Putting the Culture Wars in a Multigenerational Perspective

Putting the Culture Wars in a Multigenerational Perspective by Michael L. Brown for Ask Dr Brown

It’s the question I’ve heard now for many years, specifically from evangelical Christians. “Since the world is only getting worse, why bother fighting the culture wars? What’s the use? What’s the point? Isn’t it better for us simply to share our faith and prepare for the return of Jesus?”

To be sure, if I knew for a fact that Jesus was coming back in a week, I would not spend that week writing articles about transgender activism. Or trying to change hearts about abortion.

In fact, I would not spend that week teaching a class in our ministry school. Or sharpening my Arabic or Babylonian reading skills. Or even hanging out with other believers.

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Instead, I would spend every last moment reaching out to friends and relatives who were not in right relationship with God, urging them to repent and believe. And I would prepare my own heart to meet the King.

The fact is, though, that we don’t know if Jesus is coming back in a week. Or a year. Or a decade. Or a century.

What we do know is that we have one life to live. One live to serve. One live to make an impact. And then we die, and the baton is handed over to the next generation. And then the next.

That has been the cycle of life for millennia, and it will continue until the end of this age.

Unfortunately, many Christians are so focused on the world to come that they lose sight of the importance of living fruitful lives in the here and now. And many others are so focused on the return of Jesus that they fail to live with long-term vision. They fail to ask what kind of world they are leaving to their children and grandchildren.

There’s an interesting quote attributed to Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai (c. 30-90 AD): “If you have a sapling in your hand, and someone says to you that the Messiah has come, stay and finish the planting, and then go to greet the Messiah” (Avot d’Rabbi Natan 31b).

In other words, continue to live your life in a normal, productive way. Be faithful to your current responsibilities. Don’t get caught up with end-time speculation. Planting a tree means you’re thinking of tomorrow.

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