In an episode of Life and Books and Everything last May, Kevin DeYoung read from the article he wrote for WORLD Opinions on seven principles for cultivating a Christian posture toward the world.
I found these last two points particularly helpful to think through, especially as we navigate the year ahead:
#6 Approach cultural and ethical polarities on a case by case basis
Some issues that divide Christians are adiaphora: matters left up to our consciences, and guided by the goal of mutual edification. But sometimes there is no middle ground and no third way. When Jesus was asked about divorce, he sided with the more restrictive Shammai school over the Hillel school of interpretation. When asked about the resurrection, Jesus defended the resurrection in agreement with the Pharisees over against the Sadducees. In one sense, Jesus transcended those debates. He was, after all, calling people to himself, but he didn’t act like both sides of the controversy were equally right and equally wrong, or that the best answer was some of column A plus some of column B.
#7 When people give you a hearing don’t lead with a hard edge and don’t leave the hard stuff out
Think of Paul in the book of Acts. He begins his speech to the men of Athens with commendation and common ground, but he goes on to correct their worship call them to repent and proclaim the hard-to-believe resurrection. Likewise, Paul speaks respectfully to Felix Festus and Agrippa, but he does not avoid the doctrines and ethical demands he knew they would find disagreeable. In this was a model for us as we face an increasingly hostile world. Courtesy wherever possible, clarity at all costs.
Listen to the full seven points here.