What if Christ commands us to make these issues our concern? And what if Christ’s call in our lives is not to comfort in our culture? What if Christ in us actually compels us to counter our culture? Not to quietly sit and watch evolving cultural trends and not to subtly shift our views amid changing cultural tides, but to courageously share and show our convictions through what we say and how we live, even (or especially) when these convictions contradict the popular positions of our day. And to do all of this not with conceited minds or calloused hearts, but with the humble compassion of Christ on constant display in everything we say and do.
Isn’t this, after all, the essence of what it means to follow Christ in the first place? “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Talk about countercultural. In a world where everything revolves around yourself —protect yourself, promote yourself, comfort yourself, and take care of yourself —Jesus says, “Crucify yourself. Put aside all self-preservation in order to live for God’s glorification, no matter what that means for you in the culture around you.”
And isn’t this, after all, the main issue in any culture? Maybe better stated, isn’t he the main issue in any culture? What if the main issue in our culture today is not poverty or sex trafficking, homosexuality or abortion? What if the main issue is God? And what might happen if we made him our focus instead? In a world marked by sex slavery and sexual immorality, the abandonment of children and the murder of children, racism and persecution, the needs of the poor and the neglect of the widow, how would we act if we fixed our gaze on the holiness, love, goodness, truth, justice, authority, and mercy of God revealed in the gospel?
These are the questions driving this book, and I invite you to explore them with me. I don’t by any means claim to know all the answers. In fact, one reason I’m writing this book is because I’ve seen in my own life, family, and ministry a tendency to actively and boldly engage certain social issues while passively and unbiblically neglecting others. And I’ve got this sense that if we take an honest look at our lives, our families, and our churches, we may realize that much of our supposed social justice is actually a selective social injustice. We may recognize that what we thought were separate social issues are in fact all intimately connected to our understanding of who God is and what God is doing in the world. In the process, we may find that the same heart of God that moves us to war against sex trafficking also moves us to war against sexual immorality. We may discover that the same gospel that compels us to combat poverty also compels us to defend marriage. And in the end, we may resolve to rearrange our lives, families, and churches around a more consistent, Christ-compelled, countercultural response to the most pressing social issues of our day.
To be sure, what we conclude about countering culture may prove costly for you and me. But by that point, I don’t think this will matter much. For our eyes will no longer be focused on what is most comfortable to us; instead, our lives will be fixed on what is most glorifying to God, and in him we will find far greater reward than anything our culture could ever offer us.
David Platt, Counter Culture: Following Christ in an Anti-Christian Age (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2015).