Photo credit: Jared Stump (CC-By-SA 2.0)
Photo credit: Jared Stump (CC-By-SA 2.0)

I’m co-teaching a class at my church and we are going through How Now Shall We Live? by Chuck Colson and Nancy Pearcey.  It’s been great rereading this modern classic.

Colson and Pearcy wrote in the introduction something that I believe, unfortunately, is still a problem for evangelicals today.

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 my 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 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. At its most fundamental level, the so-called culture war is a clash of belief systems.  It is, as Kuyper put it, a clash of principle against principle, of worldview against worldview.  Only when we see this can we effectively evangelize a post-Christian culture, bringing God’s righteousness to bear in the world around us, (pg. xxi).

Agree or disagree?  I believe this is one of the primary reasons we have say, for instance, gay marriage today.  We left that to the political arena and neglected the larger, more important worldview arena.  We may have initially won some political battles in the forms of marriage laws and marriage amendments in many states, but we were not winning hearts and minds especially among the younger generations.  Not only that, but we had people speaking out against things like this who were not adequately able to articulate and defend their worldview.

That’s just one issue.  We could go on and on.

An even greater impact can be seen in the lives of Christians who compartmentalize their lives.  They act one way at church and another way at work.  They don’t apply biblical truth to the whole of their lives.  And we have far, far too many people in the church who either let culture interpret the Bible for them rather than interpret culture through the lens of the Bible.

It is absolutely vital that the church overcome this failure.

2 comments
  1. “It is absolutely vital that the church overcome this failure.”

    Full & complete agreement here.

    Question: HOW. (I didn’t see an answer on the table. So I proffer one.)

    Answer: Reestablish in our hearts and minds the historic, Reformation/Puritan understanding of God’s holy Law as *normative* for His people to obey. We the citizens of Almighty God’s eternal Kingdom, the children He adopted into His family, owe to our Sovereign Lord Jesus a servant’s duty, while we dwell in this kingdom of His in this world, to OBEY His kingdom’s laws, His heavenly mansion’s rules. “Judgment begins in the house of God”, declares the Word. We, the Church in America, in the years after the terrible Great War that wrecked Christendom a hundred years now past, abandoned these teachings of our forefathers for a mess of defeatist ‘evangelical’ pottage that induces us to commit mass sloth (one of the deadly sins) and disobedience to our Master.

    Let us return to the full meaning of our Lord’s Great Commission to us:

    1) As we go through this life (“Going”, as part of our daily work and routine),

    2) make disciples of the nations (that’s ALL of the NATIONS–organized polities and ethnically related bodies of men which are made up of individual souls; our Lord demands that we train both the individual and the collective! A nation of Christians requires Christian laws…)

    3) baptizing the nations in the Trinitarian Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit–i.e., I AM (for simple and ancient itemization see the Apostles’ Creed) and

    4) teaching the nations to OBEY WHATSOEVER I (the Father and the Son) have COMMANDED you.–i.e., obedience to God’s LAW, which Jesus “came not to destroy but to fulfill” is a major part of our New Covenant.duty (New Commandment, Great Commandment, Ten Commandments, Golden Rule, and so forth–ethical rules, not ceremonial old covenant stuff.)

    5) And our Elder Brother/Kinsman Redeemer is with us always, even to the end of the age. Amen.

    Divine Grace at work, there–He who has begun a good work in us will continue to perform. And so must we continue doing good works and bringing forth kingdom fruit, for (per St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians) to good works has God destined us in His Grace. Without God’s Law we cannot define what is “good”. Indeed, without the Law we cannot know our sin. St John defines it for us in a positive way: “sin is the transgression of the Law.”. We do not possess the right to “know”–to define–“good and evil” for ourselves as the old serpent claimed. That issue, right there: the claim of every man to define good and evil for himself, what’s “right in his own eyes”– eradication of that ancient original sin requires that one “confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord;” Only the One Who Is The Lord has the right to define good and evil. The Christian voluntarily abjures that rebel’s claim, in favor of surrender and obedience to the Lord’s Law

