Apologetics Resource Center?
The Apologetics Resource Center will be about the process
of understanding the times and the alien philosophies
opposed to God’s truth, as well as understanding
and effecting the antidote of both knowing God’s
truth and being the truth in our home, neighborhood,
and culture. Now is the time for the Church to be served
a wake up call, to be motivated, equipped and deployed
into our world as radical change agents, redemptively
as salt and light.
Radical and malignant
changes have been occurring in western culture. There
has been a comprehensive shifting of values, world-views
and ways of life. While most Christians have some perception
of this drift towards cultural decay, several Christian
leaders and thinkers have been sounding the alarm in
clear and stark terms.
For example, apologist/philosopher
Francis Schaeffer had been sounding the alarm about
this present plight for over 20 years. In his book,
The Great Evangelical Disaster, published in 1984, he
warned, "But something has happened in the last
60 years. The freedom that once was founded on a Biblical
consensus and a Christian ethos has now become autonomous
freedom, cut loose from all constraints. Here we have
the world spirit of our age – autonomous man setting
himself up as God, in defiance of the moral and spiritual
truth, which God has given…. The world spirit
of our age rolls on and on claiming to be autonomous
and crushing all that we cherish in its path."
Dr. Al Mohler,
president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
and recent apologetics speaker at Briarwood agrees,
"The most basic contours of American culture have
been radically altered. The so-called Judeo-Christian
consensus of the last millennium has given way to a
postmodern, post-Christian, post-western cultural crisis,
which threatens the very heart of our culture."
Os Guinness and
John Seel observed that, "The American republic
is nearing the climax of a generation-long crisis of
cultural authority that calls into question it’s
very character and strength. The problem is not simply
‘out there’ – in either such obvious
problems as drugs and crime or such common explanations
as the influence of family breakdown, moral relativism,
secularism, neo-paganism, and the New Age Movement.
"Nor is the
crisis of cultural authority simply a matter of the
‘culture wars’…. Instead, American
beliefs, ideals and tradition - civic as well as religious
– are losing their compelling power to shape and
restrain lives in both the private and public spheres."
One of the most
glaring recent examples is the 70% approval rating polls
of Bill Clinton, and the mantra both reported and shaped
by the media signaling that personal peace and prosperity
are a higher priority than traditional moral standards.
Hour – The Evangelical Moment
The present moment is one of those great times of reckoning
in the history of redemption, on which the future of
our culture and Church will hinge. It can no longer
be evaded or ignored. The present Kairos moment is a
critical point in the American century – The American
The effective remedy
is ultimately not the province of Rush Limbaugh or the
Republican Party. Biblically it is the responsibility,
the time and the mandate for the Church, the People
of God, to examine the integrity and effectiveness of
its own character and witness. We need to also evaluate
what will be our response to the decreasing lack of
influence of the Christian faith on our culture –
as well as the growing influence of our culture on the
pollster and commentator George Barna observes that
much of the responsibility for the decline lies at the
feet of the church. He writes, "The vast majority
of Christians do not behave differently because we do
not think differently, and we do not think differently
because we have never trained or equipped ourselves,
or held one another accountable to do so."
Guinness and Seel
challenge us, "At the momentous chapter in the
ongoing story of the Christian Church and the modern
world, one of America’s greatest spiritual movements
is in danger of losing its way or missing its moment.
To be a nominal Christian is a contradiction in terms.
Therefore to be an evangelical Christian at the close
of the second millennium is a high privilege and a solemn
Now is the time
for us to learn what it means to deeply understand and
radically participate in the life of the Church and
the world with all the perspectives, powers, and passion
of the truth and life of the Scriptures, of Christ,
and the gospel. (top)
Barna & Gallup Research: The following statistics
serve to demonstrate the reality of our cultural slide
and the degree and significance of the Church’s
- 85% identify
themselves as “Christian:
33% “born again” (was 40% in 2001),
7% “evangelical” (was
9% in 2001)
- In 1991,
39 million Americans were unchurched. In 2004
there were 75 million (35%) unchurched—a
- 45% of Americans
attend church almost weekly (49% in 1991)
church attendance was 90 people in 1999, down
12% from 102 attendees in 1992
- Regular Sunday
School attendance dropped from a high, 27% in 1996
20% in 2005, during the
- Only 16% of
church adult attendees are involved in discipleship
- 9% identify
themselves as atheists
- 12% identify
themselves as “other
- 20% believe in a new age form of God
- 45% of all
adults strongly believe in the infallibility of the
Bible cf. 42% in 2002 and 35% in 1991.
