What do You Say When Someone Says You’re on the Wrong Side of History?

If you’re like me then you’ve probably been accosted and told off by more than a few liberals in your day. I, as a general rule, try to be polite and courteous… but I’m human. I make mistakes. I have bad days and sometimes I get caught by a hater or a troll on one of those “bad days” and I say the wrong thing in the wrong way… to those people I want to apologize. I don’t mean to respond out of a spirit of frustration but out of a spirit of edification. I have always wanted to be known as someone who writes in a way that was winsome and compassionate. That doesn’t mean that I will sugarcoat my message or that I’ll back down from a fight… but it does mean that at the end of the day the manner in which we win the argument is as important as winning the argument.

To that end I wanted to share a wonderful video from the Gospel Coalition which speaks to this idea that opponents of gay marriage are “On the Wrong Side of History.” It’s a common argument I’ve heard in the media and in messages from gay marriage proponents – this idea that Christians and conservatives are like the segregationists and racists of the Civil Rights era because we are on the “wrong side of history.” But the argument just doesn’t resonate with me because I understand history. Throughout the whole of human history on our planet there have been many times when people were on the “wrong side” during an event only to be on the “right side” years later… history is not static and we may be judged far more kindly by history than liberals today believe.


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Below are a few conversational tips from Pastor Tim Keller on how to respond to the “wrong side of history” question. You can also see a full transcript of the above conversation with John Piper, Don Carson and Tim Keller at the Gospel Coalition website.

Tim Keller: Here’s my little conversational strategy. If someone says to me, “You don’t want to be on the wrong side of history, do you?” I usually say, “Is there anything right now happening in history—is there any historical trend right now going on that you don’t like?” And almost always, the person says, “Well, yeah.” And I say, “Well then, aren’t you on the wrong side of history? And why should I not stand against some historical trend.” And that usually ends it.

And especially if I’m talking in New York, to most people I say, “Don’t you see rising inequality? Isn’t it possibly true that only after World War II was there not that but in general that capitalism brings about rising inequality?” Most people in New York would say, “Absolutely.” I say, “Aren’t you on the wrong side of history if you vote for a Democrat?” Generally speaking, they say, “I see your point.” 

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