    This life-giving and life-reordering “totalitarian” faith in Christ (not in Divine Law, but accompanied by it as God’s statement of His standard of righteousness) was, is and always will be the genuine Biblical faith, God’s gift to His people in His Son and applied to us by His Spirit. How effective is it?
    –Within 300 years of Christ’s resurrection the handful of Apostles and witnesses of that event had multiplied to the extent of taking over, converting and pacifying the turbulent nations of the old Roman Empire–that terrible (fourth) Beast of Daniel and St. John.
    –Such success stirred Satanic imitation from such grace-rejectors as the murdering, thieving, lying, child-molesting Arabian Mohammed. The most effective elements of Mohammed’s fake religion he stole from Christianity–including the idea of a Normative Divine Law (warped into the dreadful Mordor rule called Sharia:) Ironic, and challenging, is it not, that a false and murderous ape of our true religion now wields as its strength the very prop that we threw away?–first in the 600s, and now again in the 2000s, the conviction that God Rules and His Law is supreme in this world..
    –within 1200 years of Christ’s resurrection almost all of the previously pagan tribes of Europe were officially confessing Christian.
    –within 1600 years of Christ’s resurrection the Gospel had penetrated Asia and the Americas–thrown out on occasion but always returned; and Christian armies finally and definitively checked the Mohammedans from further advance in Europe (the Church is the only power on earth that has ever successfully resisted the Mohammedan tide and even thrown it back on occasion.)..
    –From Roman days to the early Modern world Christianity absorbed, baptized and (through Scripture and right reason) discipled subjects once (and, sadly, again today) thought to be :non-Christian” or “secular”: Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy, investigation of natural phenomena, commerce and trade, law and logic, language and literature, technology and military skill. Christianity– most particularly Reformation Protestantism– laid the intellectual and economic foundations for the Modern World, via the scientific method of inquiry, printing technology, the Industrial Revolution, and the rise of the two successive British Empires,
    –My above description of our faith represents the 17th century Geneva Bible-reading English Puritan willingness to fight tyranny. Willingness that stirred Christian plowboys and shopmen to volunteer for military drill and form a citizen army to fight for their Parliament against their lying, tyrannical king Charles. Fired by religious zeal this New Model Army defeated everything the Stuart monarchy and its allies could throw, and all non-Protestant Europe came to fear, The New Model and its Commonwealth attempt at a republic provided salutary lessons for their great grandsons in the New World in the 1770s.
    –Those grandsons in England’s colonies universally inherited and believed in a God Who works in this world and that they too bore duty to obey His laws. Their conquering, advancing Christian faith led them to dare something that no one anywhere in the world had ever tried on so vast a scale (and nor has tried since)–to bring forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. These United States COULD NOT EXIST BUT FOR men who believed that God works, His Law ultimately governs all of our affairs, and we bear the duty to obey Him in all things.
    –Within the past century, since the Great War: atheistic “scientific Socialism” challenged the Church, strove vigorously to erase her, committed ghastly atrocities–and suffered crushing world wide defeat, with the Church stronger in its wake; sub-Saharan Africa has gone from almost complete pagan darkness to almost complete overt confession of Christianity; Korea has become the lighthouse of Asia, while China’s holdover socialist rulers find themselves forced to accommodate the Church they cannot defeat (see Rome; China awaits its Constantine); the Gospel daily pushes deeper into the lower classes of India; while committed Mohammedans ravage their regions killing Christians and imagining they thereby do God service (Christ predicted that, BTW), the Mohammedans’ crushed masses look for freedom, which Christ extends (the country ripest for mass rejection of Mohammed for Christ most likely is Iran; certainly the wicked Mullahs there worry about our Lord’s progress! They’ve said so publicly.)
    All of this achievement gives the lie to hope-less Christian teachers who claim “This world is not our home, brother, all we can do is save a few souls until Jesus comes back to rapture us away.” Rank escapism. Worse, they will cut up the Great Commission by piously ruling out our duty to teach God’s Law–claiming “Oh brother, we’re not under law, we’re under grace!” Satanic antinomian crap! Twisting St. Paul’s words completely out of context to avoid obeying our Lord in His explicitly comprehensive command. I throw the Bushwah flag on such deniers of God’s grace and victory.

    How Now shall we live? By the Great Commission: daily doing and teaching whatsoever Christ commands us.

    He wins. He says so. And we win with and through Him. God guarantees His Victory. History has already proved Jesus is victorious. All we have to do is trust, obey, and daily fight the war.

    Sorry for ranting. Thanks for listening.
    Dave Hanson

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