True Christianity goes far beyond John 3:16 beyond
private faith and personal salvation. It is nothing less than a framework
for understanding all of reality. It is a worldview.
- A worldview is how our ideas about the world determine
the way we live. It is the foundation upon which we base our beliefs
and our lives. For the Christian, this foundation has come under the
most vicious attack in the last hundred years.
If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?
How Now Shall We Live? decisively addresses and convincingly answers
the question. Charles Colson says that this book is the most important
work of his career. The inside cover says it is a defining book
for Christians in the next millennium. It is certainly the most
penetrating and insightful book I have ever read concerning the challenge
facing those who embrace the biblical worldview in the midst of a culture
that has largely discarded the idea that there is a relevant, personal
Creator and a transcendent code of morality to which we are all accountable.
It not only clearly defines the issues facing us, but equips us with
rational arguments founded in biblical truth which will enable us to
fulfill the mandate given us by God to be agents of redemptive transformation
to our culture.
The title of this book is a borrowed and updated version of the title
Christian philosopher and theologian Francis Schaeffer used for his
book, How Then Shall We Live?, which itself was taken from a passage
in Ezekiel 33:10 describing the plight of the nation of Israel under
Surely our transgressions and our sins
are upon us, and we are rotting away in them; how then can we live?
The cry of the people of Israel at the time of their captivity was,
How are we going to serve and remain true to our God in the midst
of a culture in which every facet of life is arrayed against the very
things we hold dear? The stark realization had hit them that they
had failed to take their beliefs and heritage in Yahweh, the God of
the universe, and translate them into a lifestyle that would affect
the world in which they lived. Instead of profoundly affecting their
world with the truth, they had instead allowed their belief in the one
true God to be relegated to mere religious observance devoid of the
power to redeem and transform society.
As Christians today, we find ourselves in a very similar predicament.
We have allowed a culture that is hostile to the God revealed in the
Bible to cloister us within the walls of religion. You can believe
in your God, sing your songs, go to church, and have your
holidays, but dont you dare think for one minute that youre
going to bring your gospel out of the church building and expect to
change us with it. And in return for the acceptance and comforts
of society, we have compromised the truth and bargained away our ability
to bring the relevance of the gospel and the biblical worldview to every
aspect of life.
Colson, who is perhaps one of the most outspoken and articulate prophetic
voices of our generation, along with co-author Nancy Pearcey, a former
student of Schaeffer, pick up where Schaeffer left off. Their whole
premise is that our Christian faith is supposed to affect every area
of life and culture - what is referred to as our worldview. They assert
that we live in what is called a post-modern or post-christian culture
which refuses to admit the existence of the God of the Bible outright,
or at least denies His relevance to and supremacy over His creation.
The authors clearly demonstrate not only His desire, but our responsibility
to restore and redeem culture-everything from politics and education,
to science, art, music, and even, well, television. With expert legal
precision and logical analysis, Colson, an attorney and President Richard
Nixons former hatchet man, masterfully argues a convincing
case with overwhelming evidence in favor of the biblical or Christian
So, how now shall we live? This is the challenge Colson and Pearcey
take on as we enter the new millennium. They do this in three ways.
First of all, they define the biblical worldview by describing it through
the analytical framework of creation, fall, and redemption. In other
words, where did we come from (creation); how did we get into the mess
were in now (the fall); and where are we going (redemption). In
the same way that those who are trained to recognize counterfeit money
must first become familiar with the real thing before being able to
easily spot that which is false, the authors demonstrate the utter rationality
that has as its heart the concept that there must be an intelligent
Creator and Designer of the universe. This is the real thing.
Secondly, they identify the different worldviews that are prevalent
today and give a history of each and how they have come to dominate
and pollute our very thought processes like a toxic oil spill
that has invaded every area of life. They then, through this analytical
framework, stack these opposing worldviews up against the Christian
or biblical worldview to show their absurdity and failure in the light
Are you tired of being philosophically outgunned in the public square
or in the classroom, knowing youve got the truth but are at a
loss as to how to articulate it? Colson and Pearcey teach and equip
us to accurately handle truth and to practically be able to give a defense
for the hope within us.
