Tornadic political winds in America have all but swept away nuance and thoughtful debate. On the whole, the weaker the argument, the louder the decibel level. Instead of a rational defense of one's position, the new tactic is simply to scream louder, demonize your opponent and call for his head (sometimes literally). It's a throwback to primitive, Medieval times. Hatred is seething.
There is, however, a gleaming alternative. Bible-believing Christians literally view the world through a different lens. For those who view reality through the grid of Scripture, the picture is clear, vivid and colorful. For those who don't, the view becomes incoherent, distorted and dark. In such a climate, the great challenge for evangelical Christians is to stand for truth with civility.
Let's take a lesson from history. William Wilberforce led the charge to abolish slavery throughout the British Empire. Against huge, entrenched odds, he finally succeeded. But he also called for a "reformation of manners" in the nation. By this, Wilberforce meant a rebuilding of the nation's moral fiber and a show of mutual respect. He also knew that a spiritual awakening would do much to bring this about.
Even though we cannot respect anti-biblical positions, this doesn't mean we should disrespect those who hold them. Since all people are made in the image of God, everyone is worthy of respect—even when they're reviling us. Have you ever wondered why a cold-blooded murderer or child abuser is still given medical attention?
It goes back to our nation's biblical heritage. Because every person is made in the image of God, he or she has "certain inalienable rights" including "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." These concepts aren't rooted in humanism, they're rooted in a Judeo-Christian worldview founded on the Bible.
We must model the moral change we call for. "Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, show integrity, dignity, and sound speech" (Titus 2:7-8, ESV).
David Shibley is the founder and world representative for GLOBAL ADVANCE.
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