Is Cultural Conservatism the Same as Theological Conservatism?
Churches that are faithful to the apostolic gospel are sometimes also the ones that are loyal to a culture becoming increasingly passé. In such a situation cultural conservatism can easily be mistaken for theological conservatism, for theological orthodoxy. In an age of confusing empirical pluralism and frankly frightening philosophical pluralism, in an age that seems to be stealing from us the Judeo-Christian worldview that prevailed for so long, it is easy to suppose that retrenchment and conservative responses on every conceivable axis are the only responsible courses for those who want to remain faithful to the gospel.
Such a course is neither wise nor prophetic. Sometimes it is not even faithful. The church may slip back into a defensive, conservatism that is fundamentally ill-equipped to address postmodernism…. The challenges of biblical illiteracy demand, among other things, that we begin “farther back” in our articulation of the gospel—i.e., it is becoming more and more necessary to expound the Bible’s story-line, the main lines of a Christian theistic worldview. Cultural conservatives may think of this as succumbing to the demand for relevance; I think it is prophetic wisdom, demanded by the Scriptures themselves.
~ Donald A. Carson, The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism (Zondervan, 1996), 470-71.