Uncommon Decency: Christian Civility in an Uncivil World, By Richard J. Mouw
Uncommon Decency
  • Length: 187 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.25 in
  • Published: August 17, 2010
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 3309
  • ISBN: 9780830833092

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Can Christians act like Christians even when they disagree? In these wild and diverse times, right and left battle over the airwaves, prolifers square off against prochoicers, gay liberationists confront champions of the traditional family, artists and legislators tangle, even Christians fight other Christians whose doctrines aren't "just so."

Richard Mouw has been actively forging a model of Christian civil conversation with those we might disagree with—atheists, Muslims, gay activists and more. He is concerned that, too often, Christians have contributed more to the problem than to the solution. But he recognizes—from his dialogues with those from many perspectives—that it's not easy to hold to Christian convictions and treat sometimes vindictive opponents with civility and decency.

Few if any people in the evangelical world have conversed as widely and sensitively as Mouw. So few can write more wisely or helpfully than Mouw does here about what Christians can appreciate about pluralism, the theological basis for civility, and how we can communicate with people who disagree with us on the issues that matter most.

"Uncommon Decency is an arousing call to Christians everywhere that our deepest convictions have to be tempered with civility, especially in this time of increasing partisan rancor and cultural division. To those who want to truly transform the world, Mouw reminds us that we will be most effective when we persuade others with patience, tolerance and compassion."

D. Michael Lindsay, author of Faith in the Halls of Power

"Although populism is by no means the only source of today's toxic political discourse, it has often done more to fan flames of resentment than to model civil disagreement. Uncommon Decency should be required reading not only for politicians, talk show hosts, and public intellectuals but also for everyday Christians seeking to represent the Lord faithfully in public."

Bruce Riley Ashford, Christianity Today, September 2018

"Dr. Mouw models wisdom, humility, compassion and civility--and he does so without compromising the convictions of his beliefs. . . if every Christian household took the words of Uncommon Decency to heart, our lights would shine so much more brightly in a nation that urgently needs an image of Christ-like citizenship from our body of believers."

Dwight Baker, Christian Retailing, December 2011

"A powerful read with a stronger message, very highly recommended."

James A. Cox, The Midwest Book Review, November 2010

"This book is right on target and just in time--when Christians in the same churches and denominations have trouble talking to one another. Spiritual leaders in these churches and denominations need to embody and practice it."

Southwestern Journal of Theology

"A convincing case. . . . We can think of so many people who need to read this book, even as we suspect most of them think it would do us a heap of good. They're probably right."

First Things

"Mouw convincingly argues that the need for civility is pressing. The virtue is nearly extinct. Civility is a Christian virtue whereby we enter public discussions with a strong conviction of Christian truth, a willingness to learn from those with whom we disagree, and a desire to honor the humanity of even our fiercest foe. Civility is not a passive politeness that defers to everyone and stands for nothing. Neither is it relativistic. It is a mannerly demeanor in which an inner intensity never overpowers self-restraint or rational discourse. . . . The book articulates an urgent message Christians should take to heart."

Christianity Today


1. Convicted Civility: Can We Be Faithful Polite Too?
2. What Christian Civility Is Not
3. Defending Christian Civility
4. Speaking in God?s Presence: The Importance of Civil Speech
5. Open Hearts: The Importance of Civil Attitudes
6. The Spiritual Underpinnings
7. What?s Good About Pluralism?
8. How to Be Civil About Sex
9. The Challenge of Other Religions
10. Christian Leadership in a Pluralistic World
11. When There Is No ?On the Other Hand?: The Limits of Civility
12. Is Hell Uncivil?
13. Abraham Kuyper, Meet Mother Teresa: The Problem of Triumphalism
14. Serving a Slow God: Civility and the End of Time
Afterword: A Civil Hug


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Richard J. Mouw

Richard J. Mouw (PhD, University of Chicago) is a senior research fellow at the Henry Institute for the Study of Religion and Politics at Calvin University. He previously served as the president of Fuller Theological Seminary (1993–2013) and directed their Institute of Faith and Public Life (2013–2020). In 2007, Princeton Theological Seminary awarded him the Abraham Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Life. He is the author of over twenty books, including Uncommon Decency, Adventures in Evangelical Civility, Restless Faith, and All That God Cares About.