NEWS: ERLC initiative to guide church’s social witness

By Staff
Jan 28, 2014

The Southern Baptist Convention’s ethics entity has launched a new initiative to help evangelical Christians understand and respond to public issues.

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission unveiled “Canon & Culture: Christianity & the Public Square” Tuesday (Jan. 28). The new project — with blog and podcast components — will seek “to help build and strengthen the church’s social witness by providing thoughtful content that inspires a rising generation of evangelicals to think Christianly about the public square,” according to the ERLC.

The Canon & Culture blog channel will include essays by leaders in Southern Baptist life, scholars, seminary presidents and professors, policy experts and think-tank specialists. The essays — expected to be posted each Tuesday and Thursday — will address a broad range of topics, such as art, ethics, vocation, culture, philosophy, politics and technology.

At least once a month, a new Canon & Culture podcast will be posted at the website. The podcasts will include conversations with congressional staff members, specialists with non-governmental organizations, columnists and bloggers.

The goal of the new initiative “is not to be just another publication, but to be a tool for spiritual warfare,” ERLC President Russell D. Moore said in a written release. “Each generation faces new, complex questions about how to be faithful to the mission of Christ. ‘Canon & Culture’ recognizes that this task requires a band of joyful warriors devoting themselves to asking hard questions, and thinking deeply about difficult issues all from a kingdom-focused grid.”

Andrew Walker, the ERLC’s director of policy studies and managing editor of Canon & Culture, said in an introductory post at the website the initiative “desires to be an avenue that helps evangelicals discern and navigate the times we find ourselves in — in a culture where religious nominalism is dropping out, even as vibrant and orthodox belief continues to move forward.”

With the blog channel, the ERLC wants basically to provide “public thinkers an opportunity to … think in depth about the issues that are affecting Christians,” he said on the inaugural podcast episode.

Walker explained the title Canon & Culture by saying, “Canon is in reference to a precept or a standard or a rule that we’re trying to judge something against. And so when we talk about ‘Canon and Culture,’ I believe as Christians our task is to judge culture and to weigh culture against the claims of Christ and His kingdom.”

The project may be accessed here.

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