Only God Gets to Decide What’s Normal


An understandable and rational Christian response to the pervasive secular (as well as pagan[1]) disease is to quarantine ourselves in our families and, at most, in our churches. The attitude is: even though our society may become more secular, we can become more Christian. A large number of ministries are committed to restoring the family and reviving the church. I support them, and I pray that they’re successful. However, if they neglect the cultural component … — and if they think they can sustain a robust Christianity over time in an evil culture — I believe this view to be not only theologically mistaken, but also dangerously delusional.

The church should indeed impact society, but society has a way of impacting the church. The sociologist Peter Berger popularized the idea of “plausibility structures”:[2] what counts as legitimate and illegitimate, real and unreal in a culture. When secularists create a comprehensive plausibility structure, it means that Christian truth is not so much persecuted, as it is simply meaningless. It doesn’t matter if the church stands up for biblical marriage if the wider culture defines marriage in a radically different way. Trying to restore biblical marriage would be akin to trying to restore the 18th century French monarchy. People wouldn’t fight you; they’d simply look at you as nutty. That’s why we cannot afford to fix just one thing: We cannot afford to fix the family and the church but not the culture. These institutions are all interrelated, and each affects — and infects — the other. What our children and grandchildren consider normal will be shaped not only by what they hear and see in family and church but also in the surrounding culture. Abandoning the culture to Satan and secularists is to allow them a hand in deciding what is normal for our children and grandchildren.

But only God gets to decide what’s normal.

[1] Peter Jones, One or Two, Seeing a World of Difference (Escondido, California: Main Entry, 2010).
[2] Peter Berger, The Sacred Canopy (New York; Anchor, 1967, 1969), 12.

From Why Christian Culture?


Religious Liberty Is Simply Liberty

Behind the mad rush of two Republican governors to amend state legislation guaranteeing citizens religious liberty is a simpler — and more momentous— issue. 

You have likely entered a business establishment and encountered a sign, “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” Well, of course. You own the establishment and you can determine who uses or does not use your goods and services. You don’t even have to give a reason. Haberdashers are free to exclude the homeless; Muslim donut shops are free to exclude donut-devouring Christians; Gerry’s Gay Bars are free to exclude heterosexual swingers; the Skinheads Tattoo Parlor is free to exclude hippies, Jews and Blacks; and the Porterhouse Men’s Club is free to exclude women. Understand: adding religious liberty to the equation need not supply a layer of legal unassailability. That’s because this isn’t fundamentally about religious liberty. It’s about liberty, which the Left now knows nothing about
The reason conservatives today are finding it hard to combat the liberal arguments prohibiting the exercise of religious liberty is that for 30 years, propelled by the determination not to appear intolerant, they’ve lined up supporting liberal arguments prohibiting the exercise of liberty. They have buckled under the pressure to endorse the coercive restriction of liberty for businesses to decide who their clients are. Now they want to draw the line at religious liberty. But religious liberty is a species of liberty. You don’t get to insist on religious liberty to the exclusion of liberty. 
It was the devout Christian, Patrick Henry, who famously uttered “Give me liberty or give me death.” He didn’t mean only religious liberty. The principled response of Christians to the current spasm of coercive egalitarian madness is, therefore, the demand for liberty. 
Religious liberty will then take care of itself.