In this particular blog Trueman addressed the phenomenon of Christians who preach that we must bring about the “transformation of society.” I encounter such people either personally or through various forms of writing on a regular basis. Christians are frequently bombarded with appeals to do something to turn our nation around. I must admit that from my vantage point there is no doubt that our culture could use a good bath. It is in serious need of some transformation. However, Mr. Trueman wrote that our “culture is not being transformed at any point where it really counts, where it makes a real difference for pastors and people on the increasingly mean streets of the secular world as they seek to be quietly and peacefully faithful to the Lord. If anything, it is accelerating in the wrong direction.” In other words, the transformers are failing. Can anyone really disagree? If one compares the content and tenor of our society today with where it was ten years ago, twenty years ago, thirty years ago the trajectory suggests transformation, to be sure, but not in the direction of a more Christian worldview. There have been positive changes in terms of equality, and that is wonderful, but on the moral and spiritual fronts the picture is more than a little gloomy.
In other words, it is only going to get worse. Mr. Trueman looks at the direction of history. Extrapolating it out leads us to a place that is very uncomfortable for followers of Jesus. But his point is that the New Testament has told us to expect this. This is the lot and calling of Jesus’ people in this fallen world. It always has been so, and it always will be. This message may seem discouraging, but in fact it is hopeful. It is not hopeful if what we are about is an easy and comfortable life with no stress and no opposition to one’s walk with Christ. But if we care most about knowing Christ and honoring him in this world it is very hopeful, for we will have the opportunity to do that. If we care most about God’s kingdom, we have reason to hope, for through the centuries of opposition his kingdom has continued to thrive, and will do so until the end of the age. So what we must focus on is not transforming society, but transforming people, beginning with God’s work of transforming our own lives.