- Only 22% of
adults and 6% of teenagers are certain absolute moral
truth exists. 64% of adults and
83% of teenagers believe in relativism.
- 68% are universalists,
believing all faithful adherents to any religion
make it to heaven (in a
Newsweek poll, 80% said there is “more than one way” to
- 31% polled believe astrology is accurate
and 43% of people ages 25-29 (2003).
- 27% polled believe in reincarnation, 40%
between ages 25-29 (2003)
- The top priority for adults
is good physical health and fitness (91%). Only 53%
deeply committed to the Christian faith as a high priority.
- Busters (ages 22-40)
and Mosaics (18-21) are least likely to attend church
- Busters are
most likely “searching
for meaning in life” (44% cf 32% of all others)
are most (twice as) likely to indicate being “stressed
- Among teenagers, “having
a college degree” and “living
a comfortable lifestyle” ranked 1 & 2
on their life priority list (88% and 83%).
Having a close
relationship with God ranked 8th (66%) and
being deeply committed to the Christian faith
Born Again Christians
- 33% of Americans make this claim.
- Yet 37% of them
reject the infallibility of the Bible.
- 41% believe
in pluralism (cf. 68% of population).
- 53% reject
the belief in holding absolute truth (cf. 69% nationally).
- 58% said they definitely would not attend a weekly
- 28% believe that Jesus sinned.
- 35% deny Jesus raised
from the dead (cf. 39% general population).
- 7% are
solid evangelicals, down from 12% in 1992.
- 27% have
- 6% define success in relation to spirituality.
- Only 66% say
they are "absolutely
committed to the Christian faith.
- 32% said that
they have never experienced God’s
- 50% believe Satan is only a symbol
of evil rather than a real being (cf. 62% national).
- 55% believe
the Holy Spirit is only a symbol of God’s
presence and not a living being (cf. 61%
- Only 9% of
teenagers are “born again” and
only 4% are evangelicals.
that Christianity is having a minimal effect on non-Christians
especially those under 40. They see Christianity as
benign or irrelevant.
that to talk about Christianity is one thing but seeing
the transformational effect in believer’s lives
is a much more compelling apologetic. The problem is
that too many Christians are not allowing the life changing
truth of the gospel and Bible to reach the inner core
of the their minds and hearts.
Barna notes that
the research shows that too many Christians believe
that the meaning and purpose of our earthly existence
is to enjoy life and reap as much fulfillment as possible.
When asked to describe the ends they live for, the top
items most Christians reported are (1) good health,
(2) a successful career, (3) a comfortable lifestyle,
(4) a functional family, and in general, to be happy.
Resource Center will be about the process of understanding
the times and the alien philosophies opposed to God’s
truth, as well as understanding and effecting the antidote
of both knowing God’s truth and being the truth
in our home, neighborhood, and culture. Now is the time
for the Church to be served a wake up call, to be motivated,
equipped and deployed into our world as radical change
agents, redemptively as salt and light.
Peter 2:9-12; 3:15; Jude
Corinthians 10:3-5; 2
Timothy 2:23-26; 1
Corinthians 9:16-23; Ephesians
5:13-16; 22:37-38; 2
Corinthians 5:11; Acts
18:4, 13; Romans
Important Quotes from Christian
the Need to Recover Apologetics in the Church
of apologetics] "This
could very well prove to be the most important and
strategic challenge that faces the Christian community
at this moment in history. I believe that if we fail
to understand the importance, challenge, and opportunity
confronting the church, there will be deep regrets…Christians,
especially Christian leaders, have two choices. We
can ignore the trends by burying our heads in the sand
and merely going with the flow. But if we study the
trends, and together determine what we can learn from
them, we will be equipped to ask whether the trends
are consistent with biblical Christianity, or whether
we need to strategize in order to alter the trends."
