Christians In Society

The third paragraph of the FV statement deals with Christianity in culture. I am sympathetic to quite a bit of what they say here. Christians most definitely should engage the culture. We should be working to establish a global Christian church. And there is nothing that is neutral, really. Even those things that are not inherently good or bad (such as reading, biking, lemonade, etc.) are made good or bad by the one mixed up in it. However, I find the statement a bit imbalanced. They say that Christianity is a public faith. Yes, it is in many respects. But Christianity is also a private faith in many respects, as Stellman has pointed out. Private piety (praying in private, as Jesus commanded, giving alms privately as Jesus commanded, fasting in private as Jesus commanded) is essential to the Christian walk as well. Maybe the authors do not intend to exclude these private aspects of Christianity. Given the context of their postmillenialism, their thoughts would naturally gravitate towards the public aspects of the Christian faith. What is a bit disconcerting about this is that I haven’t exactly seen FV guys pushing for private piety in other contexts. It seems to me to be underplayed at best, ignored at worst. Maybe some FV authors will enlighten us as to the FV stance on private Christian piety (which is most certainly a Biblical category!).

One other aspect is a bit telling, I think. They call for us to disciple the nations, calling them to submit to Christ through baptism. Now, baptism is part of the Great Commission in Matthew 28, it cannot be denied. But why should baptism be the focus of obedience, rather than faith? To me, it seems that faith would have been a better choice of wording there. Given that the FV is accused by many of being sacramentalist, they could have distanced themselves a bit more from such an understanding by choosing the word “faith” rather than baptism. Of course, faith is not equal to obedience in one sense (the sense related to the law). However, the command for everyone everywhere is to repent (Acts 17). Obedience to that command means faith. And such obedience can only come with God’s prior working in the human soul.