A friend and regular commentor here, Scott Lenke, posted this on Theologica.  I thought it raised some interesting questions.

I would love to hear your thoughts

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Find him everywhere: Find him everywhere

    11 replies to "What If Christian…?"

    • Amy Jo Garner

      I like it and posted the video to my own blog. “Christian” is more than a label.

    • Erik Fowler

      What if God raised up a man who would provide sound theological resources and made them available to average churchmen and laymen alike? What if those churchmen and laymen of the body of Christ, used those resources to pour as much truth into their congregation as possible so that, rather than, Sunday School being a time of talking about feelings… See More, instead of forming convictions to be lived-out and engage today’s culture as to draw more people to Christ? What if this man of God was to provide resources that would change an ignorant babe in Christ, lacking wisdom but having zeal, from being a “polemic” to an “irenic”, so as to gain wisdom and knowledge to go along with that zeal and be an effective ambassador of Christ? What if today’s churches were teaching Greek and Hebrew, Church History, Worldview, Apologetics, Missiology, and Systematic Theology, instead of teaching the philosophy and psychology of unbiblical programs just because they work, leaving its members with a sense of strange fire that fades away by Monday evening? What if, by some strange miracle, the preaching and teaching in today’s “churchianity” lead to convicting and commissioning instead of compulsion and compromise?

    • Paul


      Could you put that in plain English for someone with a learning difficulty, please?



    • Ed Kratz


      I believe his main point is that Christians should participate in culture to more effectively share Christ rather than avoiding culture by creating separate christian categories and sub-cultures.

    • Ed Kratz

      Erik, while I agree with just about everything you said, I think it misses the main point of this guy’s challenge. Let’s say that everything plays out just as you described, what does the christian then do with it with respect to culture? Still create a christian sub-culture?

    • Erik Fowler

      Thanks for your feedback. In reference to my previous comment, if churches would teach Apologetics and Worldview, it would help Christians better understand the current beliefs of today’s culture and engage them. I don’t necessarily agree that there is a “sub-culture” amongst the true church, but there is a distinction between nominal Christians and the truly regenerate. As far as I can see, the nominal Christians don’t look anything different from the world and if you were to challenge their beliefs on any biblical basis, you would discover that they hold to a lot of the postmodern culture views. They seem to have a “it works for me” kind of attitude. Even in some churches, their idea of fellowship is going out to eat after a church service and talking about sports instead of talking about the day’s Sunday School lesson or the sermon they just heard. My main point is that if churches would implement teachers like Michael and Rhom, instead of sociologists, psychologists, or philosophers as leaders, we probably wouldn’t be having this discussion. Just a humble man’s opinion. Thanks!

    • Jerri

      I think if “christians” began to actually engage the culture, truly walking in the truth, the culture would say the same thing it did long ago. “These are the ones who have turned the world upside down.” Some would love us and the One we represent, but probably more would hate us and the One we represent. But I believe we would be following in His steps more closely and fulfilling the Great Commission more so than when we organize evangelistic outreach meetings, and visit 10 cities in 10 days. Not that there is anything wrong in that…:) Can you even imagine the impact that a group of people, filled with and led by the Spirit, having knowledge combined with the practice of sound doctrine, would have?

      We have seen the impact that folks with unsound doctrine have had, both in the church and the culture. It hasn’t been and still isn’t pretty.

    • Susan

      Eric, I think you make some very valid points. I would love it if we had a teacher like Michael leading our adult Sunday school class (our teacher is a philosopher….and it is oh so rare that we ever do scripture study). Christians who are built up in the knowledge of the Word and learn how to discourse with those not-yet-saved out there will ultimately have the greatest impact on culture….because it’s all about leading people to a personal relationship with Christ. Culture is changed only as individual hearts are transformed. If we seek to transform culture by infiltrating with good deeds our effect will be temporary and minimal, in that it will not last into eternity. If people are transformed by God’s Spirit they will have a positive impact on culture. They will be the salt and light. And it’s always true that there are plenty of nominal Christians in our midst who have not yet come to true conversion. The gospel must be the center core teaching of the church at all times.

      As far as tagging ‘things’ “Christian” goes, I tend to avoid that.

    • Bryan

      Trying to think if ever there was a time when Christian art really did engage the world honestly, viewing the richness of the human experience fully, but with the understanding of Christ. A time when Christian art was new and innovative and brilliant instead of derivative mediocre and narrowly-focused.

      Then it came to me:








      Each of these artists was deeply engaged in the gospel but also deeply creative — strikingly innovative, even. One wonders if the difficulties of the Evangelical artistic ouvre, as nicely summarized in the video, is, in some measure, a function of the Evangelical approach. (I don’t say teaching or doctrine, since I have no desire for that kind of debate.) I really do mean the approach.

      Let me put it this way: Anyone with a little familiarity with Flannery O’Connor knows her work is both deeply Catholic and very brutal. Yet I, as a Catholic, immediately recognize it as the work of one of my own, in a way.

      Question: Would Evangelicals recognize her as one of their own? Does her work feel like Christian literature to you?

    • carl Peterson

      Christians should not have a sub culture. They should be in a totally different culture. They should not jst blend in but should not just engage culture at its own game. It should challenge and be remarkably different than its culture. Peter Leithart’s book Against Christianity is a great book about this kind of stuff.

    • Judy

      Maybe “Christian” music would suck less. I can’t stand the stuff that has no rhyme or melody, no depth to lyrics. And since it’s produced for the Christian subculture it makes tons of money and no one says anything about the utter lack of quality.

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