Public Discourse

What Civility Is and Is Not: A Commitment to Kindness Does Not Mean Surrendering Your Convictions

"Time and again I read about how bad things are now, how vile the left has become, and how a commitment to 'winsomeness' or kindness is simply inadequate to the moment.... sometimes seen as evidence of weakness or fear—an effort curry favor with people who hate you. But the conversation consistently misconstrues what commitments to civility and decency do and don’t mean" - David French

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From the Archives – Why Christians Must Be to Loyal to Truth, Not Tribe

(Posted in July of 2020)

My thoughts below predate COVID-19, masks, hydroxychloroquine, or churches defying public health emergency orders. Last fall, different controversies were exposing problems in how believers evaluate conflicting claims and decide what to believe.

But those problems are still with us, and the current raft of controversies is exposing them even more painfully.

Many Christians who claim to revere the Bible lack biblical habits for evaluating truth claims and consequently lack skill in judging the ethics of situations in a biblical way. It seems almost ubiquitous now—the habit of putting the political/culture-war lenses on first, and embracing or rejecting claims based solely on source classification (friend or foe). The result is that ideas are accepted uncritically if they’re perceived to be from “our people” and rejected reflexively if they’re seen as from “the other side.”

What’s missing is weighing ideas and claims on their own merits—on things like evidence and sound reasoning. Increasingly, what’s completely missing is any nonpolitical consideration of what Scripture teaches and what sound application requires of us.

More than ever, believers need to meditate on a genuinely Christian view of truth and on a genuinely Christian approach to evaluating truth claims. At least five principles are are fundamental that effort.

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Former Gov. Bill Haslam urges Christians to engage in the public square with a humbler tone

"In his recently-released book, Faithful Presence: The Promise and the Peril of Faith in the Public Square, Haslam draws upon his years of experience to highlight the redemptive role of faith in politics while offering biblical insight into the hot-button issues of today." - C.Post

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