Earlier this month the Rev. Carl Trueman, OPC minister and professor at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, published an essay arguing that the rise of the anti-culture is upon us. 
 

The anti-culture is the deliberate effort by today's power brokers - the entertainment industry, big business, and legal institutions - to detach life in the present from all past moral structures and all future prospects of accountability.

 

"...if we define [culture] as the elaborate structures and materials built in to the very fabric of society for the refinement and transmission of its beliefs and its forms of life from generation to generation, connecting past, present, and future, then we really have none. None at all. From elite critical theory in the lecture theaters of the Ivy Leagues to the rampant epidemic of pornography on so many computer screens, we live in world that seeks to detach and isolate the present from any accountability to past or future. Ours is the era of the sempiternal orgiast, the true hero of our time."

Trueman is right. The will for self-autonomy and self-determinism is being prosecuted on an increasingly large scale at an ever quickening rate. As Albert Mohler showed this week, leaders of the anti-culture are demanding complete and unconditional surrender of anyone still upholding those archaic moral views that once permeated all western cultures until, say, 20 minutes ago. Also this week the country of Italy became the last western European country to legalize same-sex civil unions.
 
What is the Christian to do? 
 
What follows is by no means exhaustive counsel on how to be in the world but not of it (John 17:14-18). I hope, however, it is helpful and biblical counsel, counsel that would have been just as true and useful 50 years ago during the sexual revolution and just as true and useful 220 years ago during the French Revolution when France was systematically de-Christianized in just five years - a situation that did not last but remains remarkable.
(1) Do not do as the Gentiles do (Ephesians 4:17-20). Let's face it, one of the biggest challenges of living up close to the Gentiles is the temptation to be like them. This temptation and succumbing to it defined much of Israel's history in the scriptures. Remember the Canaanization of Israel in the book of Judges. Apart from God keeping his promise through the covenant of grace, Israel would have assimilated and disappeared from the earth as a holy people of God's own possession.
Thus the way our culture threatens the church today is not that we would lose prominence and privilege in the kingdoms of this world. The main threat is that we would assimilate. The threat is that we would put down the holy habits and biblical convictions revealed in God's word and take up the earthbound ambitions and ideologies of men. That we would prefer Egypt to our heavenly country.
The point is this: be concerned for yourself much more than you are concerned for the culture around you. Are you more alarmed by what is going on in the world than by what is going on in the churches and in your own life? If you are, you are severely handicapped spiritually and ripe for significant compromise. Christians who are full of passions against the world are not much different from those full of passions for the world. Both are carried along by earthbound passions. Let us not overlook the fact that many of the loudest culture warriors of recent years were later exposed for their own scandalous sins. Like the Pharisees who outwardly scolded, there was much rot hidden on the inside (Matt. 23:27).
(2) Groan before God. Proverbs 29:2 says, "When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan." When men openly and wholeheartedly approve for society that which God forbids, we must groan. When we think of the anti-culture around us and its penetration into ever higher structures of authority, a soberness and serious-mindedness settles upon all who love righteousness. This groaning is as much from God as is the joy that fills us when we think upon Christ and his unconquerable reign as Redeemer King. It is the groaning of the children of God. We groan for ourselves, for our children, for the glory of God, and even for what we know the wicked will reap.
 
The point is this: let us come before God and groan in holiness instead of merely groaning into the ears of men. And let us not pretend to be all cheery and smiley as if the world is such a great place. If so, why bother saying, "Come, Lord Jesus!"? (Rev. 22:20). Singing Psalms of lament in corporate worship is one way we will groan rightly before God. People who avoid corporate lamentation are usually those most happy with the world. Praying a certain kind of prayer in the presence of our children is another way we groan aright before God. Say prayers that include variations of, "Thy Kingdom of come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." Such holy dissatisfaction will be evidence that we are citizens of another Kingdom, a people "waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells" (2 Peter 3:13).
(3) Do not be angry. Do not be angry this world keeps proving itself not to be your true home. Think about it: we are inflamed to curse other men when we see them taking from us that which is ours. But is America of yesteryear really our true home? Is an America revitalized 40 years from now even our true home?
In Romans 12:14 the apostle Paul says, "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them." Paul is talking about how we use our mouths. Not only does he forbid verbal cursing of those who persecute us or our beliefs, but he insists upon verbal blessings - prayers to God for evildoers and the enemies of Christ (Jeremiah 29:7). Paul's logic here is gospel logic. If you are in Christ, those who persecute you cannot take anything from you which you will not receive back a hundredfold (Matt. 19:28-29).
 
