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The Apologetics Resource Center (ARC) is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to reach the minds and hearts of people with the message and truth claims of the gospel of Jesus Christ.


About ARC

Why An 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. (top)

The American 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 Hour.

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 Christian faith.

Respected Christian 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 responsibility."

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 and Gallup Research
Barna & Gallup Research: The following statistics serve to demonstrate the reality of our cultural slide and the degree and significance of the Church’s diminishing influence.

  • 85% identify themselves as “Christian: 44% “notional”, 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 92% increase.
  • 45% of Americans attend church almost weekly (49% in 1991)
  • Median 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 to 20% in 2005, during the past decade
  • Only 16% of church adult attendees are involved in discipleship (2000)
  • 9% identify themselves as atheists
  • 12% identify themselves as “other faiths”

Beliefs

  • 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 2005 Newsweek poll, 80% said there is “more than one way” to heaven).
  • 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% indicated being deeply committed to the Christian faith as a high priority.
  • Busters (ages 22-40) and Mosaics (18-21) are least likely to attend church (41-42%)
  • Busters are most likely “searching for meaning in life” (44% cf 32% of all others)
  • Busters are most (twice as) likely to indicate being “stressed out” (41%
  • 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 was 14th (49%).

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 Bible study.
  • 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 been divorced.
  • 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 presence.
  • 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% nationally).
  • Only 9% of teenagers are “born again” and only 4% are evangelicals.

Barna observes that Christianity is having a minimal effect on non-Christians especially those under 40. They see Christianity as benign or irrelevant.

Barna challenges 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.

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.

Key Foundational Texts:
1 Peter 2:9-12; 3:15; Jude 3-4; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; 2 Timothy 2:23-26; 1 Corinthians 9:16-23; Ephesians 5:11-17; Colossians 4:2-6; Acts 17:16-32; John 18:37-38; Matthew 5:13-16; 22:37-38; 2 Corinthians 5:11; Acts 18:4, 13; Romans 12:1-2; John 17:17; Ephesians 4:17-24; Colossians 3:9-10; Hebrews 5:12-14

(top)

Important Quotes from Christian Leaders Regarding
the Need to Recover Apologetics in the Church

[Speaking 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.

" But 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 few alternatives.
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

 

More Important Quotes from Christian Leaders Regarding
the Need to Recover Apologetics in the Church

"It 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."

No God But God, Os Guinness and John Seel, Zondervan Publishing, 1992.

"Christians 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 not lose."
" 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."

Reasonable Faith, William Lane Craig, Crosswalk Books, 1994.

"American 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 strategies.
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."

The Evangelical Forfeit: Can We Recover?, John Seel, Baker Books, 1993.

"Christianity 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,…"

Postmodern Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture, Gene Edward Veith, Jr., Crossway Books, 1994.

"If 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.'"

The Coming Evangelical Crisis, Michael Horton, Moody, 1996.

"Americans 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."

Made in America: The Shaping of Modern American Evangelism, Michael Horton, Baker Book House, 1991.

"The year 2000 marks the beginning of the new millennium--an extraordinary 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 culture.
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."

How Now Shall We Live?, Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1999.

DAVID WELLS writes,
" 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."

The Compromised Church, John H. Armstrong, Crossway Books, 1998.

"In 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."

Ancient-Future Faith, Robert Webber, theology professor at Wheaton, Baker Books, 1999

"Perhaps 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."

A Passion for Truth: The Intellectual Coherence of Evangelicalism, Alister E. McGrath, IVP, 1996.

"When 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?"

Worldproofing Your Kids, Lael Arrington, Crossway Books, 1997.

WHAT 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."

J. I. Packer Answers Questions for Today, J. I. Packer with Wendy Murray Zoba, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2001.

"As 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 faith."

No Place for Truth, or, Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology?, David F. Wells, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, Co., 1993.

"But 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.'"

Mind Renewal in a Mindless Age: Preparing to Think and Act Biblically, James Montgomery Boice, Baker Books, 1994.

"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."

The Secular Squeeze: Reclaiming Christian Depth in a Shallow World,
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 who aren't 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."

Confident Witness-Changing World: Rediscovering the Gospel in North America, Craig Van Gelder, Eerdman Publishing Company, 1999.

"A sharp apologetic will include an understanding of the surrounding culture, such as its hopes, habits, fears, idols, social structures, and basic ideas. 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 and cooperation?"

"Churches 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."

Chameleon Christianity, Dick Keyes, Baker Book House, 1999.

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