December 22, 2001
''HOW NOW SHALL WE LIVE?''
Do you know someone who gets angry with TV
shows treating believers as bumbling idiots, who is sickened by the sea
of pornography, illegitimacy, divorce, and venality in government?
That person would love an epic book, ''How Now
Shall We Live?'' by Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey. It's the most
comprehensive, richly researched and powerfully written book I've ever
read to equip readers to expose false views of culture and to transform
it. It is manual on how to be an activist, building a society that
reflects biblical principles.
Chuck Colson, a former aide to Nixon, went to
prison for a Watergate crime and emerged to create Prison Fellowship
that inspired 50,000 people to volunteer time with prisoners. He writes
a column for Christianity Today and offers a daily radio commentary,
Breakpoint. Colson won the $1 million Templeton Prize for Progress in
Religion in 1993 for extraordinary leadership in advancing humanity's
understanding of God.
Nancy Pearcey has been co-author of the column
and executive editor of Breakpoint which applies biblical principles to
current moral issues.
The world measures history from the birth of
Jesus, but few Christians feel good about a culture in which promiscuity
seems to escalate annually, disintegrating our families. America has
exported this poison to the world, generating enemies and terrorists.
What's needed, say the authors, is to show the
world that Christianity ''is more than private belief, more than
personal salvation.'' Rather it is a comprehensive worldview to answer
profound questions: ''Where did we come from and who are we (creation)?
What has gone wrong with the world (sin)? What can we do to fix it
Jesus said, ''I am the way and the truth and
the life.'' Christians believe He is the Alpha and the Omega, the origin
and end of all things, but most of us have not brought that worldview
into our work, community or government. Even institutions created to
glorify God and train clergy such as Harvard and Duke, are apologists
for a secular world view.
Colson and Pearcey identify enemies of a
transcendent worldview: moral relativism in which every principle is
reduced to a personal preference; pragmatism which says what works best
is right, that there are no objective standards of truth; and naturalism
which considers only this life while Christians see that today's choices
have eternal consequences.
The book gives ammunition to fight those
perspectives, and a winsome, effective strategy. When critics argue that
Christians want to restrict the liberty of others, Colson notes the
martyrs who brought down the Soviet Union, were mostly clergy who gave
freedom to millions.
To answer the late Carl Sagan's charge that
nature is ''all that is or ever was or ever will be,'' the authors cite
evidence the world was (ital) designed (close ital) to support life. For
example, if the earth were even slightly closer to the sun, all its
water would boil away; or if slightly further away, water would freeze
and landscape would be desert.
To counter Darwin's theory that all living
structures evolved in gradual steps, the writers cite evidence of the
fossil record, in which different species, such as bats, suddenly appear
fully formed eons ago, and are virtually identical to modern bats.
Christians must become articulate on such issues. ''As long as Darwinism
reigns in our schools and elite culture, the Christian worldview will be
considered the madwoman in the attic - irrational and unbelievable,''
Christians believe human life bears the divine
stamp and is sacred. But a ''culture of death'' has surfaced, argues
John Paul II, that attempts to justify everything from abortion to
euthanasia. This naturalism rejects biblical morality and accepts any
sexual coupling, plus cloning, of course.
America's Christian founders recognized the
fallen nature of mankind in creating a government with checks and
balances in Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches, each with
limited powers. By contrast, Muslim countries are run by dictators
Finally, the book spotlights people living
their faith, transforming the culture, demonstrating the vitality of a
Quadriplegic Joni Eareckson Tada finds joy in
bringing dignity to the handicapped.
AME Pastor Jerry McNeely twice weekly goes to
a grim Chicago elementary school to teach science after school,
motivating hundreds of kids to science careers.
Martha Williamson is a Hollywood producer who
persuaded CBS to allow her to create a show in which angels persuade
people to do what God wants, in ''Touched by an Angel.''
''How Now Shall We Live?'' motivated Michael
Craven, a corporate CEO, to take a pay cut to direct a Dallas Center for
Decency to fight for a Christian worldview of Sexuality.
A perfect Christmas gift that could involve
others with a $6 Study Guide (703 478-0100).
Copyright 2001 Michael J. McManus.