While the future of America may appear gloomy, the authors believe, “God is not finished with us as a country. Decline is not inevitable.” (xix)
The authors call for believers to pray for a historic outpouring of God's Spirit on His Church. Without prayer, there is no hope. But Christian must do more. To see our culture restored, “We must understand the sources of the ideas that ail us as well as their alternatives.” (3) We must think clearly, argue persuasively, apply our convictions in our personal lives, build alliances, and act strategically to influence the people and institutions that shape our culture. They are quick to point out that public witness is linked to personal holiness. “We talk about transforming culture; we should spend more energy on transforming Christians.” (13) They quote Catherine of Siena, “If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world on fire.” (14)
To help Christians think well on policy issues, they review several concepts: law, religious liberty, the authority of the church, the Constitution, war/pacifism, public debt, growth and reach of government, abortion, the importance and meaning of marriage, family (and raising children), education, influencing culture, caring for the poor (and foreign aid), private property, free market (and a lesson in economics), globalization, international trade, immigration (they have a plan), (in)equality, being fruitful (creating wealth), environmental stewardship, and resources.
They provide a great deal of background information on the topics. They write, “...if we can think clearly, we can increase our odds of making the best choices available.” (308)
Their conclusion: “Of course, the most profound cultural change will come from outward expressions of inward change – a moral and spiritual renewal of our hearts and minds, our churches, communities, and cultural institutions. Besides principles and policies, we need people and prayer.” (321)
The material presented in this book is well documented. There are some 40 pages of footnotes. The authors are conservative. Liberal Christians may not like this book. For example, “our environmental problems are not getting worse.” (289) And, “Minimum wage laws eliminate those opportunities [of low-paying, entry-level jobs], and thus favor the politically powerful and fortunate who retain jobs over the vulnerable workers who least can afford it.” (253)
Whether conservative or liberal, there is a great deal of information in this book that is food for thought and action. Reading it will help us be more informed in policy debates. It should also inspire us to prayer and action.
James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International and the host of LIFE Today. He is the author of several books and has spoken to millions of people through evangelistic crusades since he entered ministry in 1962.
Jay Richards is a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute and is the author of several books. He has been the executive director of several documentaries and has appeared on Larry King Live.
FaithWords (a division of Hachette Book Group), 362 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from FaithWords for the purpose of this review. The opinions expressed are my own.