How to keep faith in a culture hostile to Christianity
In an increasingly secular world, Christians are often pulled in two directions. Some urge us to retreat and build insular communities. Others call upon us to wage a culture war, harnessing the government to shore up Christian cultural power.
But there is another way—and it’s as old as the church itself. Stephen O. Presley takes us back to the first few centuries AD to show us how the first Christians approached cultural engagement. Amid a pagan culture that regarded their faith with suspicion, early Christians founded a religious movement that transformed the ancient world. Looking to great theologians like Augustine, Origen, and Tertullian, Presley shows how the early church approached politics, family, public life, and more. From these examples, he draws lessons for practicing authentic, pious discernment in how we engage with the wider culture.
The Christians who came before us endured persecution to share a vision of human flourishing that changed the world. Following in their footsteps, we can sanctify our society through social witness. Readers anxious about shifting cultural tides will be left with hope in the already-present kingdom of God and the promised resurrection.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 2. Identity 3. Citizenship 4. Intellectual Life 5. Public Life 6. Hope 7. Conclusion
Stephen O. Presley is senior fellow for religion and public life at the Center for Religion, Culture, and Democracy and associate professor of church history at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also the author of The Intertextual Reception of Genesis 1-3 in Irenaeus of Lyons as well as numerous articles and essays that look to retrieve ancient wisdom for modern Christians.
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