Lusk writes the following:
Once upon a time, the religious consensus of Christendom had provided the culture’s stability and cohesion. One faith, one Lord, one baptism had been the glue that held society together. Now [at the time of the Enlightenment] that older consensus had evaporated.
So the disunity of the church weakened her and left a void that the state quickly filled. The Enlightenment (Locke, Hobbes et. al.) provided the impetus for filling that void. It follows that a big piece of this puzzle of what it looks like for “the church to be the church” and to reassert her primacy (i.e., regain a Constantinian shape to the world), is for the church to be unified. That looks like Sisyphus’ boulder, no?
At the very least we can say that the evangelical church has largely accepted the role assigned to it by the Enlightenment. Modernity (heir to Enlightenment) has said that the church can only talk about religion as a private affair of the individual’s mind and heart. Economics, education, business, government, the arts, foreign policy – these are in the neutral realm of science and fact. What could religion possibly say about these things? The church has accepted a tamed version of the Christian faith that keeps the claims of Christ and the truth of the gospel separated into the compartment of private feelings and personal preferences (“non-communal, non-institutional”).
Somewhere along the way, the Christian faith became a message about how to change your life and how to escape the world instead of being the earth-shaking, revolutionary message about the universal Lordship of the risen and reigning Savior, Jesus Christ.
If the church will be the church, His ministers need to look the rulers of the city of man in the eye and command them to bow to King Jesus.