On the eve of a new millennium, Chuck Colson published his seminal work How Now Shall We Live. It became a classic treatise for Christians asking the question of how to live for Jesus in a culture that is rapidly changing. That book had a profound impact on the way many believers, including me, think about the world.
Over decades later, Christians are still asking the question and the world is even more complex. Sadly, the church is divided and confused about what it means to live faithfully in a faithless age. It is easy to give in to despair as so many issues confront us and it seems hard to find answers.
Yet we shouldn’t fear the times in which we live, for God has not erred in calling us to this moment in history. To the first generation of Christians, besieged by a Greco-Roman culture that saw them as strange and ostracized by a religious community that saw them as dangerous, the Apostle Peter reminded the church of God’s promise: “His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3). (2 Peter 1:3).”
God has put us in this place, in this moment, for his purposes. So this is why I’m delighted to lead The Land Center for Cultural Engagement. Established in 2007 as a gift from the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission to Southwestern Seminary in honor of Dr. Richard Land, today, the purpose of the center is straightforward:
The Land Center exists to train the next generation, equip the church, and host important conversations on the intersection of Christianity and culture.
I’m excited to dive into this work. My entire life I’ve felt the call of God to both serve his church and to engage the culture. I’ve had the privilege of both pastoring and serving the church through my writing, speaking and advocacy work.
At the Center, we have ambitious plans. Here are just some of the things in store:
- We are offering a new faith and culture concentration through Texas Baptist college where young people can get equipped to serve in public policy, advocacy, scholarship, and ministry work. This will begin with the fall semester.
- We’ll soon introduce a fellows program featuring the leading Southern Baptist and evangelical scholars writing and thinking about a range of ethical and cultural issues.
- We are planning on conducting a major research project, once a year, on contemporary ethical issues. Tentatively, our first survey will release this summer.
- We will publish content that both equips the church and engages the academic community.
- We will host events with leading thinkers, pastors, academics, and public servants in order to engage ideas and help form the Christian conscience
Our hope, in all of this, is to engage in a spirit of 1 Peter 3:15 where the Apostle Peter urges the church to both “have an answer for every person for the hope that lies within you” and to do this work with “gentleness and kindness.” At the Land Center, we believe that civility and courage are not mutually exclusive but instead form the basis of genuine Christian conviction.
So we pray this work will serve God’s people and serve our communities. I encourage you to read, engage, and share the work we do here at the Land Center for Cultural Engagement.