DT: You mention several key issues which force us re-evaluate Christ’s role in culture (secularization, democracy, freedom and power). In short compass, can you explain what you mean by this and how this helps us to understand our own (postmodern) culture?
DC: Inevitably, we in the West, not least in America, tend to adopt a host of “givens” that are part of growing up here. Most of us think freedom is a good thing. But is it always a good thing? A friend in Slovakia once told me that only three weeks after the Berlin wall came down, for the first time in his life he saw pornography sold in the street. Was the enhanced freedom an unmitigated “good” thing? I’m not denying it was good in many ways, but some of us have given “freedom” such an iconic value that we fail to see how, in the name of freedom, we may become slaves to sin. Most of us are thankful to God that we live in a democracy. But I have met Christians who live in parts of the world under one form or another of tyranny who are much less daunted by the violent “beast out of the sea” that they face than by the “beast out of the earth,” the danger of deceptive teaching and materialism, that we face in the West: they pray for us that we will escape the tyranny of the seduction of easy, triumphalism, and materialism. Certainly what Paul wrote about the government of his day being appointed by God, he did not have a democracy in mind: what bearing do such differences in the structure of power have on our responsibility as citizens — as citizens of the US, and as citizens of the new Jerusalem?
(HT: Tullian Tchividjian)