"Jonathan Edwards could not imagine a Christian being indifferent to the morals and manners of his own city or country. He said,
'A Christian spirit... disposes a person to be public-spirited. A man of right spirit is not of a narrow, private spirit; but is greatly concerned for the good of the public community to which he belongs, and particularly of the town where he dwells. A Christian spirited man will be also concerned for the good of his country."
Piper continues, "That quote from a sermon on 1 Corinthians 13 gives us a glimpse into the cultural scope of Edward's concern for the world. But even that quote doesn't come close to the scope he really believed in. Edwards knew something that many social activists and culture-watchers in America - evangelicals and others - don't seem to know or care about, namely, that cultures and societies and people who have no Christian presence in them at all cannot even begin to experience Christ-exalting social or cultural transformation. In other words, Edwards was deeply committed to world evangelization and cared as much (or more) about the advance of the kingdom among unreached peoples of the world as he did about the morals of Northampton, Massachusetts." [Engage Daily emphasis.]
Piper continues, "In other words, if you had asked Edwards what is the really pressing, crucial issue of cultural transformation in the world, I think Edwards would have said, 'The really pressing issue in culture transformation is culture penetration. If the glorious God-centered gospel of Christ does not penetrate a people and beget worshipping, nurturing, evangelizing churches, there is not the slightest hope of transformation."
Piper concludes, "So the first message of Jonathan Edwards to modern evangelicals about our public lives is: Don't limit your passion for justice and peace to such a limited concern as the church-saturated landscape of American culture. Lift up your eyes to the real crisis of our day: namely, several thousand cultures still unpenetrated by the gospel, who can't even dream of the blessings we want to restore."