This is by far the best defense I have ever read, but it was not written
for the purpose of maintaining a defensive posture. One piece of weaponry
with which they arm us is the idea that we are not to combat science
with religion, but poor science with better science. They also
unmask the underlying reason for modern concepts such as
evolution, humanism, Marxism, communism, the deification of personal
comfort and freedom, new age and eastern religions, muticulturalism,
and values clarification: it is nothing less than the age-old sinister
agenda of the kingdom of darkness opposing and trying to exalt itself
against the kingdom of light. Part of the deception lies in the fact
that these ideas, which are built on faulty foundations, hide behind
the cloak of science, education, or salvation. Put to the touchstone
of creation, fall, and redemption, they all fail the test.
Thirdly the authors interweave throughout the book absolutely gripping
and fascinating real life stories of individuals who themselves were
transformed by the gospel and were then used by Him to bring restoration
into the spheres of influence in which he had placed them. Do you have
any idea who St. Patrick was and the far reaching influence he had on
European life? You gotta check it out. The book is loaded with marvelous
surprises that pay tribute to the love and power of Jesus Christ brought
into the nitty gritty of daily life.
These are stories that demonstrate that human life is worth saving and
redeeming because we bear the divine image of our Creator. For example,
there is the story of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a Jewish abortionist and
founder of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), who presided
over sixty thousand abortions, including the aborting of two of his
own children. With the development of the technology of ultrasound that
vividly reveals the reality of life in the womb, Nathanson, the author
of the film, The Silent Scream, comes face to face with the horror of
what he has given his life to in the name of personal freedom. Is there
hope for him and the crushing guilt under which he finds himself? This
particular account traces Gods progressive revelation of Himself
in Nathansons life through the creation, fall, redemption framework
until the most outspoken champion of abortion rights comes to faith
in Jesus Christ.
Then theres Ken McGarrity, a helicopter gunner who is blinded
and loses both legs in Vietnam. When he arrives at the army hospital
in Pleiku, Dr. Kenneth Swan and his team of surgeons do all they can
to save McGarritys life. The next day, Swans commanding
officer grills him about why he decided to treat the case so aggressively:
There was no other way to treat his injuries,
Swan replied, surprised at the question. His superior looked him squarely
in the eye. Look, Ken, why send blind, double amputees with significant
brain damage back to their parents? What were you thinking? Swan
found himself responding from his gut. I was trained to treat
the sick. Its not up to me who lives and dies. Thats Gods
decision. As the surgeon on duty, it was up to you,
said his commanding officer. The next time you make a call, ask
yourself what kind of life youre condemning someone to.
He paused. Of course, he may die yet. He sounded grimly
Ken McGarrity does not die. He comes back to the United States, and
because of one surgeon who believed in and dedicated himself to the
sanctity of human life, goes on the become a lover of Jesus, a husband
and father of two girls, a college graduate, and scuba diver.
And author Colson is himself an example of someone rescued by the gospel
of Jesus Christ who, after being incarcerated for ten months for his
role in the Watergate scandal, returned to prison, but this time to
found Prison Fellowship and become an agent of redemptive transformation
in the prison systems of the world. There are other wonderful stories
in the book that illustrate the ability of the gospel not only to save,
but also to redeem, restore, and transform human lives and societies.
However, the best account of true life restoration, and perhaps the
most moving I have ever read, is saved for the end of the book. Dont
read ahead! Youll rob yourself of the challenge, equipping, and
information that is so vital if we are to be salt and light to this
generation. Salt and light both radically change their environment,
and so should we. This book, full of truth and hope, is highly recommended
for any Christian who yearns to fulfill Gods purposes in the culture
in which we have been placed, as well as the person who is seeking the
answer to where did we come from, how did we get to this place, and
where are we going.
No worldview is merely a theoretical philosophy. It is intensely practical,
affecting the way we live our lives, day in and day out, as well as
the way we influence the world around us. If we adopt a false worldview,
we will inevitably find ourselves going against the grain of the universe,
leading to consequences we cannot live withas millions of Americans
are discovering. If, however, we order our lives in accord with reality,
we will not only find meaning and purpose but also discover that our
lives are healthier and more fulfilled. Christianity is an accurate
road map of reality, and we must be ready to make the case to those
who are growing increasingly aware of the futility of the other worldviews.