Charles Dunahoo, Director of Christian Education and
Publications, Presbyterian Church of America
"Evangelism and apologetics are twin pillars
upon which the outreach of the church is built. The
two may be and must be distinguished, but they ought
never be separated. They form a two-pronged attack
against the fortress of hell and a double-front of
defense against the onslaught of paganism….In
the early church the work of the apologist was two-fold.
Firstly, the apologists had the task of clarifying
the content of the Gospel against distortions of it
made by enemies….Secondly, the task of the apologist
was to defend the truth claims of the Gospel….In
history the task of apologetics has progressed to include
both the defense of the Gospel against the attacks
of alien philosophies and religions, and the positive
construction of full-fledged Christian philosophy.
In this regard apologetics serves the church not only
in pre-evangelism, but in post-evangelism as well.
It helps the believer counter the objections that are
faced in a myriad of settings. It arms and equips the
saints for the task of ministry. God has ordained both
evangelism and apologetics, and the obedient church
is faithful to both tasks."
"Twin Pillars," R.
C. Sproul, Tabletalk, July 1998.
something has happened in the last sixty years.
The freedom that once was founded on a biblical consensus
and a Christian ethos has now become autonomous freedom,
cut loose from all constraints. Here we have the world
spirit of our age--autonomous Man setting himself up
as God, in defiance of the knowledge and the moral
and spiritual truth which God has given. Here is the
reason why we have a moral breakdown in every area
of life. The titanic freedoms which we once enjoyed
have been cut loose from their Christian restraints
and are becoming a force of destruction leading to
chaos. And when this happens, there really are very
All morality becomes relative, law becomes arbitrary,
and society moves toward disintegration. In personal
and social life, compassion is swallowed up by self-interest….This
world spirit of our age rolls on and on claiming to
be autonomous and crushing all that we cherish in its
path….Why has the Christian ethos in our culture
been squandered? Why do we have so little impact upon
the world today? Is it not because we have failed to
take the primary battle seriously?…Christian
influence on the whole of culture has been lost. In
Europe, including England, it took many years--in the
United States only a few decades. In the United States,
in the short span from the twenties to the sixties,
we have seen a complete shift.
Ours is a post-Christian world in which Christianity,
not only in the number of Christians but in cultural
emphasis and cultural result, is no longer the consensus
or ethos of our society….The last few generations
have trampled upon the truth of the Bible and all that
those truths have brought forth….We have seen
then that as Bible-believing Christians we are locked
in a battle in the area of ideas. But in the area of
actions there is a direct parallel. Ideas are never
neutral and abstract. Ideas have consequences in the
way we live and act, both in our personal lives and
in the culture as a whole."
The Great Evangelical Disaster, Francis Schaeffer,
Crossway Books, 1984
Important Quotes from Christian Leaders Regarding
the Need to Recover Apologetics in the Church
is time once again to hammer theses on the door
of the church…Christendom is becoming a betrayal
of the Christian faith of the New Testament. To
pretend otherwise is to be blind or to appear to
be making a fool of God.
The main burden of this book is a direct challenge to the modern idols within
evangelicalism. But this idolatry is only one part of the wider cultural captivity
of evangelical churches in America. We therefore begin by looking beyond idolatry
to the broader need for revival and reformation within evangelicalism.
More important still, it is time for our church to examine the integrity and
effectiveness of its character and witness and its own response to the above
questions. For if the nation's crisis is largely because of the decreasing
influence of faith on American culture, the church's crisis is largely because
of the increasing influence of American culture on the Christian faith.
At this momentous chapter in the ongoing story of the Christian church and
the modern world, on of America's greatest spiritual movements is in danger
of losing its way or missing its moment. To be a nominal evangelical is a contradiction
in terms; therefore to be Christian and evangelical in America at the close
of the second millennium is a high privilege and a solemn responsibility.
