This book is one that comes at a time when it is needed, a book purporting to deal with ‘Political Correctness’ from a biblical perspective. Its author is the pastor of the church I grew up in, and the editor of Evangelicals Now, Dr John Benton. It is one of many books he has written, and is published by Evangelical Press. Some good endorsees grace its early pages, including Robert Strivens, Mike Bullmore, and Bruce A. Ware. Some of the themes are echoes of his recent book ‘At The Cross‘
Benton’s premise is that PC is a challenge that needs to be faced by bible-believing Christians, for the sake of the Gospel, and because the Gospel calls us to a better way of living. The best way to see this book is not as ‘the’ book on PC, tolerance, equality and so on, but as a great primer; bringing together various strand and ideas from other books and things, and collating it all helpfully. This is much borne out in the order of the book, as Benton traces ideas and trends in ways that are helpful and readable.
This slim book, coming in at just under 200 pages, is chock-full of engagement with some controversial issues. Particularly interesting chapters included ‘A Guide to answering the gay agenda’, which is a very careful look at the issue from a conservative perspective, ‘Christianity and Multiculturalism’, which is a powerfully biblical evangelical engagement, grounded in Grace, and the brilliant ‘What happened to tolerance?’. Benton takes us through all of the issues covered with a pastors heart, and with reasoned and rigorous biblical exegesis.
The two standout chapters for me were the 5th, ‘Therapy culture: the engine of political correctness’, in which Benton exposes some of the bizarre and daft assumptions that many of us ingest easily. I was reminded of my friend Glynn Harrison’s excellent ‘The Big Ego Trip‘, which deals with some of what Benton is alluding to in more detail, but it was interesting seeing the links that John drew between therapy and political correctness. The other standout was the challenging 10th chapter, ‘Evangelicalism falling for it?’. It is worth reminding the reader that this book is by an Evangelical Baptist pastor who has been in ministry for decades, who is also an author, conference speaker and editor of a Christian newspaper. In this chapter, with other things in mind, Benton particularly examines William Paul Young’s ‘The Shack’ and Rob Bell’s ‘Love Wins’. Whether the reader agrees with his conclusions or not, there is food for thought here.
I enjoyed reading this book some of the time, and at other times it made me somewhat concerned for the future. Benton has a gripping style, occasionally provocative, but always well thought through. I wouldn’t say I agreed 100% with every word, but I think this book is well worth a read, particularly on the issue of Political Correctness, but generally for Christians in leadership or thinking about engagement in the public square. Recommended!