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There was a time not long ago when the evangelical commu-nity had considerable consensus on lifestyle questions and socialissues We generally agreed on what we should eat and drink and how we might spend our weekends There was little debate over definitions of vulgarity or morality and questions of fashion were rarely a matter for discussion In those days everyone knew how a family should be raised and aberrations such as divorce and abortion were simply that problems found only among hose outside the fold All of that has changedToday there is considerable disagreement on such questions and where there is not disagreement there is often a reluctant silence or unwillingness to enter into discussion on these questions The problem is complicated by the fact that these issues do not always fall neatly into those familiar gaps found among genders generations and geographies Too often we find uneasy disagreement among parishioners or even among clergy in the same denomination Similarly tensions are found among teenagers or among parents and not simply between those two groups In each case where such tensions exist clear biblical and objective bases for evaluating our modern society are usually not found Consequently theological answers to these questions have generally not been helpful That is not to say we should expect them to be Much of the difficulty in dealing with contemporary social issues can be attributed to modernity with its tendency to pose problems that all outside of theological answers Theology is designed to defend the faith and not to interpret modern culture or to help the believer live in it It is the province of social science to understand modernity and to explain how it affects all of us Theology cannot be expected to interpret the impact of computers on modern life any more than social science can be expected to explain the Trinity What theology can do is to elucidate those universal principles given to us by God
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