Wednesday, March 29, 2006

"Christianity doesn't begin or end with John 3:16"

Circling back around on some of my recommended resources this week. . . I guess.

World Magazine just celebrated its 20th Anniversary in its March 18, 2006 issue.

So I sat down and read the issue cover to cover. . . . a rare treat indeed! Fascinating history. They've published 885 issues over that time. (That's a lot of issues!)

Anyway, if you're looking for a great weekly periodical to subscribe to, check out these two links to see what World is all about. . .

The Next 20 Years

'A Perilous Venture'

The second link is a collection of congratulatory letters from well-wishers on World's 20th Anniversary including John Piper, R.C. Sproul, Cal Thomas and others.

It was Chuck Colson's note that jumped out at me. He articulates much of what I believe about Christianity and the cultural challenges facing us in these days. . .

Christianity is a worldview. The story starts with God, who spoke into being and who cares for all his creation. Our role is to cry out "His."

Ah shucks, just read Colson for yourselves. . .

"WORLD Magazine has been in the vanguard of a crucial movement in recent years to awaken the church to its full biblical responsibilities and engage the culture.

"Many evangelicals have comfortably assumed that the task of the church is just to get people saved and discipled. We’ve often measured success by how many contented churchgoers we can create. But as Francis Schaeffer once said, Christianity doesn’t begin or end with John 3:16. To think that way is like opening a book in the middle. The story starts with God is, who spoke us into being, and who cares for all of His creation.

"My mantra has become the statement by Abraham Kuyper, the great theologian and once prime minister of Holland, “There is not one square inch in the whole domain of human existence as to which Christ who is sovereign over all does not cry out ‘Mine!’ ”

"And if Jesus, looking at all of life, cries out ‘Mine!’, the church’s task is to cry out ‘His!’ Increasing numbers of evangelicals, thanks in good measure to the editorial leadership of World, have begun to understand that Christianity has something to say about every area of life; law, politics, science, arts, community, and so forth. This means that Christians have not just the Great Commission to fulfill, evangelizing the lost, but a cultural commission, to multiply and be fruitful, to occupy, to cultivate and till, to see, as Cotton Mather once put it, that the blessings of God show forth in all of life.

"In short, Christianity is a worldview. It answers all the questions humans ask—where do we come from? Why is the world in a mess? Is there any way out? What is our task?

"What most WORLD readers surely understand is that we are in the midst of a brutal clash of civilizations. On the one hand, as Harvard professor Samuel Huntington predicted, the great titanic struggle of the 21st century is between Islam and the Western liberal democracy shaped by Judeo-Christian tradition. When he prophesied that in the 90s, not many people paid attention. 9/11 awakened us. We are in a life and death struggle with radical Islamo-fascism, which is dedicated to destroying Christians and Jews. This great struggle, understood only in historic and religious terms, will be with us for generations.

"At the same time, there’s a clash within our own civilization. On one side are secular naturalists, who believe that life arose out of the primordial soup, that it has no transcendent meaning, that the task of government is to protect people from having any infringement on their desire to do whatever they choose to do, that truth is merely a preference; and on the other side are those who believe in overriding natural moral law, a created order, the knowability of truth. The so-called culture war involves abortion, gay “marriage,” cloning, and the like; but at a far deeper level it forces us to face the question of who we are, what it means to be human, whether it is possible to continue to enjoy ordered liberty.

"The stakes could not be higher. Christians can no longer be content retreating into their sanctuaries. Instead we have to be self-conscious about our responsibilities, learning to defend truth, to winsomely work for justice and righteousness in the midst of an apostate world, and seek to become the businessmen, doctors, lawyers, artists, movie producers, literary critiques, academics, and leaders who shape the culture in which we live.

"I salute WORLD on 20 years of pioneering vision and advocacy of a biblical view of all of reality. The magazine does a superb job reporting on films, music, politics, and energizing readers across the board to winsomely engage the world."
—Chuck Colson is Founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries

That rocks! Amen! Let's not retreat into our sanctuaries. Let's winsomely engage our world.

Your thoughts?

1 comment:

Lara Laity said...

Hey, so I'm posting basically because no one else did and I'm afraid you will think we didn't read this one or that we found it unimportant. Both of which are completely untrue. There is just so much to think about and Colson said it all so perfectly that anything I could add would ruin it.

But here are some of the questions this article brought up in my mind:
What would this actually look like in my life; to exit my retreat and go out to try to change culture?
The separation of church and state, is this good? Is it possible?

We have been so infiltrated by the american cultural value of letting everyone believe what they want to believe and doing what they want to do with their own lives. I need to constantly be reminded that God says, "No, it's all mine."

Yeah. I agree Tim. That rocks. I've never even heard of World Magazine. Now I want to read it.