RAPID RESPONSE REPORT
DEFENDING HISTORIC CHRISTIANITY IN A POSTMODERN WORLD
DEFENDING THE FAITH: Part Two
Defending the what? The faith! What is the faith? Is it the Gospel? No, that's too narrow. We are using the word faith as in I Tim. 6:21 where it refers to the entire system of Christian teaching. In other words, we're talking about the Christian worldview, or the Christian way of seeing things. All of us as conscious, thinking beings, want our joys, pleasures, sorrows, routines, and lives to fit together so that our lives have meaning and purpose. This process of arranging the facts and experiences of life into a meaningful whole is analogous to fitting together a jigsaw puzzle without any knowledge of what the completed picture might be. It is as though someone has handed us the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle in a plastic bag but failed to include the picture! Our problem is compounded by two facts: Each of us cannot escape the realization that we ourselves are one of the pieces in the very puzzle we are trying to fit together. Further, in our finiteness, we find we do not have all the pieces. Key ones are missing, and we do not possess within ourselves a standard, or a picture on the box-top which confirms how any of the pieces fit together. To overcome this tension, all human beings consciously and unconsciously construct worldviews or philosophies of life that are supposed to be close approximations of what the big picture, ultimate reality, must be like. We create our own mental box-tops which enable us to make some sense out of our existence.
A worldview, then, is humanity's basic attempt to explain life's most important questions. People do this by formulating some grid or framework in which we can arrange our conceptions of reality into a meaningful whole. These include the origin of the universe, the nature of reality, the nature of man, the purpose of life, questions about good and evil, and mortality. It is important to realize that the beliefs which make up worldviews are more than propositions to which intellectual assent is given; they are propositions which actually direct our lives. Thus, a worldview is what we really believe about the world (all that is) and ourselves (how we fit into the scheme of things), and it is that which influences our thought and action. Thus every person has some sort of view of the world. Even those who deny there is a systematic way of explaining things are still espousing a perspective. (This would of course include PM!). As we experience life, we automatically systematize our worldview. Our minds work in such a way that we are constantly analyzing and categorizing the many experiences and facts which confront us each day, and we seek to act upon these facts or situations in a meaningful way. Or to express it another way, each of us attempts to break reality down into little pieces (analysis), then reconstruct it (synthesis) in a way that is meaningful to us. This process begins at birth and continues throughout life.
While every human being has some sort of a philosophy of life, it is a fact that most of us have not taken the time to thoroughly examine it or think it through in order to clarify our basic beliefs, or even to articulate them for others. Christian Information Ministries, which sponsors this E-Zine, exists to assist believers in defining and defending the Christian worldview.
We will continue this discussion in the next issue, but we leave you with one more thought: All worldviews are ultimately held by faith. One of my least favorite phrases being bandied about these days is the designation: faith-based, e.g., President Bush's plan to fund faith-based organizations. What this seems to presuppose to me is that there are some worldviews which are not faith-based. This is an myth that Christian apologists must shatter! (In the right way of course!) All worldviews are based on some primary assumption which is held by faith.
POST MODERNISM AND THE STATE OF
In the issue #2 of RRR http://www.fni.com/cim/rapid/RRRTwo.htm
we noted how PM is affecting the discipline of archaeology, most
notable Biblical archaeology. The outcome of this dispute (deconstructing
the questions of
While we're somewhat on the subject of archaeology: After being bottled up for decades by academic politics and jealousy, most of the Dead Sea Scrolls have now finally been published. Since they are now in the public domain and open for scrutiny, some fascinating things are being uncovered. For example, one scroll apparently reads in the same vein as Luke 1:35 where the phrase son of God is used. What is significant is that this idea of God's son predates the birth of Christ. However, I would not go out and use this just yet in witnessing to your Jewish friends. The ad hoc response could possibly be that these scribes were Hellenized as is suggested in the following article. The concept of son of god was not uncommon in the Greek world. Caesar was known as the son of god To read more see http://christiannewstoday.com/DeadSeaScribes.html
CHRISTIANS LEFT BEHIND?
In previous conversations about reaching PMs
we suggested that culture can be the bridge to facilitate the sharing of
the gospel, particularly the art forms of movies and music. We also noted
that Christians should be challenged, not only to produce quality art, but to
be a connoisseurs of the same. That's all well and
good, but a controversy arises about Christian-produced art. Is it art
for arts sake, or as a medium of propaganda? Franky
Schaeffer has been mad about this for quite some time, mad enough to write two
books about the subject (Addicted to Mediocrity, and Sham
Pearls for Real Swine). Schaeffer doesn't equivocate about his
view against cheap art used as propaganda. National Review just
posted a review of the Christian-produced movie Left Behind based
on the fictional series by Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye.
The evangelical community has not heard from Franky
lately, but he could have written this article: "Do Fake Boobs Go to
Heaven?" Under the title, it has the caption: "It's like The
Day of the Jackal as conceived by Ned Flanders, and produced by the
film and video department of a rural
I have not seen this movie but remain interested in how it's perceived by the public, and I'm curious to read how both the books and the movie are being reviewed. Atlantic Monthly had an interesting review of the Left Behind book series about one year ago. http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/2000/01/001gross.htm
OTHER NOTABLE ARTICLES
If you have the time and interest, see George Will's column on the current state of the arts "`Art' Unburdened by Excellence." www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/will1.asp In this article, Will refers to a book by Lynne Cheney Telling the Truth: Why Our Culture and Our Country Have Stopped Making Sense--and What We Can Do About It. In a later issue of RRR we hope to comment more on this fine book.
In a news article about my former professor, Haddon Robinson (Preaching 101), we are exhorted not to forget that the medium should not take priority over our message. On these pages we have discussed the importance of a distinct media in reaching PMs. Robinson says, "[P]reachers must realize that they work in a hostile technological environment, one that communicates with images. It doesn't come out and argue. It just simply shows you pictures, day after day after day after day. Before you realize it, in the basement of your mind, you discover that you have shifted your values and many times you've lost your faith." http://www.nandotimes.com/cb/st/opinions/story/0,4632,500305305-500489375-503394868-0,00.html
Richard Rorty, a philosopher, is a key figure in the philosophy of science wars. The war pits the PM against the traditional view of science. This is of course a discussion we should all be interested in. Junk science, or science driven by ideology, affects us all. Though this article was published in 1999 it's still relevant. http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/99nov/9911sciencewars.htm
For Christ and His Kingdom