rebelling against low expectations

Winning the Culture War (Or Not)


The Importance of Competence

You’ve probably noticed that most Christians have a reputation for doing things at a less-than-great level of quality. Their intentions are good, but the execution is lacking. It could be a film with a good message, but a lousy script (and worse acting), or a website with good content, but poor layout and graphic design. Whatever it is, the quality is often embarrassing at best, disastrous at worst.

This is not at all to condemn Christians who are actually striving to live out their faith on a daily basis, and especially not those who are learning from their failures, trying again, and growing in both character and competence. They’re to be commended. But as we’ve been discussing in this series, as rebelutionaries we need to recognize the importance of beginning now to build the competence necessary to carry out the vision God gives us and to do so with excellence.

Winning the Culture Wars

There’s a battle going on for our culture that every generation must fight. It’s nice to think that the good guys always win, but they don’t. The myth of adolescence proves that. If you’re not convinced, just walk through a mall. Try to find modest clothing or a decent movie in theaters. Christians aren’t winning. Why?

This is a generalization, but there’s truth to it: We’re in a battle between competent sinners and incompetent saints. And the sinners are winning. Why are they winning? Again, this is a generalization, but they’re winning because they are competent and we are not. In the areas of science and entertainment, they dominate the field.

It Wasn’t Always This Way

It wasn’t always this way. America grew out of Christian competence. Modern science was birthed in a Christian culture by incredibly competent Christian men and women, like Galileo, Copernicus, and Francis Bacon, all the way up to Isaac Newton and countless others. The Christian church used to be the chief patron of the arts. Much of the remaining greatness of America is because of Christians in the past who had the competence to match their good intentions.

Why do we share this with you? Because the Rebelution is a call to action. It isn’t enough to be talented. It isn’t enough to be homeschooled or to attend a good public or private school. It isn’t enough that you go to a good church.

While we’re at it: It also isn’t enough to read this blog, come to a conference, or read our book and get excited. If those things don’t make you more effective for Christ and His Kingdom they haven’t accomplished anything.

The Efficacy of Christ

Christ’s life and death accomplished something. Our salvation doesn’t grant us eternal life so we can kick back and relax. Instead it obliges us to do things of eternal consequence in a testimony to the great and merciful God we serve. To act. And not in order to be saved, but because we are saved.

We love this quote by Martin Luther: “O, this faith is a living, busy, active, powerful thing! It is impossible that it should not be ceaselessly doing that which is good. It does not even ask whether good works should be done; but before the question can be asked, it has done them, and it is constantly engaged in doing them.”

We are called to live active lives. In the next post, we’re going to take a closer look at the purpose for our action. That’s important, because just like good intentions, competence, by itself, is not enough. Soli deo gloria!

Part One / Part Two / Part Three / Part Four

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About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.

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rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →