Found this lecture by Carson – “The Church in a Culture of Rapid Transition” – to be very insightful. It was part of the 2015 Thornwell Lectures at First Presbyterian (Columbia, SC). Here are the different variables in today’s culture (there were 15 altogether, but I only heard 12):
- Rising Biblical illiteracy both inside and outside the church
- Changes brought about by the digital revolution
- Recurrent racism
- The age of victimization
- The changing face of tolerance and intolerance
- Increasing pressure on free speech
- Less and less shared cultural heritage and therefore more and more controlling laws
- The rise of militant Islam
- There are weakening confessional commitments in much of evangelicalism
- There is today less nominalism (in Christianity)
- God is sovereign, but God stands behind good and evil asymmetrically.
- The first Christian allegiance is to God and the gospel, to the Lord Jesus Christ; not to our race, not to our location in the country, not to our citizenship.
- Christians should not expect to be persecution-free.
- Re-read Acts 17:16-34 and see what it says about preaching the gospel to Biblical illiterates.