Many of you have been following the Kermit Gosnell case. He was an abortion doctor who brutally murdered babies; even the babies who lived through his abortions.
tunity to share the gospel in the prison where some of his former staff are being incarcerated. By the grace of God, the convicting and redemptive light of Christ found its way into the hearts of many — including at least one of the young ladies who worked for Gosnell. My mother was able to pray with her as she repented with tears streaming and found forgiveness from our Savior.
I share this to say that there is another side to an issue like this. We all recognize the need for civil justice, but there is also the eternal souls of these people to consider. As you are watching the news about these hearings, please keep in mind that you have a sister in Christ who has walked out a repentance over the past year, in a way that has been acknowledged by those around her including court officials, prison workers, and many others — and even her own letters and testimony (fruit of a changed life).
I’m not arguing against political justice. That has its place, but I am praying that these people (most of whom know they have sinned), will repent of their sin and receive God’s mercy, as at least one of these ladies has done.
In every prison in America, there are women and men just like these people. They need to hear the only truth that can set them free: The Gospel of Jesus Christ. Perhaps you can pray that the Lord will send missionaries into that dark and fertile field — or maybe you could even be the one to carry God’s light of truth to them?
“Genius” is a new and chilling movie based on the life and tragic murder of John Lennon. The Producer of the Los Angeles-based film company, Ray Comfort, said, “It’s chilling because it reveals what people will do for money. There are ordinary people out there who would kill you. All they need is the right amount of money and the belief that they won’t get caught.”
Comfort said, “Many think that John Lennon was a musical genius. His music has crossed cultures and even generations — the Beatles have sold more than 2,303,500,000 record albums, and in June of 2012 they hit number one on iTunes. They are as big now as they ever were and they’re half dead — with the tragic loss of Lennon and Harrison.”
Ken Mansfield, the former U.S. Manager for Apple Records said, “Genius will open your eyes.” Other reviewers have called it “fast-paced, thought-provoking and compelling.” It is being promoted as “33 minutes that will rock your soul.” Comfort’s last movie “180″ received more than 3.7 million views on YouTube and aired on television around the world. “Genius” has been released for free viewing onwww.GeniusTheMovie.com to coincide with the December 8th anniversary of the death of John Lennon.
Comfort added, “Abraham Lincoln said, ‘Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored.’ That’s what John Lennon did. He pushed the musical envelope of creativity.”
The Genius trailer: youtu.be/ZW2lhWfa28g
In our Postmodern era, many young people have become uncertain about virtually everything. When we do Christian Apologetics, there is often a prior step we need to take before we can convince someone to believe the Bible. Before they can believe the Bible, they must believe that truth exists and that it is knowable.
If you don’t believe that objective truth exists, and that you can know it with at least some level of certainty, you will be skeptical of any and all truth claims, including Biblical ones.
The Bible does not try to prove the existence of God. It simply presupposes it. The existence of God is not dependent upon our belief. God either exists, or He does not. You can neither prove, nor disprove the existence of God.
Whether or not we believe in God depends upon our response to the evidence we have been given. Romans 1 tells us that God has given us ALL the information we need to believe that God exists from the created universe (General Revelation).
So why then do people reject the idea of God? The problem is NOT that they don’t have enough evidence, the problem is that their hearts are hard and they do not want to submit to God’s rule and authority in their lives. This is the main problem with the skeptic. He is not unconvinced primarily because of his mind, but rather his will is in rebellion.
Moving someone from the position of Hard Atheist, to Strong Agnostic is useful because it essentially removes an element of stubbornness, and puts the conversation on a more humble footing, where it belongs. The decision to accept the existence of God is not based on Omniscient knowledge, but rather on reasonable certainty, based on the evidence God has provided.
After the Protestant Reformation, a new ethos pervaded the Western world. Christianity began to infiltrate every aspect of culture, from the Arts to Literature, from Philosophy to Science. But then French enlightenment thinkers like Voltaire, Rousseau and Decartes began to assert that we could know truth and reality apart from revelation; we could be good without God.
When Charles Darwin published “On the Origin of Species” in 1859, rationalists and empiricists began to win over the masses by claiming scientific support to their atheistic dogmas. 1859 was, in my view, the beginning of the Modernist era.
