Three Worlds
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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

Two years ago, Aaron Renn wrote about “The Three Worlds of Evangelicalism” in the journal, First Things. I did an interview with him about the article. He has now expanded that concept in his new book, Life in the Negative World: Confronting Challenges in an Anti-Christian Culture.

When he was on my radio program recently, he described the three worlds. The first world was the “positive world” that existed from 1964 to 1994. Society at large still had a mostly positive view of Christianity. He says that to be known as a good, churchgoing person was a positive attribute. Being a Christian enhanced your social status.

The second world was a “neutral world” that ran from 1994 to 2014. During this period, society took mostly a neutral stance towards Christianity. No longer did Christianity have a privileged status but neither was it disfavored. Christianity was merely one valid option among many within a pluralistic, multicultural public square.

The third world is the “negative world” we live in today. Society has an overall negative view of Christianity. Being known as a Christian can be a social negative, especially he says, in the higher status domains of society. Christian morality is repudiated. Expressing biblical ideas in public can have negative consequences.

Christians need to adapt to this negative world. Some of the actions and strategies that might have been successful in the other worlds, may not be effective in this negative world. Most of his book provides guidance in how to live personally and institutionally. We need wisdom in how to live effectively as Christians in this negative world.viewpoints new web version

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