We therefore call for a humble dependence on God that is matched by vigorous
rededication to doing what is ours to do. In particular, we call for a rediscovery
of the gospel in the church: a renewal of the integrity and effectiveness of
Christians in society, beginning with a serious examination of both the theoretical
and practical assumptions that shape the life of the church and society.
A better way for constructive engagement is to follow the prophetic dynamic
of the gospel itself--law before gospel, judgment before grace, repentance
before regeneration, and the disproof of Baal before the demonstration of Yahweh.
We must require prophetic confrontation before personal and social transformation.
Contemporary evangelicals are no longer people of truth. Only rarely are they
serious about theology.
With magnificent expectations, evangelicals reflect this truth-decay and reinforce
it for their own variety of reasons for discounting theology."
God But God, Os Guinness and John Seel, Zondervan
need to grasp a wider picture of Western thought
and culture…As Francis Schaeffer reminded us,
we are living in a post-Christian era, when the thought-forms
of society are fundamentally anti-Christian. His
warnings are now more applicable than ever. If the
situation is not to degenerate further, it is imperative
that we turn the whole intellectual climate of our
culture back to a Christian worldview. If we do not,
then what lies ahead for us in the United States
is already evident in Europe: utter secularism….The
war is not yet lost, and it is one which we dare
" Moreover, it's not just Christian scholars and pastors who need to be
intellectually engaged with the issues. Christian laymen, too, need to become
intellectually engaged. Our churches are filled with Christians who are idling
in intellectual neutral. As Christians, their minds are going to waste. One result
of this is an immature, superficial faith….The results of being in intellectual
neutral extend far beyond oneself. If Christian laymen don't become intellectually
engaged, then we are in serious danger of losing our children. In high school
and college Christian teenagers are intellectually assaulted on every hand by
a barrage of anti-Christian philosophies and attitudes."
Faith, William Lane Craig, Crosswalk Books, 1994.
Evangelicals face growing spiritual and cultural
trouble. We have forfeited our influence within
American society and are on the verge of forfeiting
the vestiges of our biblical identity. The signs of this crisis, once veiled
by superficial success, are now widely apparent.
Ineffective evangelism, a search for identity, playing the victim, a call to
arms, withdrawal from engagement, a crisis of leadership--today America's first
and once dominant faith community faces serious challenges…Theologian
David Wells laments, 'Evangelicalism…now appears in full retreat before
the clamor of its many special interest. Its essence, like the morning mist,
is disappearing in the bright light of modern pluralism.'
We evangelicals are acutely aware of our loss of influence in national life.
We have demonstrated a variety of cultural responses in our attempt to regain
cultural standing. Perplexed by pluralism and outraged at the growing secularity
of society, we sometimes vacillate between a majoritarian activism or a victimized
passivity, between an anti-modern protest against secular ideas or an uncritical
acceptance of the tools of modernity.
The number of evangelical churches and evangelicals continue to increase, but
our influence within American society is declining…in spite of a nearly
hundred-fifty-year cultural dominance, continuing demographic strength, aggressive
political activism, and generous financial contributions, our impact on the
culture is weakening. What explains the discrepancy? I believe it can be explained
by evangelicals accommodations to modernity coupled with ineffective cultural
The first aspect of this collapse was the weakening of faith from within--the
acceptance of consumerism and its parallel language of self-fulfillment.
Fueled by the advent of mass advertising, the society shifted from being oriented
from production toward consumption, from self-denial to self-fulfillment.
Yet ironically just as evangelicals created separate institutions for evangelistic
outreach, they became increasingly out of touch with American society. It became
easier and easier for evangelicals to live from the womb to the tomb in an
insulated evangelical ghetto--attending Christian schools and evangelical colleges,
reading evangelical magazine, listening to religious radio, watching Christian
television programming, and so on."
Evangelical Forfeit: Can We Recover?, John Seel,
Baker Books, 1993.
has been excommunicated from the culture at large--systematically
excluded form the schools, the intellectual establishment, and the media.
