Contra mundum pro mundi.

“Against the world, for the world’s sake.”

colsonColson’s public-square work offers modern evangelicals a workable model. Initially, Colson considered himself contra mundum, “against the world,” as a believer. He wished to stand against evil. He never lost this vital perspective, but his friend, First Things editor Richard John Neuhaus, suggested Colson tweak the self-descriptor. The Christian, he said, is contra mundum pro mundo, “against the world for the world,” an elegant and accurate summation of evangelical engagement with a fallen order. The believer, and particularly the public-square witness, opposes evil, but does so not to defeat opponents or gobble up cultural territory. We are against the world out of love, seeking always to win lost friends to Christ and usher them into flourishing.

Owen Strachen, “Chuck Colsen was not a Culture Warrior” (Oct. 2015) (

God’s rights, and ours

Jesus says, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light,” but it is easy to kid ourselves that he makes no demands whatsoever.  The dividing line between believer and non-believer isn’t a matter of fine theological detail, or practical living as a kind, loving person, it is recognition that the Creator has a right to ask something of me that I do not want to give, and that my compliance is flawed.  The fine theological details come in deciding what he actually requires.  The practical living comes in deciding whether I will give it, and what needs to be done when I fail or rebel.