Quoting – Christian Influence in the Public Square

kinnon —  August 28, 2008 — 1 Comment

If I am in anyway attracted to Calvinism, it would be the neo-Calvinist theology and praxis of Abraham Kuyper. Gideon Strauss along with Jonathan Chaplin are the two who have prodded me along this neo-Calvinist investigation. Along with many other things, Gideon is the editor of Comment Magazine, an e-zine to which you should subscribe. Comment comes under the umbrella of the Work Research Foundation, a Christian Think Tank based in Hamilton, ON.

Tullian Tchividjian posts a quote from WRF Vice-President of Research, Ray Pennings (prompting this post), from a paper he delivered in Toronto last fall, Christian Influence in the Public Square. I’ve include a little more of that paper in this quote.

What’s needed for our time is a Christian witness rooted in sound doctrine, that has a worldview robust enough to answer the questions society is asking, lived out of an ethic of integrity and characterized by a pilgrim spirit that recognizes we’re not trying to build a city here below but that we seek one to come.

Why be involved in the public square? Involvement in the public square is a doxological imperative. We are to live lives to the honour and glory of God. We must be involved as providence gives us opportunity and as our gifts allow us.

Ray’s column indirectly addresses some of the nonsense I talked about in my previous post, C Peter Run.

…we are reminded that the project of the kingdom of God is one that He, in His sovereignty, is carrying out over millennia. And whatever role I’m called to play, even if it’s a very significant role in history, I have but seventy or eighty years and chances are that my public involvement is only going to be about half of that. So, even if I were the most influential person among the 6 billion people of this earth, I’m here for thirty-five years out of several thousand years of God’s working. I play a very small role. We ought to have a humility about our causes that, I fear, is not characteristic, either in our own day, or in the history of Christian involvement in the public square.

For those of us engaged in the missional/mission-shaped world, the good people at WRF have much to add to our conversations. Please make a point of reading all of Ray’s paper and I’d love your comments on it, here.



A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

One response to Quoting – Christian Influence in the Public Square

  1. There is an idea prevalent in both conservative and liberal Christianity that the church is different from every other human institution. It is this thinking that makes it possible for such wildly fantastical expressions of the church. When we separate the church from the rest of human creation, we actually set up the conditions for our conception of the church to be in conflict with the true nature of the Body of Christ in this world. The church that is distinctive is not the one that human beings have any control over. Whatever we control is a human creation mimicing divine creation. I believe this is where the arrogance of apostleship is derived. It is a badge of separation within the body. My guess is that the only valid distinction in the church is between martydom and living. What bothers me most about the church is the way we endow certain callings with a greater importance that others. I don’t think there is any difference before God between Billy Graham and the woman who cleans the church in the middle of the night. Yes, I am separating tangible impact of a person based on their activities from the value of his or her calling based on God’s grace to them.


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