Foolish Sage and Tony:
I appreciated both your comments on Hedges. The “brass on the sinking ship” analogy communicates, and I recognize that the attitude is out there. That said, words and deeds are often at odds. Even in the most “circle the wagons and hunker down until the rapture” church communities, people demonstrate caring and generosity in their spheres. They volunteer at soup kitchens, help hurricane victims, support missions/Christian charities, take stand in their public schools, share their faith, and so on. Each of those efforts is a redemptive action in the world – small or large – nudging it in a God-ward direction. Those brothers and sisters may be reading or hearing teaching that preaches sinking shipology, but it’s very difficult to implement that kind of doctrine and live an authentic Christian life.
Where the Conn/Kuyper approach can be most helpful is in effectively articulating redemptive living, and showing people how to be intentionally Christian in their “secular” lives. Movements from within the church reminding us of the creation mandate that – for example – we care for the earth (without worshipping it) are steps in the right direction. Hedges has challenged us, and we should be thinking hard about how to translate our distinctives in such a way as to be influencers both in broader evangelicalism and the secular world. When we sit back quietly, we are effectively ceding that space to others, and as we have seen, they waste no time filling it.