Q&A With Trevin Wax on His Book This Is Our Time
By Aaron Earls
Christians are facing numerous temptations today, but not all temptations are upfront. Some sneak in as cultural assumptions.
Trevin Wax’s book, This Is Our Time, helps readers recognize the societal myths that influence our neighbors, our friends, and us.
We asked Wax about the book and some of those dangers he addresses. This is part of a longer Q&A that will appear in an upcoming print issue of Facts & Trends.
F&T: Is This Is Our Time a book specifically for millennials or young adults?
Of course, some who are older will need to see how that includes the call to equip the generation that’s coming behind.
For those of us who are millennials, part of our call to faithfulness will be to listen and cherish the counsel and wisdom we have from those who are right before us. But all of us are still on the track right now.
I’m writing for right now where I think a lot of millennials are going to resonate, but there’s nothing in this book that would not be applicable to other generations of believers who are in the race today.
F&T: An entire chapter of your book is devoted to the cultural impact of smartphones. What makes the knowledge we can obtain from these devices so dangerous?
Wax: It’s not so much the gaining of knowledge that’s dangerous, but the idea that the smartphone has the kind of knowledge you need. It’s the idea that those things you can look up on Wikipedia or ask Siri about are most important.
One of the beautiful things about the smartphone is that you can find so many facts so quickly and easily. You have all of that knowledge at your fingertips.
The danger of that, though, is to think that knowledge is all you need for right living and for faithfulness in our world.
What we really need is a deeper knowledge of people. We need a deeper knowledge of God. We need knowledge that goes beyond the surface of facts and figures and goes to wisdom and discernment.
What does it mean to live faithfully in this world? You can’t ask that question and get an answer on Wikipedia. You’ve got to do the hard work of knowing God, knowing His people, and knowing His Word.
F&T: Another aspect of modern life is the almost inescapable culture war. What dangers exist for the church there?
Wax: There are several issues, including compromise and complacency. First, we can assume checking off our agreement on certain key issues is the way to ensure faithfulness.
We can affirm the right doctrines and still live as if they’re not true. We can affirm the right moral and biblical position and then woefully fall short in the actual way we live.
We become hypocritical and that’s an issue of compromise.
Complacency comes in when we assume that if we’re winning certain political battles then we’re moving forward, and if we’re losing certain political battles then we’re moving back.
If we’re charting our trajectory based on Christlikeness, however, it could be that God is moving us forward when we’re losing politically and it could be that we’re moving back and becoming complacent when we think we’re winning politically or culturally.
It’s dangerous to conflate Christian faithfulness with political successes. God calls us to be faithful witnesses, not to win every political battle.
It’s more important that we wage war on the sins and self-righteousness that work in our own hearts and lives.
F&T: You titled this book This Is Our Time, and you spend some time in the book writing about why we shouldn’t long for another “golden age” in history. What’s the danger in that?
Wax: The title has something of a double meaning. First, the book is literally about this time. I’m giving snapshots of 21st-century life.
But I’m also focusing on this is our time. Many people today want to shrink back from being faithful in this generation. They may resent some of the challenges we face today, like the sexual revolution, the rise of secularism, and the decline of cultural Christianity.
Some Christians become nostalgic for another era we think would have been better for us. But when we do that, we’re actually questioning the wisdom of God in putting us on earth in this moment.
So when I say this is “our time,” I mean this is our generation’s moment to be faithful. We can’t gripe or resent or be afraid of the moment we’ve been given.
This is the moment the great crowd of witnesses around us is cheering us on. It’s our moment on the field as we run the race God has set out for us.
AARON EARLS (Aaron.Earls@Lifeway.com) is online editor of Facts & Trends.