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Bethlehem Lecturer Sees Naked Public Square Grown Cold

SOUTHERN SEMINARY’S WALKER URGES “CIVIC THEISM.”

MOUNDS VIEW, Minn., April 26, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — “Christians should be willing to confront secularism head-on,” said Dr. Andrew T. Walker of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in remarks delivered at The North Church, Mounds View, as the last event in Bethlehem College and Seminary’s 2024 Spring Lecture Series. Walker currently serves as Southern Seminary’s Associate Dean in the School of Theology, and Associate Professor of Christian Ethics and Public Theology. He is also the Director of the Carl F. H. Henry Institute for Evangelical Engagement.

It is a privilege for us to host someone whom I personally regard one of the leading Baptist theologians of our day,” said Bethlehem College and Seminary President Dr. Brian J. Tabb. The church and academy are both blessed by his scholarship on religious liberty, statecraft, and political theology,” he added. 

In an address entitled “The Naked Public Square is Very Cold in Winter,” Walker borrowed on a phrase coined by Richard John Neuhaus in 1984. Surveying the current situation, Walker said, “If America was on the verge of a naked public square in the 1980s, we’ve learned that without God, the public square has grown quite cold and inhospitable to human civilization.”

He told an audience of students, faculty, church members, and guests from the general public, “Modern secular morality is bankrupt, barbaric, and brittle. It is deeply irrational. Where it isn’t, it is borrowing from Christianity.” Walker further stated that “Secular morality has no satisfying answers to humanity’s deepest questions. It is a cesspool of relativism, therapeutism, and hyper-individualism.”

Walker called for a new season of “Civic Theism,” a doctrine arguing that human beings have an innate, non-salvific awareness of God’s moral laws that makes them eligible for participation within political communities. “It is good for regimes to establish their own way in determining how to acknowledge God within the apparatus of government and the broader public order, but acknowledge him they must,” said Walker.

Widely recognized for his scholarship on religious liberty, Walker hastened to add, “We should call for a theocentric moral vision for America but do so with humility, which is why the First Amendment’s commitment to religious liberty matters as much for Christians as it does for America more broadly.”

“I have no pretenses for ‘taking America back for Christ’ in some God-and-country sense; no, we need to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ amid the ruins of secularism,” Walker said. “Christians need to be there when reality snaps back and people find themselves burned out and dejected from bottoming out on secularism,” he added.

Bethlehem College and Seminary is a churches-based, degree-granting institution with its main campus located on the site of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, and evening classes conducted at The North Church, Mounds View, Minnesota. The school offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees. The college is in the model of classical and Christian education, while the seminary focuses on equipping of biblical elders for the tasks of pastoral, missionary, and academic ministry. The seminary maintains a separate location in Yaoundé, Republic of Cameroon, in cooperation with Église Baptiste Bethléem, a church planted by one of its graduates. Bethlehem College and Seminary is accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education Commission on Accreditation.

SOURCE Bethlehem College and Seminary

Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/bethlehem-lecturer-sees-naked-public-square-grown-cold-302128362.html
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