Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Sky is Not Falling by Charles Colson

This book is comprised of essays that first appeared in Christianity Today and have been collected here in themes.
Colson senses that evangelicals are battle weary and are in a sort of malaise when it comes to influencing culture. Some might cry that the sky is falling, but we should be encouraging instead as the church has withstood the onslaught of two millennia.
In one essay, Colson notes, “The truth is that Americans are losing their moral recognition of the universal dignity of human life.” (21-22) He asks, “Where are the adults who are supposed to teach these kids the intrinsic value of human life and other moral absolutes?” (22) Colson suggests, “Today people are beginning to recognize the soul-destroying consequences of postmodernism, and now is the time to press them to see the wisdom of biblical truth.” (22)
He has a great chapter on marriage. He notes the supreme court decisions that effectively ended any morals legislation. (42) When the person is divided from the physical body, the body is treated as an instrument for getting what someone wants. (44) Christians cannot just say that homosexuality and adultery are against the Bible. The understanding of the human person must be explained, and Colson does exactly that.
He next addresses the decline in our culture, encouraging Christians to have high standards in speech and dress, as well as for worship, music, etc.
He addresses postmodernism and the denial of absolute truth and the disastrous results that follow. Colson is concerned relativism has invaded the church. “It is vital that Christians become more discriminating.” (71)
He next investigates what happens when a utilitarian logic, such as evolutionary ethics, is applied to science. He covers the ramifications of recent Supreme Court decisions. He believes they show a trend that puts religious liberty in jeopardy.
The public has lost confidence in the congress and Colson gives several reasons for it. Since 2005, earmarks have cost the taxpayers over $142 billion. (93) Special interests dominate. Lobbyists and politicians no longer work for the common good but for what is in it for them. Virtue and ethics in government are plummeting. He encourages Christians to get active in holding their politicians accountable.
Of the modern culture, Colson says, “We must show why postmodern relativism is the cause of such despair and is at the root of much cultural restlessness and fragmentation. And then we must point the way out of the corner that postmoderns have painted themselves into.” (105)
There is now rampant doctrinal ignorance among American Christians. (111) Christians need to be able to speak intelligently and courageously about the hope that is within them. “A vital key to turning today's church around is taking special care to see that the next generation is solidly grounded in Christianity's core teachings and infused with an accurate worldview.” (113) We must teach discernment or we are going to lose the next generation. He says the “cultural commission” is every bit as real and serious as the Great Commission. We cannot ignore the moral issues of the day.
Colson suggests “God may be using disastrous events to wake up America. (124)
When it comes to political involvement, Colson wants Christians to remember they are appealing to hearts and minds, not twisting arms. (130)

As is sometimes the case with essay collections, this book does not seem to have a cohesive thread running through it. If one does want to get Colson's take on a variety of current political and cultural conditions, this would be a way of doing so in bite size chunks.

Worthy Publishing, 154 pages.

I received an egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

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