Christians should use their bases to make forays into the culture at large
and exert their influence at every level. They should certainly resist the
temptation to remain in the security of the 'Christian ghetto.'
The mind-set cultivated by the evangelical subculture often startlingly resembles
that of secular postmodernism.
The postmodernist rejection of objectivity pervades the evangelical church.
'We have a generation that is less interested in cerebral arguments, linear
thinking, theological systems,' observes Leith Anderson, 'and more interested
in encountering the supernatural.'
This downplaying of doctrine and objective thinking helps explain why 53 percent
of evangelical Christians can believe that there are no absolutes (as compared
to 66 percent of Americans as a whole). Certainly, the evangelical tradition
has always cultivated the emotions and stressed an experiential religion, as
opposed to mere 'head knowledge.' This openness to personal feelings and experience
is a point of contact with postmodernism,…"
Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought
and Culture, Gene Edward Veith, Jr., Crossway Books,
theology is not guiding the church, then the Bible
is not guiding the church, for theology is the systematic
study of the Bible and its relation to our beliefs.
But, as we've seen, evangelicals are not only avoiding
theology in practice while holding to a high doctrine
of Scripture in theory; the schizophrenia inherent
in this balancing act is leading what appears now
to be the majority of evangelicals to abandon the
theoretical affirmation as well.
Like Protestantism earlier this century, evangelicals are in precisely this
state at present. To the question 'Do you believe in absolute truth?' mainline
Protestants are more likely than all other adults in America to answer negatively.
Many people today--including Christians--simply do not want to think. They
want to be entertained, cajoled, soothed, and stimulated. In our day, George
Gallup reports, 'Americans revere the Bible, but they don't read it. And because
they don't read it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates.'"
Coming Evangelical Crisis, Michael Horton, Moody,
are to be the most faulted when they find religious
justifications for their illusions and their worldly
ways, when they are content with false
prophets who tell them that they are spiritual when they are not.
The Bible commands, 'Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind' (Romans 12:12). While much
fuel has been spent on trying to get people to act like Christians, the Bible
insists that we must first think like Christians. The transforming of our minds
takes place not through magic, superstitious techniques, or superficial devotions,
but through serious and sometimes difficult study. It requires that we know
something about the Bible and the people to whom it is addressed, and that
we know something about ourselves and the culture in which we live. It is dangerous
to pretend one is not worldly when one refuses to critically examine the ways
in which one has been influenced more by the spirit of the age than by the
Spirit of Christ."
in America: The Shaping of Modern American Evangelism,
Michael Horton, Baker Book House, 1991.
year 2000 marks the beginning of the new millennium--an
moment for the Christian church.
We live in a culture that is at best morally indifferent. A culture in which
Judeo-Christian values are mocked and where immorality in high places is not
only ignored but even rewarded in the voting booth. A culture in which violence,
banality, meanness, and disintegrating personal behavior are destroying civility
and endangering the very life of our communities. A culture in which the most
profound moral dilemmas are addressed by the cold logic of utilitarianism.
What's more, when Christians do make good-faith efforts to halt this slide
into barbarism, we are maligned as intolerant or bigoted.
As a result, Americans are groping for something that will restore the shattered
bonds of family and community, something that will make sense of life. If the
church turns inward now, if we focus only on our own needs, we will miss the
opportunity to provide answers at a time when people are sensing a deep longing
for meaning and order.
But if Christians are going to carry this life-giving message to the world,
we must first understand it and live it ourselves. We must understand that
God's revelation is the source of all truth, a comprehensive framework for
all of reality.
The church's singular failure in recent decades has been the failure to see
Christianity as a life system, or worldview, that governs every area of existence.
This failure has been crippling in many ways. For one thing, we cannot answer
the questions our children bring home from school, so we are incapable of preparing
them to answer the challenges they face. For ourselves, we cannot explain to
our friends and neighbors why we believe, and we often cannot defend our faith.
