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WHI-1168 | The Case for Civility

Posted by on in 2013 Show Archive
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How should we present our case for the faith in the public square? How have Christians failed at this in recent years? Os Guinness will join me in this program to discuss issues surrounding the recovery of civility and persuasion in a post-Christian culture. Os is the author of numerous books on the intersection of faith and culture including Dining with the Devil, Time for Truth, and The Case for Civility: And Why Our Future Depends on It (originally aired Feb 15, 2009).How should we present our case for the faith in the public square? How have Christians failed at this in recent years? Os Guinness will join me in this program to discuss issues surrounding the recovery of civility and persuasion in a post-Christian culture. Os is the author of numerous books on the intersection of faith and culture including Dining with the Devil, Time for Truth, and The Case for Civility: And Why Our Future Depends on It (originally aired Feb 15, 2009).


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  • Guest - Rene Mulder

    An interresting topic for sure. I like the 'prophetic approach' that was suggested, however, isn't that sort of what hellfire preachers have been doing? Hell would be harder to proof to the culture I guess, and ofcourse even harder to swallow. Don't Jesus and the Apostles effectively refer to the coming judgment themselves, rather than talking about the temporal side effects of behavior X on a given culture or economic system?
    When talking about there being "two cities", we should keep in mind that one of those "cities" is going to be obliterated one day by God...So I guess there is some tension there in how to approach the issues of a given culture.
    Did I understand correctly that people in this culture are more likely to reject anything that "smells" like the old ways of Christianity, even if there are objectively good arguments as to why a culture should do this or not do that?

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  • I'm not exactly sure telling people you're going to live one way and they can choose their own is all that "prophetic," but perhaps I misunderstood Mr Guiness. I have read and enjoyed several of his other books, so if I can pick this one up I'll take a look and see if I can understand him better.

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  • Yeah, I guess Jesus violated this all the time. Shame on him.

    I can probably count on one hand the number of episodes of WHI I have thought were not so good. This is one of them. And yet, somehow, someone thought it was good enough to repeat it.

    Seems to me what passes for "civility" and "politeness" are just because we don't believe in anything strong enough to fight for them these days. I'm sorry, but the church is full of tares and wolves. Politeness toward wolves is really a shirking of one's pastoral duties. But they better make sure they really know what a wolf is before they unload. Maybe that's behind this call for civility. No one really knows how to discern the enemy in our midst so...in that case, be nice to everyone.

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  • I suppose I'd substitute "loving" for "civil." There's nothing wrong with being civil when the situation calls for it, and almost every situation does. But we always should be loving, and sometimes that means saying things people don't care to listen to.

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  • Guest - Jeffrey Fiorillo

    Paula, I have been a dog in the midst of wolves in my own church. You are touching what is the thorn in a conservative fundamental churches. They don't trust ANYBODY! Or they don't know who to trust. Not all of them is like this, yet some refuse to believe in the best in me in the Spirit's re-creation. All they believe is what is in my sinner's past. Instead of edifying many tear down as if they are Jesus spitting out lukewarm water. But believe me Paula, politeness and civility does not mean avoid any potential of conviction of sin in the one you are talking to. What disintegrates the conversation are labels or attempts to marginalize, remove sympathy, or isolate the speaker. Civility is not a speech that doesn't disturb anybody's mind or emotion. Maybe that the dichotomy, offense vs disturb.

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  • [...] the White Horse Inn (original link, with other related [...]

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  • Just a few of comments. First, on Christopher Taylor's substituting loving for civil, I think the distinction is excellent and if we read Martin Luther King Jr, we find a great, though not perfect, teacher and example. I see Christopher's love here and raise him Romans 3:9 where Paul summarizes all of what he had written so far in Romans by stating there since everybody has sinned, there is no one who is better than the other. Without the constant awareness of our own sin, love can become an excuse for being controlling.

    As for whether nobody has gotten society and culture better than America, that is said from a Eurocentric viewpoint and minimizes the costs that other ethnicities have had to pay for our past positions of influence and power. In other words, we claim that our culture was a more Christian culture because of the hierarchy of sins we assume. America has, and still is, a white supremacist and patriarchal society but we don't use the abuses that came from that to deny the Christian nature of the culture because more people used the Bible as a frame of reference back then and, by public appearances, sexual mores were more in line with Biblical teaching. IMO, a better way to describe that time is to say that America had a stronger Christian veneer to it and that now, that veneer is being removed.

    Finally, we need to become more persuasive without being authoritarian. I believe that is how we should be more prophetic to our world.

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  • [...] to be persuasive in such a culture. Os Guinness notes that we have mostly lost this ability today.2 He says that many Christians (especially in America) dont know how to persuade (classically, [...]

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