Throughout redemptive history, shepherds entrusted with the care of God’s people have wrestled with the question of how to configure the shape of life in the community of the redeemed in light of the patterns of life in the surrounding society. Before the advent of self-consciously modern culture, when cultural change proceeded at (by comparison to today) a glacial pace, church leaders could take more time to reflect on such questions. When cultural conventions and forms remained constant for generations—even for centuries—their meaning and significance could be examined more carefully.
Two of the many distinct conditions of modern culture have made this project of discernment much more difficult. First, the rate of cultural change . . .