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The Secular Creed

Engaging five contemporary claims

Rebecca McLaughlin



The Secular Creed

Engaging five contemporary claims

Rebecca McLaughlin


In this house we believe that:

Black Lives Matter

Love Is Love

Gay Rights Are Civil Rights

Women’s Rights Are Human Rights

Transgender Women Are Women

You may have seen signs with some of these messages in your neighborhood. They offer us an all-or-nothing package deal—in short, a secular creed.

In this provocative book, Rebecca McLaughlin helps us disentangle the beliefs Christians gladly affirm from those they cannot embrace, and invites us to talk with our neighbors about the things that matter most. Far from opposing love across difference, McLaughlin argues, Christianity is the original source and firmest foundation for true diversity, equality, and life-transforming love.


“Addressing five key cultural topics of the day in this vital book, Rebecca McLaughlin deftly examines the pernicious lies that have insidiously infiltrated our world, including the church, and gives a solid and biblical rebuttal to each lie. Every Christian needs to read this book.” Becket Cook, author of A Change of Affection: A Gay Man’s Incredible Story of Redemption and host of The Becket Cook Show

“In this book, Rebecca McLaughlin offers a gentle, yet powerful biblical corrective that calls readers to holistic Christian love—a higher calling than the call of the culture, and, often, a harder calling. She examines popular cultural mantras and answers each one with the truth and application of the gospel of Christ. In her balanced and gracious approach, she paints our culture's arguments in the most compassionate light possible—and then shows the beauty of a more excellent way!” Jasmine Holmes, author of Mother to Son: Letters to a Black Boy on Identity and Hope

“Rebecca McLaughlin’s first book was the best all-round defense of the Christian faith I had read in a decade. This one is the perfect complement. In it the author points the way to a different kind of ‘muscular’ Christianity, one that is able to flex the muscle of conviction and the muscle of compassion at the same time. For a church—and a world—too often forced to choose between smug conservatism and acquiescing liberalism, McLaughlin recovers the genius of Jesus Christ, showing us how to love the truth and humans with equal passion. The result is an utterly compelling and humane treatment of five vital contemporary issues.” John Dickson, author and historian, Distinguished Fellow in Public Christianity at Ridley College, Australia

“This book is so powerful on a thousand levels. It’s compelling, accessible, informative, captivating, convicting, and empowering. It gives Christians understanding and language to be able to engage and not retreat, love and not compromise, accept and not affirm, empathize and not sympathize. It moves the conversation forward not just left or right. This is a discipleship book, not just an apologetics book. It’s incredible.” Christine Caine, founder, A21 & Propel Women

“There are few whose voices I trust more in translating the claims of Christ for a new generation than Rebecca McLaughlin. She writes with a gospel clarity, keenness of insight, and personal winsomeness that make her one of the best apologists of our generation. As with her debut book, Confronting Christianity, I enthusiastically endorse this one.” J. D. Greear, pastor, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; president, Southern Baptist Convention

“Rebecca McLaughlin goes where few dare to go—head first into the hardest questions and issues of our cultural moment, with compassion, clarity, and conviction in order to show the beauty and cogency of the Christian faith. She is one of the most important writers serving the church today. She proved this with Confronting Christianity and has cemented that status with The Secular Creed. A potent blend of cultural analysis and biblical reflection, this is the rare book that’s vital for believers and skeptics alike. I’m eager to get The Secular Creed into the hands of both my congregants and non-Christian friends.” Claude Atcho, pastor, Fellowship Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee; author of a forthcoming book on African American literature and theology (Brazos)

“The people around us care deeply about diversity, equality, and justice—and many think Christians stand against those values. As a pastor of a diverse, urban church, I need help to wisely and winsomely address their concerns. This is why I’m thankful for the major assist I’ve gotten from this book. McLaughlin knows today’s issues well and has the biblical, historical, and sociological knowledge to help us understand them and be equipped to answer them well.” Vermon Pierre, lead pastor, Roosevelt Community Church in Phoenix, Arizona; council member of The Gospel Coalition

  • Title

    The Secular Creed

  • Author(s)

    Rebecca McLaughlin

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  • Topic

    Gender & Sexuality

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Rebecca McLaughlin

Rebecca McLaughlin

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The Secular Creed

It can seem difficult to know how to respond biblically to the progressive agenda, and so Rebecca McLaughlin has done the church a service in writing this book tackling five common secular claims. Although it has the American situation in mind, these ideas have clearly crossed the Atlantic. The basic thesis of the book is that God as Creator is the true source of justice and human rights, as he made man in his image. If there is no God, there is nothing special about man, and so human rights have no basis. At the same time she is clear that the Church needs to repent for its past indifference to injustice and lack of love. This is most clearly seen in the chapter on “Black lives matter”. The Gospel is good news for all nations, but too often the Church forgot that, especially in America, but no doubt elsewhere also. The Gospel is also pictured as Christ seeking his bride, the Church, in love. Human marriage between a man and a woman is at root only a picture of that glorious ultimate reality. This shows that it is not enough to say “love is love” for relationships that do not reflect Christ and his Church. A fundamental contradiction of progressivism is outlined in the chapter on whether the gay rights movement is the new civil rights movement. Martin Luther King could say that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”, but he had a Christian eschatology in mind. An atheist cannot say that history is on the side of any idea because in their worldview the universe is meaningless. Furthermore, it is a category error to analogise race and sex. Men and women are biologically different in a way that races are not. And just as the Gospel is good news for all races, it is good news for women as well, witnessed by Jesus’ relationship with them and the prominence of women in the church ever since, where they continue to enjoy psychological benefits (lower suicide rates, more life satisfaction) compared to those outside it. All this undermines the feminist canard that Christianity harms women. Ironically it is far truer of transgender ideology, which undermines the very concept of being a woman by divorcing it from the facts of one’s body. Here again the Gospel brings good news: whatever dysphoria or discontent we feel about our present bodies will be more than resolved when we receive our resurrection bodies when Christ. So if you feel on the back foot in engaging with progressive ideas, then read this book. It will give you a way of thinking about them in a Christ–honouring way. At 107 pages, it is not the final word, but it will help you in conversations with people who hold secular progressive views to point them to the Lord Jesus, who alone will create the just world many yearn for.

Stephen Ayre

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