I have written a lot about Christians entering the public square, but there really has not been very much discussion about the public square itself.
What is the public square?
In the United States of America, we are fortunate to have the constitutional right to freedom of speech. We are able to voice our opinions and discuss even controversial issues because freedom of speech is not limited to our families, our homes or our neighborhoods.
Sure, people disagree in the public square. There will be worldviews that come into conflict. Some worldviews are not reconcilable. It is logically impossible for God to exist and God not to exist. The atheist and the theist are simply not going to agree on that point, but the public square is the arena that both of these people are able to utilize to share their opinions. They are able to present evidence and make claims.
Why then is the public square so important particularly for people who subscribe to a Christian worldview?
Quite simply, Jesus Christ commanded us to:
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20, ESV)
Christianity is not something that is designed to be kept quiet. Rather, Christians are called to engage with the world. Christians are called to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth. All nations need the Gospel; all people need to hear about their Savior.
Therefore, when we consider the public square, we need to remember that it is inevitably an area of conflict. Worldviews do not always fit together neatly, and some of them are explicitly contradictory. At the same time, even though we might find ourselves in conflict with other people, we need to enter the public square.
Over the next two posts, we’re going to look at some of the other players in the marketplace of ideas that we find in the public square, and we’re going to look at what interaction ought to look like when we find those people we disagree with.