The point is this: As Christians lose "most privileged" status in the United States we are not losing most privileged status in the kingdom of God. By the mercies of God we have been made citizens of a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Let us not live here below as if we believed the United States was our lasting possession, our true hope for peace and rest. By mercy we have been made citizens of a heavenly country (Heb. 11:16).  How can we show anything but mercy to those who persecute us even while we thoroughly refuse to conform to their values, ambitions and goals? 
(4) Tend closely the two cultures full of promise. God has made promises to the Christian church and to the Christian family (Matt. 16:18; Isa. 59:21; Acts 2:38-39, 2 Pet. 1:4). He has promised to ordinarily build and prosper his church by justifying and sanctifying believing parents and their children. Such gracious promises should give us great energy to keep the anti-culture out of our churches and our homes. If the anti-culture quarantines the present from both the past and future, then a robust culture-making within the church and home will strive to do the opposite. We will be careful to transmit in both church and home elaborate structures from the past and our elaborate hopes for the future.
The point is this: Is the culture in your home merely another reflection of 21st century American values, habits, and ambitions or is something noticeably ancient going on there? Is something being passed down from the faith of our fathers? Are the faithful arms of the past reaching out and embracing your children through catechesis, family singing and prayer, unyielding Lord's Day habits of worship and mercy, deliberate acts of neighbor love, and rich conversation in the things of God? Surely, we all have room to grow in this, but let us recommit now knowing that our homes and our children's homes can be greatly prepared for the long winter of the anti-culture by sowing right now the seeds of a lush godly culture that is not shaped by innovation but by reception - receiving the ways our father's who already finished the race of our most holy faith.
All of that goes for our church culture as well. Let us not be satisfied with a discipleship, worship, and ministry marked by all the present-moment shallowness of the 21st century church. Instead, may God grant us the wisdom of our fathers in matters not clearly revealed in scripture and may God grant us an eschatological eye to see the unseen things of Christ's kingdom - who we are in him and to whom we gather when at worship (Heb. 12:22ff).
(5) Less TV. More reading. More hearing. Okay, so this one does not immediately apply to those living through the French Revolution. I suppose, however, they too had their distracting entertainments. My point here is not so much to scold television viewing but to promote the development of a Christian mind.
The average American watches five hours of TV a day. The greatest value of that statistic is that it shows how much disposable time we have. Has any people in the history of the world every had so much leisure time?
Now do not think this itself is a problem. Leisure is an opportunity. It is a gift from God. There can be no development of a rich cultural life without  leisure, in both home and church. Think of all that God gets done on the Lord's Day. But also think of art, literature, poetry, and even recipes. Leisure allowed for them all. Leisure is a great opportunity but opportunities can be wasted. The Christian, however, is a holy opportunist, motivated to new holy habits when he hears Christ say: "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil (Eph. 5:15-16).
To glorify and enjoy God during the long winter of the anti-culture, we need to think Christianly about everything. "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." How do you think about those who are enemies of Christ? How do you think about obedience to the state? How do you think about sexual deviant behavior? How do you think about the body? How do you think about other religions? Do you know why you believe what you believe? Can you tell your children?
 

Linda Dey, co-founder of The Imago School in Massachusetts said: "I saw and talked with a lot of faith dropouts and potential faith dropouts while working at L’Abri in the 70’s, and the great majority were those who had been told, “Don’t ask questions; just BELIEVE.”...."Students taught to think Christianly about every area of study will come to see Christianity as not just a limited set of rules, beliefs, and practices but as the truth about reality."

 
The point is this: Biblical literacy is at an all time low yet Christian churches encourage believers and their children to hear fewer sermons not more. Cultural literacy is at an all time low yet Christians watch more TV and read less. We have a great opportunity here to tend to our minds. It just so happens that God has blessed Christians in America with leisure time at the very moment we desperately need to develop our Christian minds. May he give us a both the vision and grace to know what to do with it.