Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Baker Books (March 1, 2016)
Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.3 x 8.6 inches
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I recently testified before a state legislative committee in favor of two religious freedom bills. Twenty-five years ago, support for religious freedom was widespread. A nearly unanimous Congress passed the federal Religious Freedom Act, for example, and a Democratic president signed it into law. Today, any religious freedom bill, whether at the state or federal level, is sure to spark heated opposition because opponents argue that religious freedom is simply a mask for discrimination against the LGBT community. That shift of thinking is both tectonic and, to Christians like me, worrisome.Something else concerns me too, though. After the first hearing, a woman from the LGBT community approached the huddle of lawyers I was talking to, politely interrupted us, and made the following statement: “I need to tell you gentlemen something,” she said. “If you had lived the life I have lived, you wouldn’t think the way you do.” Then she walked away. None of us knew how to respond, or whether she wanted us to respond, so we said nothing. Even deeper than my worry about tectonic shifts in legal norms is my worry that the Church is missing the opportunity to share Christ’s good news with people whose experience is so contrary—alien, even—to our own. I confess that I missed a chance that day.Jesus Christ commissioned His followers to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). While we might prefer to carry out the Great Commission in a society that provides robust protections to our religious freedom, the fact of the matter is that we are under the Lord’s orders whether or not the law protects us or our society approves of us. And let’s be honest, a large chunk of American society is moving in a direction that is not favorable to Christian faith and practice.
David Kinnaman & Gabe Lyons have authored GOOD FAITH: Being a Christian when society thinks you’re irrelevant and extreme, because they believe that American culture is becoming hostile to people of faith. There is a tendency for people to think that Christianity is out of step with the times. After conducting surveys with thousands of people they offer practical suggestions as to how to relate to people with different convictions from your own.They compare the popular morality of self-fulfillment with the Christian belief in self-denial and the consequences for marriage and parenting where self-sacrifice and service are required. They present a model for how Christians can think and act when engaging the culture.1. When we discover something that we consider wrong we should have the courage to confront it without being judgmental.2. When there is confusion about key issues in our society we ought to bring clarity to a situation and then compel others to act.3. When we find something that is good we should celebrate and cultivate it.4. When we identify something that is missing we should be creative and be catalysts for a new and better way.There is a good section on true tolerance which is defined as the ability to acknowledge and permit other people’s views. This is sometimes called principled pluralism. They call out what is called “fake tolerance” which is defined as “We will tolerate you as long as your opinion falls within the range of what we deem acceptable.” Divergence from this and you are a bigot! This kind of attitude means that you don’t want to be around anyone who disagrees with you, and you don’t want to allow them the freedom to disagree with you. Freedom of speech has become an issue today.
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