I first picked up “The Secular Creed” by Rebecca McLaughlin because I was desperately searching for some sort of Christian book that would address the issues my children are being taught in the public school. I didn’t wanted to stand on a street corner and yell against all the social issues, but rather I wanted to be able to pull apart each issue and identify where there was some truth and where there were lies. Because the reality is, most of the social issues have some sort of truth to them. But my children are not wise enough, heck, I’m not always wise enough to see where a social issue is twisting the truth and your emotional heart strings all at the same time in order to push an agenda.
Rebecca’s book was exactly what I was looking for.
The Issues addressed:
There were five chapters in this book, and each chapter was only about 20 pages. Each chapter began with a social issue, a full discussion of the issue, scientific research surrounding that issue, the historic context for the issue, and then concluded with how specifically the Bible addresses the issue.
The Secular Creeds were:
- Black Lives Matter
- Love is Love
- The Gay-Rights Movement is the New Civil Rights Movement
- Women’s Rights are Human Rights
- Transgender Women are Women
Each of these chapters began with a clear statement that is heard often within all of our social circles. The thing about each of these statements is they sound and feel right. Black lives DO matter. Everyone SHOULD feel loved. NO ONE should ever be oppressed, and so on. On the surface, it’s hard to argue with any of the above statements and not sound like an unloving bigot. I think it’s even harder for our children to walk the halls of their schools and know how to navigate such confusion within their own souls.
The author states it this way in the introduction. (Christians tend to think) “if these ideas stand together, they must all be wrong. This book will offer a third approach….we’ll aim to disentangle ideas Christians can and must affirm from ideas Christians cannot and must not embrace…” (2). This book becomes the apologetic book needed for all generations to be able to confidently and Biblically walk through societal issues and bring light into the darkness.
What I appreciated
One thing I appreciated about Rebecca’s approach in this book was how kind she was throughout. Her main call was the tenderness needed towards all image bearers of God. In addition, she focused on the societal changes we as Christians need to make in order for the gospel to be expressed completely through our lives. She herself struggles with same-sex attraction. This makes her writing come from a place of compassion and not judgment. Isn’t that just like God?! She submitted her life to God, and He used her greatest struggle to create a strong voice able to bring truth to a dying world.
Downfall of the book
If I were to point out one or two downfalls of the book, it would be the simplicity of some of the language. The chapter on Black Lives Matter went through the history of the U.S. and the history of Christ rather quickly. While she tied the historic lessons learned into the social issue at hand well, some of the examples were a bit trite or simplistic. In fact, I found myself skimming a bit and had to go back and reread and force my mind to engage more. It was closer to chapter 3 before I was truly invested in the book and didn’t want to put it down. I’m not sure this would be the case for everyone, but it definitely took me a bit to jump in.
I truly believe this is a book all Christians, high school and older, need to read with a humble heart. The language used and the topics covered would probably go over my middle schooler’s head. This would speak directly to my high schoolers though. The creeds discussed, the arguments that are investigated, and the fear that’s addressed throughout the pages are exactly what they are being confronted with by their teachers and school environment. In addition, I believe every adult should also read this book. We need a book like this that doesn’t just tell us to flee or be angry about the world. Rather it teaches clearly how to engage, love , and hold onto Biblical principles in a world with shifting values.
In the last chapter of “The Secular Creed”, Rebecca states, “ in order to make progress, … to show where progressives are wrong, we must also freely acknowledge where they are right.” (106). We don’t compromise our beliefs or water down what God says when we intelligently think through issues and are able to see both sides clearly. It takes humility to see where you agree with those on the other side of an aisle. In order for not only us, but also our children, to know how to navigate the world and follow Christ with a wholehearted obedience, we need to be able to intelligently think through these critical social issues.
No more mob mentality, collective thinking, or fear forcing us to be angry. Rather, this book offers a great opportunity to see the issues facing the world today and find a way to walk through these issues in a godly manner.
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