And we do not know how to organize our lives correctly, allowing our choices
to be shaped by the world around us. What's more, by failing to see Christian
truth in every aspect of life, we miss great depths of beauty and meaning:
the thrill of seeing God's splendor in the intricacies of nature or hearing
his voice in the performance of a great symphony or detecting his character
in the harmony of a well-ordered community.
Most of all, our failure to see Christianity as a comprehensive framework of
truth has crippled our efforts to have a redemptive effect on the surrounding
Evangelism and culture renewal are both divinely ordained duties. God exercises
his sovereignty in two ways: through saving grace and common grace.
If our culture is to be transformed, it will happen from the bottom up--from
ordinary believers practicing apologetics over the backyard fence or around
the barbecue grill. To be sure, it's important for Christian scholars to conduct
research and hold academic symposia, but the real leverage for cultural change
comes from transforming the habits and dispositions of ordinary people.
Understanding Christianity as a worldview is important not only for fulfilling
the great commission but also for fulfilling the cultural commission--the call
to create a culture under the lordship of Christ.
Sadly, many Christians have been misled into believing there is a dichotomy
between faith and reason, and as a result they have actually shunned intellectual
pursuits. In The Christian Mind, Blamires stated the problem succinctly in
his opening sentence: 'There is no longer a Christian Mind.' What he meant
was that evangelicals have not developed a distinctively Christian perspective
on all of life. Recently, Wheaton College historian Mark Noll made a similar
point in The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind.
… God in his grace provided a way to be reconciled to himself; and restoration--we
are called to bring these principles into every area of life and create a new
culture. Equipped with this understanding, we can show not only that the Christian
worldview gives the best answers-answers that accord with commons sense and the
most advanced science--but also that Christians can take up spiritual arms in
the great cosmic struggle between conflicting worldviews.
Dare we believe that Christianity can yet prevail? We must believe it. As we
stated at the outset, this is an historic moment of opportunity, and when the
church is faithful to its calling, it always leads to a reformation of culture."
Now Shall We Live?, Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey,
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1999.
" If there is an evangelical crisis, one apparently has to look for it;
and if one finds it, there are those who say that one is imagining things. The
appearance certainly is that the evangelical world is humming like a finely tuned
machine. It seems not to be at a crucial turning point, and its future seems
not to be clouded with uncertainly at all….The truth is that in garden-variety
evangelicalism there is no sense of crisis at all….What the church has
to do, therefore, is to look for correlations between worldliness as I have described
it and the cultural consequences of modernization that I am sketching.
At the point where they coincide, the church has to become both anti-modern
and carefully self-conscious about its virtue and its cognitive processes.
What might some of these points be?…The church needs to begin by recognizing
how modernity works to rearrange the religious landscape….There are many
other forms of worldliness that are comfortably at home in the evangelical
church today. Where it substitutes intuition and feelings for biblical truth,
it is being worldly. Where its appetite for the Word ahs been lost in favor
of light discourses and entertainment, it is being worldly. Where it has restructured
what it is and what it offers around the rhythms of consumption, it is being
worldly, for customers are actually sinners whose place in the church is not
to be explained by a quest for self-satisfaction but by a need for repentance.
Where it cares more about success than about faithfulness, more about size
than spiritual health, it is being worldly."
Compromised Church, John H. Armstrong, Crossway Books,
the postmodern world the place of the church in the
world has become a matter of utmost importance due
to the collapse of Christian values that have dominated
Western society….Charles Colson has called
our attention not only to the collapse of Christian
values, but to the far-reaching implications of this
cultural shift. In Against the Night he rightly states,
'The barbarians of the new dark age are pleasant
and articulate men and women. They carry briefcases,
not spears. But their assault on culture is every
bit as devastating as the barbarian invasion of Rome.
We have bred them in our families and trained them
in our schools. Their ideas are persuasive and subtle,
and very often they undermine the pillars upon which
our civilization was founded.' In a response to the
dissolution of objective truth Colson and others
think we have entered a new 'dark ages.'…
We will not win the war of returning America to pre-postmodern
values. Nor should we. Our goal is to focus on the
church as a community of light, an alternative
to a relativistic society….The social and political work of evangelicals
is countercultural. However, the calling of the church is not to 'clean up
America for God,' but to be the church, a radical countercultural communal
presence in society.
