In a nutshell, Dr. Wright tackled head-on how the Church best handles the secular age: not by confronting it head-on, but rather, by being true to the full arc of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, it outflanks it.
He singled out two major characteristics of secularism that open it to this strategy:
First, it has revived the ancient philosophy of Epicureanism by treating God, or the gods, as very distant and indifferent to man or what happens on Earth, thus conveniently leaving man to run things on his own. The result (in secularism, as in Epicureanism before it) is to shunt God upstairs: and thereby to divide heaven from earth, religion from man — and Jesus from His Church.
(The latter happens when the Church all too often allows it, for example, by thinking and preaching that treats heaven as a place to which we go when we die, to live the afterlife apart from this Earth. To the contrary: Revelation teaches that heaven — the new Jerusalem — will come down to Earth, and the faithful will partake in Jesus’ rule here on Earth. Thus, properly read and understood, the arc of Scripture begins and ends with heaven here on Earth, with God at one with His creation, and Jesus at one with His Church.)
Second, the secularist philosophy embraces the notion of progress, by which this latest age is seen as the best of all that came before it. Moreover, it is all man’s doing, with no need for any God or gods along the way. But progress on man’s yardstick is illusory: what it really measures is our increasing alienation from God.
The Church’s strategy in response to secularism has three aspects.