The Modern Industrial Revolution of the early 20th century typified the new cultural modus operandi. The new methods of industry were mechanical, predictable, mass-produced, calculated, and mathematical. The church is usually about twenty years behind the world in terms of allowing cultural trends to infiltrate her ranks. In time, however, Modernist tactics were seen in churches’ organizational structures and even in the evangelism approach of Billy Sunday and other Christian leaders.
Around the 1950s the seeds of Postmodernism began to grow. By the 1960s, America was witnessing a full-scale cultural revolution. In contrast to Modernism, its sociological step-child, Postmodernism is decentralized, relativistic, experiential, pluralistic and in many ways irrational. Again, it took 20 years, but soon enough Postmodernism found a foothold in many churches.
Today we find ourselves in a near civil war within the church. Postmodern Emergents are on one side facing off against died-in-the-wool traditional, institutional Fundamentalists on the other. The questions range from doctrine to style, with cultural presuppositions under-girding many of the arguments on both sides.
Culturally, I believe that September 11, 2001 has provided a sociological turning point into a new era. It has ushered in, in my opinion, the beginning of post-Postmodernism.
When a civilization is embodied by relativism and hedonism, history tells us that it falls apart from within. Despair first entered Philosophy, then the Arts, then General Culture and finally, the Church. (See: The God Who Is There, by Francis Schaeffer.) Dr. Schaeffer told us that the church is the final hold out in a culture against nihilism and despair. There are only two things that can keep a nation from sliding into the abyss of pleasure:
1. The gospel of Jesus Christ as preached by the true confessing church. The gospel exerts its restraining influence by means of he Holy Spirit working in someone’s heart to convict him of sin and empower him to live righteously. (i.e. Self-Government)
2. The arm of a totalitarian state. Totalitarianism can assault us from within or without. Neither one is very desirable.
Postmodernism is seen, in part, in the ordination of homosexuals in the liberal mainline churches, the embracing of higher criticism and skepticism of the Biblical texts, and the utilization of pop culture advertising techniques in reaching the masses.
While the church is waging internal wars about power-point choruses versus hymnbooks, praise bands versus organs, formal attire versus casual, our Postmodern nation is on the verge of losing the ability to maintain its foundational institutions. Wimps can’t govern themselves. God told Jonah that Ninevah was on the verge of being destroyed. “You’ve been concerned about this vine [something that made Jonah comfortable]…but Ninevah has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left…should I not be concerned about that great city?” (Jonah 4:10-11)
We face the threat of Islamo-Fascist attacks on hand and Femi-nazi dictatorship on the other, and yet we are so busy with our personal “vines” that I think we’re missing the big picture. It reminds me of the musicians on the Titanic playing ragtime as the ship sank. Perhaps it’s time to change the tune to “Nearer My God To Thee.”
We can be part of the solution by believing, living and proclaiming the unchanging truth of the gospel. As Schaeffer said in his excellent book, The Great Evangelical Disaster, “There must be confrontation: Loving confrontation, but confrontation nonetheless.”
The issue isn’t whether Modern or Postmodern church is better. They’re both bad. Neither culture from which they sprung was based on Biblical ideologies. The issue is Truth. Truth isn’t a Modern invention. Absolute truth is only found in Jesus Christ, who said, “I AM the Truth.” (John 14:6)
The bottom line is this. Yes, we need to be concerned about secular cultural influence within the church, whether Modern or Postmodern. But we also need to be concerned about the fact that the church finds herself within a broader cultural context that is self-destructing at an alarming rate. If the church can’t get her act together and faithfully proclaim the Truth to a waiting world, we will find ourselves in a depressed cultural ghetto much like the weakened churches of Eastern Europe in the last century.
If you have been hearing about these terms, “Modern” and “Postmodern” but aren’t certain where to begin, The Death of Truth, (Dennis McCallum, General Editor), is a great place to start. The topics are dealt with in a scholarly manner, but are explained in an easy enough manner for the common person to understand. One of the most helpful aspects of the book are the wonderful charts, that give a great visual aid to the comparison of these worldviews.
Health Care, Literature, Education, History, Psychotherapy, Law, Science, and Religion.
