Some weeks ago I exhorted a gathering of pastors to engage today's cultural battles, particularly to support the Federal Marriage Amendment. Afterward, the pastors had many questions—but they were also confused.
One asked: "But won't engaging the culture this way interfere with fulfilling the Great Commission? Isn't this our job—to win people to Christ?"
That people still raise this question surprised me. "Of course we're called to fulfill the Great Commission," I replied. "But we're also called to fulfill the cultural commission." Christians are agents of God's saving grace—bringing others to Christ, I explained—but we are also agents of his common grace: sustaining and renewing his creation, defending the created institutions of family and society, critiquing false worldviews.
As I spoke, I saw the pastors' eyes light up in a great "Aha!" moment.
Understanding the cultural commission is especially critical as we approach a decisive election. We know what a key role our elected leaders play in culture war battles. But many pastors question whether it's appropriate to urge their flocks to vote for politicians who support moral issues—or even to engage in moral debates.
As for voting, the answer is obvious. While, as I have written elsewhere, pastors should not make partisan endorsements, it is our obligation to see that Christians as good citizens vote and do so with discernment about where politicians stand on moral issues. I wish we had the courage of some of our Catholic brethren who've threatened to withhold Communion (and implicitly, votes) from those who flout biblical teaching.
As for getting involved with cultural issues, Scripture is clear, starting in Genesis. For five days, God created the universe. On the sixth ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more