The ultimate question is not 'How is America?' but 'How is the church?'….The
essential teaching of the early church regarding how Christians live in the
world is captured in this threefold tension: (1) the church is separate from
the world; (2) the church is nevertheless identified with the world; and (3)
the church seeks to transform the world. These three motifs are especially
helpful to our understanding of the place of the church in the postmodern world….Those
who believe in a Christian responsibility to the world are sensitive to their
calling to be 'salt' and 'light.'
They want to witness not only privately but also publicly through their lives
and the values they express in every situation. Like Christ, the church will
identify with the world, speak prophetically to the world, and minister to
the world in a priestly fashion. It will do so by recognizing that Jesus is
Lord over all systems, ideologies, and institutions."
Faith, Robert Webber, theology professor at Wheaton,
Baker Books, 1999
the greatest challenge to evangelicalism in the next
generation is to develop an increasing intellectual
commitment without losing its roots
in the life and faith of ordinary Christian believers. The strongly negative
associations of the term 'academic' are a constant warning of the dangers of
formulating a sophisticated theology or worldview without engaging firmly with
the agenda and concerns of the church. It is the easiest thing in the world to
aspire to intellectual erudition; developing this while remaining firmly in touch
with the realities of the common Christian life is a somewhat more daunting task….Yet
it remains a task which must be undertaken….The 'scandal of the evangelical
mind' (Mark Noll) lies in the fact that, in the recent past, evangelicals have
failed to allow their faith to shape their understanding of the world."
Passion for Truth: The Intellectual Coherence of
Evangelicalism, Alister E. McGrath, IVP, 1996.
you sit at the beauty salon or the PTA meeting and
hear someone carry on about truth begin 'whatever
works for me,' do you sit there uneasily, thinking,
I know that she's wrong, and I don’t' believe that, but you are unable
to articulate why she's wrong? When Johnny is asked to prepare for a debate on
animal 'rights,' do you know what principles are involved and where to find biblical
support for your values? Can you help Johnny understand why we draw a line between
animal life and human life and how he can communicate that to his class and teacher?…help
you understand today's turbulent times--times when the meaning seems to be leaking
out of people's lives. The first part deals with the most abstract but most important
larger issue: the meaning of truth in a culture that is no longer Christian.
What is truth? If white is 'true for me' and black is 'true for you,' and everyone
else 'feels' rather gray, how do we teach our children to cling to what is really
true, especially in world of endless options and opinions?"
Your Kids, Lael Arrington, Crossway Books, 1997.
CHALLENGES DO CHRISTIANS FACE IN THE THIRD MILLENNIUM?
" We're going to have to fight much more against the idea that all religions
are on a par, so that they are all ways to God….Also, their insistence
that Jesus was no more than one of the world's many great teachers about religion
is growing stronger….It will take us a couple of decades to get out of
the swamp of what's being called postmodernism--a recently developed post-Christian
philosophy in which relativism is all, and you have no notion of absolute truth.
In the churches, we will have to be constantly speaking against that because
God does speak truth, and the Christian faith is thus what Francis Schaeffer
called 'the truth,' that is, permanent, transcultural, transhistorical truth--truth
that abides….We also need to recover a true understanding of human life,
a sense of the greatness of the soul. We need to recover the awareness that
God is more important than we are that our future life is more important than
this one; that happiness is the promise for heaven and holiness is the priority
here in this world; and that nothing in this world is perfect or complete.
That would give Christian people a view of the significance of our lives on
a day-to-day basis, which at present, so many of us lack. Materialism and the
this-worldliness which it breeds have gotten into the bones of Western believers,
and it will take a lot of work in the new millennium to heal this infection."
