Obvious: A Must-Read Common Sense Primer on the Culture Wars – The Stream

Obvious, a new book by Eric Metaxas’ longtime sidekick Albin Sadar, addresses the prevalent evils in American public life in a light-hearted and poignant fashion. Sadar pulls no punches in confronting societal ills and encourages Christians, conservatives, and common-sense people not to cower, but to fight lies with truth.

A Reality Problem

Albin opens by contending for the existence of God, pointing to creation’s ability to point to God. He contends that if he’s created all we see, then from Him we can know the answers to all life’s great questions. He then details demoralization’s erosion of people’s grasp of truth, and shows the confusion sown by gender ideology. He details how male and female are clearly defined by God in Genesis 1:27, and departures from this truth have produced unjust outcomes: men shattering women’s swim records and molestation that occurred in Loudon County after adopting a trans-friendly bathroom policy. Sadar highlights hostility toward those who reject this ideology, quoting Selwyn Duke’s observation “The further a society drifts from the truth the more it will hate those who speak it.”

Sadar then pivots to “Christian Nationalism,” a cudgel used by the left to brand dissenting voices as bigoted and threatening, highlighting the broader tendency of the left to control debate by shaping language. As examples, Albin highlights New York State posters for the Covid-19 Vaccine that simply repeated assurances of vaccine safety ad nauseum, along with the NFL’s use of end zones to promote progressive messages.

Finally, Sadar takes on environmentalism, highlighting its religious nature, complete with doomsday predictions. Albin highlights the use of this fervor to hamper American energy independence and promote population control based on faulty models like Paul Ehrlich’s Population Bomb or Dennis Meadow’s suggestion of global population only being 1-2 billion in Davos.

Sadar concludes that America is enduring growing pains from being consumed by shifts in ideology and epistemology and contends that our nation must gain maturity and wisdom more befitting of her 247-year age.  

Acceptable Hate

Here, Albin assesses our culture and the Church’s relationship with it. He describes an attitude of “acceptable hate” among a cadre of elites against Trump and his supporters. He then points out the naivete of those who view the direction of culture as acceptable.

Looking at the church, Albin details four categories of Christians:

  • Mere Christians, who believe the fundamentals of the Christian faith and live it out in every area including politics.
  • Self-Persecuting Christians who interpret Romans 13 as a command to stay apolitical.
  • Pearl-Clutching Christians, whose demand for purity often hampers their ability to engage. And
  • Politically-Accomodating Christians, who acquiesce to culture at the expense of their faith.

Sadar details unspoken distortions of Christian compassion that have crept into the church, on matters such as critical race theory, where per Voddie Baucham an “Eleventh Commandment: Thou Shalt Be Nice” has become a highest good at the expense of truth and the original ten commandments. Sadar commends the Apostle Paul, who “debated at the illustrious Mars Hill with Greek and Athenian Scholars” and encourages Christians to step into the public arena with courage to earnestly contend for the faith and walk by the Spirit of God rather than the spirit of the age.

How Then Shall We Live

Sadar issues a scathing rebuke of professed Christians who vote based on their interest group as abandoning their values at the voting booth and bringing on moral decline and persecution. Sadar then contends that you can legislate morality, as laws reflect a moral stance. Mirroring an earlier point, Albin points to the left’s tendency to change the dialectic arguing that “The problem for the right debating the Left is that the Left always chooses the playing field,” (pg. 77) by controlling language and shaping debate.

Albin critiques the right for often accepting those terms put forward by the left. He then highlights the polarization in our culture that stems from an increasingly progressive worldview that is at odds with foundational Christian beliefs. He quotes the brilliant theologian Francis Schaffer, who wrote How Then Shall We Live, a seminal work of Christian cultural engagement: “Truth demands confrontation- loving confrontation, but confrontation nevertheless.”

Cowardice as Consent

In closing, Albin highlights cowardice in many American churches, that simply act apolitically to foster unity. He contends this posture results in lost influence as, politics and culture “have morphed together.” (pg. 106) He calls the church to speak out, quoting Sir Thomas More, who stated “Silence gives consent,” (pg. 107) thus we must not tacitly nod to the evils of our day. He recounts the power bold Christians who engaged had historically, citing the role Wilberforce played in ending the slave trade, and Whitefield’s role in shaping our nation and bringing revival. He urges Christians to “seek the welfare of the city” (Jeremiah 29:7 ESV) by engaging, rather than mistaking the exhortation of Romans 12:18 to “live peaceably with all” as cause to simply retreat from the culture wars.

There is much more to Obvious, including thoughtful discussions of race and human dignity — and their distortion by Marxist movements such as Black Lives Matter. It also includes a detailed and thoughtful discussion of the very real possibility that the 2020 presidential election was rigged and/or stolen, and the elite conspiracy to silence legitimate inquiry by concerned citizens — hundreds of whom are now rotting in jail on inflated or trumped-up charges. Obvious is a must-read book in this pivotal election year.

Bruce Dunn is a Dallas-based consultant who has written on religious and cultural topics. A Southern California native and recent graduate of Villanova University (B.S.), Mr. Dunn resides in the Dallas metroplex where he works on infrastructure projects and is an active member of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano.

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