Presenting the Christian Worldview: The Centurions

November 21, 2007

From Chuck Colson and Breakpoint.

“In the months before World War II, an Oxford don by the name of C. S. Lewis wrote, “Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason because bad philosophy needs to be answered.” Lewis’s students questioned the importance of studying the humanities and sciences with war on the horizon. But Lewis understood, as he wrote so beautifully in his classic book Weight of Glory, that “To be ignorant and simple now . . . would be to throw down our weapons and to betray our uneducated brethren who have, under God, no defense but us against the intellectual attacks of the heathen.” Four years ago, I launched a distance-learning and networking program called the Centurions Program. It is designed to equip Christians to understand and defend the truth in every area of life and culture.

Sadly, bad philosophy—like relativism, naturalism, and secular humanism—runs rampant in our legislatures, schools, movie theaters, and even our churches. In the face of this, Centurions is preparing men and women not just to understand and articulate their own Christian worldview, but also to proactively teach others to be able to do so and engage the culture in every sphere of influence.

One of our Centurions graduates, Fritz Kling, has begun a Christian Leadership Institute for civic and business leaders in Richmond, Virginia. Fritz says, “My [Centurions] experience exposed me to a model for developing talented leaders. I will tell you, though, that such programs are fairly common in the U.S.  But Centurions constantly pushed me to initiate and innovate—to be fairly audacious in believing that I could (and indeed should) start things.”

Fritz underscores exactly the vision we have for the program: one of exponential cultural impact.

And we have plenty of examples of Centurions doing just that: from Bill Peel in Dallas, who is equipping Christian Medical and Dental Association affiliates to view medical ethics and issues from a biblical perspective; to Stephen Dunson in West Texas, who is teaching a 12-week worldview course in a Texas prison. Then there is James Biersteker, in Ontario, Canada, who is starting a worldview academy for public high school students.

But not only are Centurions sharing the training they have received, they are also impacting the culture firsthand. Take Jim Walter, who is chairing a church committee that is reaching out to the community’s homeless, drug addicts, and ex-prisoners. Or Bonnie Crogan-Mazur and Tom Bulling, who are involved in teaching and hands-on ministry on Indian reservations. There’s Al Van Horne in New York, who is developing micro-enterprise projects to help the poor both here and overseas. And there are artists, writers, and filmmakers like Tom Hall, Jeanne Dennis, Phyllis Hammerstrom, and Greg Bandy, who incorporate Christian worldview themes and messages into their handiwork.

If you would like to find out more about how you can join the ranks of the next class of Centurions, please visit us at www.breakpoint.org. Our culture urgently needs more men and women who will rightly wield good philosophy to counter the bad philosophy of the postmodern era: men and women who can winsomely present the Christian worldview in their sphere of influence.”

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How Now Shall We Live? By Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey

August 28, 2007

This is a MUST read for all Christians.  It is an incredibly powerful book that I highly recommend.  There is also a study guide for this book that I recommend as well.  This book examines the great spiritual battle today that is a cosmic struggle between competing worldviews.  The authors utilize true stories and compelling teaching to demonstrate the following:

– Expose false views and values of modern culture

– Live a more fulfilling life the way God created us to live

– Contend for the faith by understanding how nonbelievers think

– Build a society that reflects biblical principles

I ran across a review on amazon.com that I thought really did a great job of capturing the core of the book.  It is below.   

5 out of 5 Stars – The Way We See The World Can Change The World, June 21, 2006

“Centuries ago, when the Jews were in exile and despair, they cried out to God, “How should we then live?” The same question rings down through the ages. How shall we live today? Pearcey and Colson’s primary observation is that “the way we see the world can change the world.” (pg. 13) This is because our choices are shaped by what we believe is real and true, right and wrong, or good and beautiful. In short, our choices are shaped by what Pearcey and Colson call our “worldview.”Every worldview attempts to answer three basic questions: (1) Where did we come from and who are we? (2) What has gone wrong with the world? And (3) What can we do to fix it? According to Colson and Pearcey, the culture wars are not about extraneous issues like abortion or public education. Fundamentally, they are about worldviews–between competing secular and spiritual answers to those three basic questions.

The demise of objective truth, profoundly expressed in the halls of academia, also extends into the popular press and culture. The result has been a postmodern worldview which embraces relativism and reduces all ideas to social constructions shaped by class, gender, and ethnicity. Under this view, the world is just a power struggle for meaningless prizes. Their one absolute is that morality is not absolute. Other existing worldviews include “traditionalism,” found in many small towns filled with churches; and modernism, found among pragmatic social and business leaders interested in personal material gain, but less interested in philosophical questions and social issues. Against this backdrop, Christians are challenged to provide answers to those three basic questions in a compelling manner.

