Secular ideologies over the past several centuries have, by and large, failed to achieve their goals for Western society. David Bosch writes, “The dream of a unified world in which all would enjoy peace, liberty, and justice, has turned into a nightmare of conflict, bondage, and injustice.” The result has been profound disappointment and disillusionment among those who live in the West.
It’s important for us to realize this, because it provides the Church an opportunity to speak life into a culture that is increasingly prone to pessimism and despair. Bosch captures this opportunity beautifully:
All around us people are looking for new meaning in life. This is the moment where the Christian church and the Christian mission may once again, humbly yet resolutely, present the vision of the reign of God—not as a pie in the sky, but as an eschatological reality which casts its rays, however opaque, into the dismal present, illuminates it, and confers meaning on it.
We should heed this wisdom, for it helps us understand both our culture and the way in which we can speak life into it.
The recent election season served as yet another reminder of the brokenness and incompleteness of secular visions for humanity. Our society is perhaps as divided, hurt, and confused as ever before. Yet the vision of God’s reign is neither broken nor incomplete, and offers hope and purpose for our neighbors who are disenchanted with the status quo of life in Western society.
So in a culture that can often feel devoid of substance, we have a great opportunity to present the substantial message of the gospel, which alone is capable of realizing the dreams of peace, liberty, and justice.
What secular ideologies can’t do, the gospel can. The message of Christ and his reign has the power to illuminate the dismal present and establish meaning and hope for those who are hopeless and despairing.
Clint is from Raleigh, North Carolina, and studied at both Appalachian State University and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He currently serves in South Asia, where his focus is on urban church planting. He helps equip national believers and pastors to be disciple-makers and church planters in the cities in which they live.