I. Packer Answers Questions for Today, J. I. Packer
with Wendy Murray Zoba, Tyndale House Publishers,
this fragmentation has progressed, both in culture
and in Christian faith, and the center has given
way, one might think that people would believe
less and less. But the reverse has happened. A culture for whom God is no longer
present believes everything. Who would have imagined that as we became more and
more technologically oriented, for example, millions of people would also become
more and more devoted to astrology, directing their lives by what the planets
were doing? Who would have expected that some of the most secularized cities,
such as Los Angeles and Amsterdam, would become hosts to a growing array of bizarre
cults, many of which reek of primitive superstition? Who would have through that
after two awful world wars and many subsequent conflicts, Western thought would
still be indulging in the myth of inevitable progress with a devotion that makes
most believers look like pikers? When we believer in nothing, we open the doors
to believing anything. And the same is true within the precincts of Christian
Place for Truth, or, Whatever Happened to Evangelical
Theology?, David F. Wells, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing,
there is no distinctly Christian frame of reference,
no uniquely Christian world view to guide our thinking
in distinction from the thoughts of the secular
world around us.
Unfortunately, the situation has not improved over the past thirty years. In
fact, it has grown worse. Today, not only is there little or no genuine Christian
thinking, there is very little thinking of any kind, and the western world
(and perhaps even the world as a whole) is well on its way to becoming what
I and many others have frequently called a 'mindless society.'
What a challenge to today's Christians! It is a challenge because we are called
to think, even though the world around us does not think or at best thinks
in non-Christian categories.
Here is Schaeffer's point: Those who have received this revelation must also
act on it, because that is the very nature of the revelation. It demands application.
Writes Schaeffer, 'As Christians we are not only to know the right world view,
the world view that tells us the truth of what is, but consciously to act upon
that world view so as to influence society in all its parts and facets across
the whole spectrum of life, as much as we can to the extent of our individual
and collective ability.'"
Renewal in a Mindless Age: Preparing to Think and
Act Biblically, James Montgomery Boice, Baker Books,
"You don't have to be a genius to see that standard evangelical evangelism
has little to do with the way Jesus talked to the rich young ruler. You don't
have to be a genius to see that Jesus is hard to confuse with Arnold Schwarzenegger
or Julia Roberts. You don't have to be a genius to see that Jesus never dealt
with people's problems by healing their childhood memories. You don't have to
be a genius to see that Jesus never spent five minutes trying to change political
structures the way Christian political activists do."
Secular Squeeze: Reclaiming Christian Depth in a
John F. Alexander, IVP, 1993.
"In short, we need Christians who find
a thousand joyful ways to take the screwed-up values
of this world and turn them upside down--Christians
afraid to walk down a path the world calls madness, but which is really the road
to life. In this, each of us has a unique calling.
Christians are to resist the influence of the surrounding society and avoid
conforming to it (Romans 12:2). They are given specific instructions covering
major areas of life, including relationships, courtship, marriage, family life,
work, and finances. Often they are specifically warned not to follow the specific
practices of the surrounding culture (see 1 Thessalonians 4:4-8).
One of the most serious challenges confronting the church today is the loss
of a distinctly Christian way of life. Christianity is no longer the primary
organizing principle that shapes the lives of most Christians. The dominant,
decisive forces shaping the personal lives of most Christians are secular.
Furthermore, the dominant trends within secular society have become increasingly
antithetical to Christianity."
Witness-Changing World: Rediscovering the Gospel
in North America, Craig Van Gelder, Eerdman Publishing
sharp apologetic will include an understanding
of the surrounding culture, such as its hopes,
habits, fears, idols, social structures, and basic
It will also include a grasp of the way these ideas and practices interact with
Biblical truth. At what points do Biblical faith and today's ideas and ways collide?
And where is there some commonality, and therefore possible points of conversation
have tended to be too uncritical of secular high
culture such as ideas and values propagated in higher
education and the arts. They have become saltless
chameleons who have adapted their view of truth,
God, and humanity to the accepted wisdom of the time….Some
feel no confidence about responding to non-Christian
gripes, difficulties, questions, and arguments…Thus
contact with non-Christians becomes either diffident
and timid, or belligerent and bombastic."
Christianity, Dick Keyes, Baker Book House, 1999.