“Christ followers are to see the world differently and have a different posture toward it. Rather than safety from or capitulation to the world, the grand narrative of Scripture describes instead a world we are called to live for. This world, Scripture proclaims, belongs to God, who then entrusted it to His image bearers. He created it good and loves it still, despite its brokenness and frustration.” –John Stonestreet & Warren Cole Smith
Through the new film series, For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles, the Acton Institute has prompted a robust discussion on Christian cultural engagement, prodding Christians to stretch beyond our typical categories of fortification, domination, or accommodation, and instead toward an approach focused primarily on service and love.
How are we to be in the world but not of it? How do we seek the good of the city and serve our captors without compromising God’s truth? What is our salvation actually for?
In their forthcoming book, Restoring All Things, John Stonestreet and Warren Cole Smith explore these same questions and continue the conversation, calling Christians to reorient our attitudes, actions, and vocabulary around God’s “true story of the world.” For far too long, they argue, Christians have preferred the path of opposition (resisting, reacting, and rejecting) even though in Scripture, the most common “re” words have to do with what we are for (reconciling, redeeming, restoring).
From here, the authors take a close look at how this applies across each sphere, sharing stories and practical applications across areas of economics, business, missions, philanthropy, art, family, sexuality, and more.
To promote the conversation even further, Prison Fellowship has announced a short series of Restoring All Things Conferences, which will be held in Grand Rapids, Atlanta, and Dallas, throughout the month of April. The conference will include speakers such as Eric Metaxas, Rick Warren, and Jennifer Marshall, and will highlight stories of those who are actively engaged in restoring culture, asking questions such as:
- What is good in our culture that we can promote, protect, and celebrate?
- What is missing in our culture that we can creatively contribute?
- What is evil in our culture that we can counter?
- What is broken in our culture that we can restore?
I’m halfway through the book, and thus far, it’s a marvelous contribution to the current discussions around stewardship. Stonestreet and Smith take a healthy, holistic approach to cultural engagement, making theirs a unique and timely complement to the types of integration on Christian liberty we’re seeking here at Acton.
For more, check it out here.