C. S. Lewis observed, “The Christian and the materialist hold different beliefs about the universe. They both can’t be right. The one who is wrong will act in a way which simply doesn’t fit the real universe.” Thus Colson and Pearcy observe that choices are not without consequences. The Christian worldview says we were created by God. Compelling evidence that life does not have a random origin can be found in the current arguments for intelligent design. Christianity claims that God created the universe with a material order and a moral order. If we live contrary to that order, we sin against God. Thus, what has gone wrong with the universe is human sin.

The way to redeem our culture is to help people realize which universe they’re living in. If it’s a materialist’s universe, then the answers don’t revolve around taking moral principles seriously. But if the real universe was made with a moral law (as Colson and Pearcey argue), then it stands to reason that the solutions to our problems begin with recognizing that fact, and taking steps to educate people in ways that will help them live lives that are not inimical to the way we were designed to live. This, Colson and Pearcey argue, is how we should live.”

For more information on Charles Colson visit his website at www.breakpoint.org and for more information on Nancy Pearcey visit her website at www.pearceyreport.com.


No Doubt About It: The Case for Christianity By Dr. Winfried Corduan

August 28, 2007

This book is an excellent introduction to apologetics.  A wide range of issues related to the Christian faith are covered in a simple, clear and effective manner.   

Some of the topics included are the following: 

– Faith, Reason and Doubt

– Truth, Knowledge and Relativism

– Testing Worldviews

– Worldviews in Trouble

– The Existence of God

– God and Evil

– Miracles: Liability and Asset

– The New Testament and History

– Who Is Jesus?

– From Christ to Christianity

– Truth and Our Culture 

I highly recommend this book to Christians interested in defending their faith as well as to any skeptics struggling with the above topics.  For more information on Dr. Corduan visit his website at http://members.tripod.com/~Win_Corduan/cv.html.


True for You, But Not for Me: Deflating the Slogans that Leave Christians Speechless By Dr. Paul Copan

August 28, 2007

 

This is a short book at 192 pages but it is very, very powerful.  Since reading it I have become a huge fan of Paul Copan’s work and am now reading his other books.  This book provides solid, logical, and well reasoned responses to defeat popular slogans that non-believers use to attack Christianity.  It is a must read for all Christians. 

Some of the topics included are the following: 

“That’s True for You, But Not for Me”

– “So Many People Disagree – Relativism Must Be True”

– “You’re Just Using Western Logic”

– “Christians Are Intolerant of Other Viewpoints!”

– “What Right Do You Have to Convert Others to Your Views?”

– “Your Values Are Right for You, But Not for Me”

– “Who Are You to Say Another Culture’s Values Are Wrong?”

– “You Have the Right to Choose Your Own Values”

– “We Act Morally Because of Biological Evolution or Social Conditioning”

– “To Be Good, We Don’t Need God”

– “Christianity Is Arrogant and Imperialistic”

– “If You Grew Up in India, You’d Be a Hindu”

– “Mahatma Gandhi Was a Saint If Ever There Was One”

– “You Can’t Trust the Gospels. They’re Unreliable”

– “Jesus’ Followers Fabricated the Stories and Sayings of Jesus”

– “Jesus Is Just Like Any Other Great Religious Leader”

– “People Claim JFK and Elvis Are Alive, Too!”

– “But Jesus Never Said, ‘I am God’”

– “If Jesus Is the Only Way to God, What About Those Who Have Never Heard of Him?”

– “It Doesn’t Matter What You Believe –as Long as You’re Sincere”

– “Who Needs Jesus? And How Are They Going to Find Out About Him?”

– “Why Can’t We Simply Give People the Gospel?” 

I highly recommend this book.  For more information on Dr. Copan visit his website at www.paulcopan.com.

 


The Ever-Loving Truth: Can Faith Thrive in a Post-Christian Culture? By Dr. Voddie Baucham

August 28, 2007

This is an excellent introduction to understanding the culture/spiritual war that is raging in our society. 

The core message of this book is that we live in a post-modern/post-Christian culture that embraces all lifestyles and religions and rejects the idea of absolute truth.  Our faith is constantly challenged by a culture that uses words such as narrow-minded, intolerant, and bigoted to describe us. We must take a stand and challenge the culture instead of conforming to it.  We must use the unchanging truth of God’s Word to engage the culture for transformation.  As Dr. Baucham writes, “the unchanging truth of God’s Word still holds preeminence in relevance and answers to contemporary life issues” and “as followers of Christ, we must stand humbly but boldly in the marketplace of ideas and proclaim the truth to a culture void of everlasting answers”. 

