrangements that could make the older form of culture wars obsolete. After they wrestle with doubts and objections to Christianity many come out on the other side with an orthodox faith that doesn’t fit the current categories of liberal Democrat or conservative Republican. Many see both sides in the “culture war” making individual freedom and personal happiness the ultimate value rather than God and the common good. Liberals’ individualism comes out in their views of abortion, sex, and marriage. Conservatives’ individualism comes out in their deep distrust of the public sector and in their understanding of poverty as simply a failure of personal responsibility. The new, fast-spreading multiethnic orthodox Christianity in the cities is much more concerned about the poor and social justice than Republicans have been, and at the same time much more concerned about upholding classic Christian moral and sexual ethics than Democrats have been.” (xx)
I simply want to add, I hope he is right. May it be so.