Doug Wilson has been doing a provocative series of posts on rebuilding Christendom in this secular age. Many of them are quite helpful, but occasionally I find myself wondering about the practical strategies that would flow from following Wilson’s principles as he states them in the posts. His most recent post, for instance, advocates rebuilding Christendom after we comprehensively address the foundational issues of which God is at the bottom of “Western values.” Here’s a comment I posted on that thread, asking what I think is an important question about strategy:
I’m curious – do you see “postmodern rot” as such a hugely influential error that it’s not possible to work with people (like Gingrich) who recognize something good – be it only “Western values” – without first comprehensively addressing foundational matters such as “Where did Western values come from, and who cares?”
That is an important question, granted, but when the whole house is burning down, is that the time to fuss with someone who’s trying to help put out the fire about where he got the water, and how he knows that water puts out fires in the first place? Questions like that are pretty academic at that point, don’t you think?
In the early Church, prior to Constantine, Christians could and did work with pagan Romans to uphold basic civic values and the pax Romana, despite the fact that those things were not explicitly grounded in Christian revelation and despite the fact that when pressed to the wall, the Romans decided they couldn’t put up with “another king, Jesus.”
Augustine is, of course, not Scripture, but I keep returning to the lessons of The City of God, one of which is that Christians can and should make use of any good thing the pagans recognize, especially the need for civic peace and virtue, to advance the cause of Christ.