Although the book is only 210 pages, Dr. Baucham covers a lot of ground and very effectively conveys his message in a simple, logical and relevant way.  This is a very important book for all Christians to read in order to begin to understand the dynamics of the culture war.  I highly recommend it.  For more information on Dr. Baucham visit his website at www.voddiebaucham.org.


What is Truth?

August 2, 2007

by Douglass Groothuis, Ph.D.

Truth is so obscured nowadays, and lies so well established, that unless we love the truth, we shall never recognize it. — Blaise Pascal

Staring Truth in the Face

“Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” Jesus Christ made this statement after Pontius Pilate had interrogated him prior to the crucifixion (John 18:37, NIV). Pilate then famously replied, “What is truth?” and left the scene.

As philosopher Francis Bacon wrote in his essay “On Truth”:

“What is truth?” said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer.

Although Jesus made no reply to Pilate, Christians affirm that Pilate was staring truth in the face, for Jesus had earlier said to his disciple Thomas, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6).

This historic exchange raises the perennial question of the very nature of truth itself. What does it mean for a statement to be true? Or, to put it another way: What does it take for a statement to achieve truthfulness?”

To read more click here.


Education and New Age Humanism

July 28, 2007

An excellent article examining how humanism has permeated our education system and what we, as Christians, can do about it. It is imperative that Christians understand humanism and how it is affecting our children.

From Probe Ministries.  Written by Russ Wise.

The Humanistic Charade

“Most religions consist of a unified system of beliefs that deals with basic views on such things as God and human ethics. The two basic elements in all religions are: (1) a view of God or some ultimate reality, and (2) a view of ethics, derived from ultimate reality. Most often these are expressed in some kind of holy book. Each major religion has a holy book or books. Christianity is no exception. Humanism, as well, has its holy books: The Humanist Manifestos I and II.

The manifesto itself regards humanism as a religion. The very first sentence reads: “Humanism is a philosophical, religious and moral point of view as old as human civilization itself.”(1) So, humanism not only has its “holy books,” but has a view of God as well: It says there is no God.

The second Humanist Manifesto, published in 1973 states; “As in 1933, humanists still believe that traditional theism, especially faith in the prayer-hearing God, assumed to love and care for persons, to hear and understand their prayers, and to be able to do something about them, is an unproved and outmoded faith.

“Salvationism, based on mere affirmation, still appears as harmful, diverting people with false hopes of heaven hereafter. Reasonable minds look to other means for survival.”(2)

The manifesto goes on to say, “We find insufficient evidence for belief in the existence of a supernatural; it is either meaningless or irrelevant to the question of the survival and fulfillment of the human race. As nontheists, we begin with humans not God, nature not deity.”(3)

The Humanist Manifesto goes on to state, “we can discover no divine purpose or providence for the human species. While there is much that we do not know, humans are responsible for what we are or will become. No deity will save us; we must save ourselves.”(4)

Regarding the individual, the Manifesto says that “in the area of sexuality, we believe that intolerant attitudes, often cultivated by orthodox religions and puritanical cultures, unduly repress sexual conduct. The right to birth control, abortion, and divorce should be recognized. While we do not approve of exploitive, denigrating forms of sexual expression, neither do we wish to prohibit, by law or social sanction, sexual behavior between consenting adults.”(5)

And humanism has a firm position on ethics. Their “bible” says, “Moral values derive their source from human experience. Ethics is autonomous and situational.”(6)

In other words, morals are not derived from absolutes given by God, but are determined by the individual from situation to situation. By and large, the humanists deplore any reference to them as being “religious.” However, the Supreme Court identified secular humanism as a religion on at least two occasions: Abington v. Schempp and Torcaso v. Watkins.

In Torcaso the court spelled out that “religion” in the constitutional sense includes non-theistic, as well as theistic religion and the state is therefore forbidden to prohibit or promote either form of religion.(7)

The concern I have is not whether “humanism” is recognized as a religion by the humanists themselves or not. It is that those who shape the young minds of America are humanists and in most cases they are not willing to be honest about it.

The Great Brain Robbery

Humanism is the dominant view among leading educators in the U.S. They set the trends of modern education, develop the curriculum, dispense federal monies, and advise government officials on educational needs. In short, they hold the future in their hands. As Christian taxpayers we are paying for the overthrow of our own position.”

To read more click here.