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Caesar salad

‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s...’ This is the famous pronouncement of the Master in response to a particularly intense period of Pharisaic grilling. But what precisely does it mean as Christians in America negotiate a cultural landscape that appears less friendly to traditional Christian values and the message of the gospel than in the recent past?

Letter from America Josh Moody

The blogosphere is not short of answers, but I suggest that 1 John, in particular, provides a compelling look at the right way to respond. In the context in which John was writing, there was an incipient ‘Gnosticism’ that was advocating a toned down spirituality, denying that Jesus was the Christ in ‘flesh’, and therefore that it was possible to be spiritual without actual practical commitment to the local church or, indeed, without practising righteousness. In other words, in response to pressures from a pagan environment, the church was susceptible to a form of teaching that allowed it to live in a less combative fashion with its neighbours — understandable in its own right — but by means of denying core doctrines (‘Jesus is the Christ’) and core moral behaviour (‘practising righteousness’).