Episode 51 | Public Faith in Polarized Times

Public Faith in Polarized Times with Mark Labberton, Claude Alexander, Walter Kim

In a public square increasingly riven by tribalism, identity politics, and polarization, how can Christians wisely and faithfully engage?

We were joined by Mark Labberton, Claude Alexander, and Walter Kim in August of 2021 to explore ways of understanding and approaching Christian public engagement beyond the ruts of timid quietism or belligerent culture-warring:

“It’s easy to think about public faith in terms of our public character. In other words, how we conduct ourselves in public. And that’s critical, that’s very important. The posture, the characters of integrity. The ability to bring joy and peace to others. But there’s a deeper issue at stake of not merely character, but the very presence of the gospel in society, the presence of faith in society.

So the gospel no longer becomes this narrow vision of personal and characterological transformation, which it is including, but it also encompasses this very expansive vision of the implications of faith for every sector of human existence and endeavor.” – Walter Kim

The Church’s Historic and Global Witness

Drawing on both the church’s historic witness under times of stress and persecution, and the ways in which the faith is expressed globally, Labberton, Alexander, and Kim offer a vision that is both sobering and hopeful:

“I do think for me, there’s the assurance that God is not the least bit surprised or undone by this moment. In fact, it’s quite familiar if you look back on the pages of both the Hebrew scriptures and the New Testament, you find plenty of evidences of the makings of such moments as this.

“So the sense of faith against staggering power or resistance to change, or to deep confession or all of that, that’s familiar biblical terrain. That’s why it required the death of God in Jesus to be able to actually take all of this with the deep seriousness that it requires.” – Mark Labberton

The Church can be a Blessing in Polarized Times

We believe you’ll find their vision for a church that can thrive in the midst of difficulty and serve as an exemplar of unity in a time of fragmentation and political polarization inspiring.

This podcast is an edited version of our Online Conversation from August, 2021. You can access the full conversation with transcript here.

Learn more about Mark Labberton, Walter Kim, and Claude Alexander.

Authors and books mentioned in the conversation:

Martin Luther King. Jr.
Yuval Levin
G.K. Chesterton
St. Paul

Related Trinity Forum Readings:

Crisis-Ready Leadership Collection
The Confessions of St. Augustine
City of God
Children of Light and the Children of Darkness, by Reinhold Niebuhr
Politics and the English Language, by George Orwell
Politics, Morality, and Civility, by Václav Havel 

Related Conversations:

Leadership in Tumultuous Times with Ron C. White
Lincoln in Private with Ron C. White
Crisis Ready Leadership
Redeeming Power with Diane Langberg
Character, Virtue, and Leadership with Michael Lamb

To listen to this or any of our episodes in full, visit ttf.org/podcast and to join the Trinity Forum Society and help make content like this possible, join the Trinity Forum Society

Special thanks to Ned Bustard for our podcast artwork