When it comes to engaging with modern questions of identity politics, many Christians feel confused, scared, hurt, and conflicted – or a combination of these. How do we respond when Christianity is no longer seen as a force for good, or when Christians are seen to be anti-progress? This is where Ben Chang tries to help in Christ and the Culture Wars.
Many of our instinctive responses to these difficulties haven’t been helpful for the cause of the Gospel, and one of the strengths of this book is in helping us understand that. We have too often allowed ourselves to get caught in the so-called ‘culture wars’ and end up speaking and behaving in ways that are wholly un-Christian.
We’ve allowed ourselves to be drawn into shouting matches, petty name calling and other behaviours that do nothing to show the beauty of Jesus to those around us. On the other hand, sometimes we can simply feel so fearful and scared that we bury our heads in the sand, completely disengaging and pretending that the world around us hasn’t changed.
The author wants to show there is a better way to engage, and it rests in the better story offered in the Gospel of Jesus. Contemporary questions around identity and where we belong in the world all find a more compelling conclusion in how God gives us identity and meaning.
The desire to help us become strong storytellers who are confident in the Gospel is really helpful, and picks up on the excellent work done in this area in Glynn Harrison’s A Better Story. Making the application of this principle just a little simpler in places could have been helpful for those less familiar with these concepts and ideas.
Pastors and those engaged in regular evangelistic work are sure to find this book thought-provoking and challenging as we think through our presentation of the Gospel.
Xander Coomber is the pastor for 20-30s at St Andrew the Great, Cambridge