On Thursday, March 10, at NRB 2022, a panel of Christian thought leaders joined pastor, author, and filmmaker Lucas Miles for a forum on engaging a culture hostile to Christianity. Panelists included John Cooper of the rock band Skillet, “Relatable” podcast host Allie Beth Stuckey, Darrell Harrison of “Grace To You,” and New York Times bestselling author Eric Metaxas—communicators who regularly speak out on cultural issues and face intense opposition.
While addressing the path that led to this hostile culture, Metaxas placed responsibility on the church, particularly pastors, for not speaking truth into culture. Churches have hesitated to address false ideologies, allowing the culture to prevail over faithfulness to the truths of Scripture. He urged the church to lead and speak up with confidence.
Harrison remarked that too many pastors are in the pulpit as a title or career rather than conviction. Churches lack confidence and are not bringing thoughtful apologetics into the culture, which Harrison termed “Biblical illiteracy.” Stuckey followed up on Harrison’s comments, saying we need to look for pastors who are literate and competent in speaking the truth of the Bible, willing to delve into complex issues. Many prominent cultural issues are addressed unambiguously in the Bible, and we should not walk in fear of how the opposition responds.
The forum moved to the topic of “deconstructionism,” a term that describes the “deconstruction” of personal faith and eventual departure from the church. Cooper observed that this trend was intensified during the Covid-19 crisis when the government response to the pandemic stopped people from going to church while allowing cultural evils like abortions, for example, to proceed unchecked. Panelists weighed in that theological schools are deteriorating because they are falling away from the divinity of Scripture and drawing people into deconstructionism—inviting the question “Is this what God said?” rather “Is this what God meant?”
Metaxas felt that his faith would not permit him to sit back from confronting cultural evil. Cooper added that we are being “too nice” to a culture that has declared its animosity. Stuckey observed liberalization on key issues through an overemphasis on “empathy.” A better way to demonstrate love is to “share the arrows:” Rather than sitting back in relief that “we weren’t the ones” who spoke the truth and took the heat, we should “share the arrows” by standing with those who are receiving criticism for what we believe.
Metaxas commented that bad ideas are hurting real people, and a misplaced sense of compassion leads many Christians to seek “balance” between authentically true beliefs and destructive ideas. When seeking balance, compromise is inevitable.
As the forum drew to a close, panelists encouraged others to stand firm and speak up for those trapped in the well of bad ideas. Standing on the side of God’s truth will point people to the best reality: that Jesus offers freedom.
This forum was sponsored by My Faith Votes, an organization created to equip Christians to pray, think, and vote in every election.