Dr. David Platt, an author and head of the International Mission Board, is challenging Christians not to retreat from culture and to, instead, engage on contentious issues like homosexuality, abortion, sex trafficking and pornography, among others.
Platt, whose new book "Counter Culture" decries the fact that "right and wrong are no longer measured by universal truth but by popular opinion" and implores Christians to stand up for their faith and values, told TheBlaze that he's concerned when he sees any group losing its ability to "speak freely and consistently with their beliefs."
When this sort of silencing is allowed to happen as he believes it has against Christians today, Platt said that society finds itself chipping away at the "primary values our country was founded in." And he's hoping to inspire other believers to speak out, like him, with "clarity and compassion."
"I'm encouraging Christians to think through, 'Am I going to live with conviction?'" he said, later adding, "Our culture now, in many ways, is labeling Christian beliefs not only different, but dangerous."
Platt also said that he believes modern culture has a misunderstanding of what tolerance truly means.
"Basically, if you agree with what's popular or politically correct, then you're okay — but if you don't, you're labeled intolerant," he said. "Part of it is the way we've mystified the idea of tolerance. Tolerance, itself, implies disagreement."
Platt said that it should be possible for people to disagree with one another, while still maintaining common courtesy, love and respect. The pastor said that he has seen this principle in his own life when it comes to gay and lesbian family members.
"We disagree, but that doesn't mean we don't have respect and dignity for each other," he said. "There's a way to disagree with dignity for one another."
Addressing the issue more generally, Platt said that there's "never an excuse for animus against someone else, because they have same-sex attraction."
"We're not enemies of each other … they're not enemies that are in a conspiracy set out to destroy our faith," he said. "We're all seeking a way that seems right to us. The beauty of American culture … we have the ability to have disagreements with one another."
With the momentum on culture moving so fast and with what he sees as a "sexual revolution" afoot, Platt said that he's hoping "Counter Culture" can help Christians tackle some of these challenges in a way that allows them to stand by their convictions with boldness.
"I'm trying in this 'Counter Culture' book to say, 'How can Christians who believe the Bible stand on conviction amidst rapid change around them, and at the same time do that for people who disagree?" he said.
In the end, Platt is hopeful that nonbelievers will see that, though they disagree with some of the principles, Christians are motivated by compassion. But for now, he's warning that it could be an uphill battle.
"In light of the rapidly shifting moral landscaping … I'm not particularly hopeful right now that that shift is going to slow or that rapidity is going to decrease, so that's part of why I wanted to get this book out," he said. "We're living in a unique time and we have opportunities all around us to stand with conviction and compassion — so are we going to have the courage to do it?"
Read more about Platt and "Counter Culture" here.