If there is a downside to the book, it may be that some of the authors tend to defend Modernism a bit too much in their zeal to show the imbalance of its rebellious progeny: Postmodernism. This shows up the most in the chapters on education and health. In health, the author seems so opposed to any form on alternative medicine that I think he goes a bit far and throws the baby out with the bath water. Not all alternative medical approaches are “new age” or bogus superstition. In education, there is more credence given to the modern approach to education that is warranted. Modernist education wasn’t Biblical either. On a good note though, they do have a great explanation of the views of Multiculturalism and the real relatvisitic motives behind the facade.
With those disclaimers aside, I really think this book is a very useful tool for anyone who wants to understand the culture in which we live. Ideas have origins and destinations. This book does a good job of filling in the gaps between the two.
On a scale of 1-5, I’d give this a 4 overall.
The late Charles Colson established himself as a pillar of wisdom and insight within the Christian community. The struggles of his fall from grace in the public eye during the Watergate scandal, his subsequent conversion to Christianity, and his ministry through Prison Fellowship, were used by God to conform his heart and worldview to God’s Word.
If Mr. Colson were only able to leave us with one book from his heart, I suspect that How Now Shall We Live? may be the one he would choose. This book is truly a foundational book in terms of dealing with a comprehensive look at the Christian faith. With this book Mr. Colson has placed himself in the ranks of the truly great works from apologists like C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer and Dr. David Noebel’s book, Understanding the Times.
Colson shares that any worldview must address the following questions:
One of the key premises of the book is stated in the introduction: “Evangelism and cultural renewal are both divinely ordained duties. God exercises his sovereignty in two ways: through saving grace and common grace.” Much of the book is dedicated to the practical application of how we can, as Christians, be part of redeeming culture, not merely souls. For those who may feel that this is a misguided approach, and that only the preaching of the gospel is important (we should avoid being involved in social activity), you may be disappointed that Mr. Colson doesn’t really prove this point Biblically, he merely presupposes it based on a long line of Christian thought from Augustine to Aquinas to Calvin, Luther, Kuyper, etc.
While Mr. Colson certainly believes that the Gospel is the only thing that can transform culture, he also believes, probably based in large part on his numerous experiences working in prisons, that there is a practical, human work to do. God has redeemed work (it is not a curse) and humanness. Giving a cup of cold water in the name of Jesus has an eternal reward.
It would be rare to find someone who agrees entirely with Mr. Colson on all points (particularly his alliance with some ecumenical movements), but one thing we hopefully can all agree upon is that he was remarkably redeemed by his Creator, and has put his hand to the plow, laboring unceasingly for the cause of Christ and His Kingdom. This book is perhaps the most comprehensive, start to finish, single book on a Christian worldview on the market today. (Understanding The Times by David Noebel is also in that category.) If you could only give a friend one book to define for them what a Christian worldview is, in a nutshell, this would certainly be one to consider.
The author is careful not to shoot over the heads of those not well-versed in Christian terminology. This book is well-suited for seekers as well as those who are mature Christians. He shares a wonderful bibliography and with the able help of Nancy Pearcey (a staggeringly fabulous thinker in her own right) he adds immensely to the library of Christian worldview resources. This is a book you simply must read.
To quote from the final page of the book, “Christianity is a worldview meant to be lived out in the crucible of a fallen world, and it comes most alive in the relationships in which we grapple to apply if day by day.” Reviewer’s note: Amen!
On a scale of 1-5, I’d give this a 4.5 overall.
Copyright 1999, Tyndale, ISBN: 0-8423-1808-9. 574 pages.
PS: As a postscript to this review, I have received some extra information about the background of this book that is important:
Of the book’s 45 chapters, Nancy Pearcey authored 27 or 28 (a few partial chapters). Harold Fickett, a novelist and fiction writer, authored the 10 chapters consisting of extended stories (see the Acknowledgements at the back of the book). Colson wrote the remaining approximately 7 chapters. So it would be most accurate to say the book represents the ideas and work of 3 authors.
For the sake of not causing confusion for those who read it previously, I will leave my original post intact, however, I apologize for not making this review more accurate to the facts of the situation. I hope I have remedied that.