The Faith by Charles Colson — Questions For The Book Blog Tour
Chuck Colson Zondervan, the publisher of Chuck Colson’s latest book, The Faith, Given Once, For All has invited Reasoned Audacity to offer questions. Later this week, on Thursday, March 6th, Colson will be considering what Charmaine and Your Business Blogger have submitted. Please email us your thoughts — Colson will also review blog comments.
UPDATE: Here are questions and Colson’s responses — please email us with your impressions.
A few years you said that America is no longer a “Christian Nation.” Can you expand on this statement?
America is not a Christian nation in the sense that it is dominated by Christian values. It has become largely post-Christian. We still have a strong Christian heritage; in effect we live off of that in many respects, because it provides the moral undergirding that allows our free society to continue. In God & Government you’ll find I deal with this in some depth, as I do also in How Now Shall We Live? I didn’t in The Faith, simply because The Faith is really about the fundamental doctrines all true Christians share, not about whether America is succumbing to secularism.
Also, in The Faith, you identify secular atheism and militant Islamism as the two main threats to Christianity today. If you had to pick between them, which do you think presents the greater threat and why?
As to the two threats to Christianity today, the greatest and most immediate is militant Islam. Islamo-fascists want to destroy us, and have access to weapons of mass destruction. So fortifying us against the assault of extreme Islamists is critical. But it’s a hard choice, because secularism is rotting us out from within. I guess it’s simply a question of which is the more urgent.
A number of years ago Colson remarked that, “America is no longer a Christian nation.” I’ve asked Colson to expand on his observation.
Colson’s tag line is What Christians Believe, Why They Believe It, and Why It Matters. Colson reminds the Alert Reader that Christianity is a world-view that seeks out truth — and believes that truth is knowable. Colson gently takes on Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett and Christopher Hitchens and Chris Hedges and Barry Lynn. Colson uses winsome argument. With a subtlety that Your Business Blogger has yet to master…
Colson notes that a majority of Christians do not believe in absolute truth and 60% cannot name 5 of the 10 commandments.
Knowing Jesus is a start. But is this really enough? A baby Christian should grow in knowledge. Bill and HIllary Clinton and Barack Obama might very well be able to say “Jesus is Lord” and believe in their hearts that He was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. The book of Romans would say that this is enough. Is Obama saved? If he passes St. Paul’s litmus test, he would be. But Colson explains,
“Christians must see that the faith is more than a religion or even a relationship with Jesus; the faith is a complete view of the world and humankind’s place in it. Christianity is a world view that speaks to every area of life, and its foundational doctrines define its content. If we don’t know what we believe — even what Christianity is — how can we live it and defend it?”
Italics in original.
Get The Faith
by Chuck ColsonMy second question for Colson would be, “Can a person be a mature Christian and permit abortion; to be pro-choice?” Is the Christian who believes in abortion “rights” practicing “Faith without works…”?
“Be ye transformed by the removing of your minds…” goes the old Bible study joke. Colson writes that we indeed become new creatures, renewing the mind. Taking on new habits; discarding the bad. Colson is a living testimony to this transformation. But it’s not what many might think. My third question for Colson, “How on earth did you stop smoking cigarettes?”
Colson continues, “Christians do not impose; they propose a vision of a culture of life, to educate and persuade…” In academia and in business we call this continuous learning. Christians would call this growing in faith. To move from milk to meat. And Colson lives this out. At a mature age he changed his position on capital punishment after visiting mass-murderer John Wayne Gacy in prison. Colson also did a thorough study of C.S. Lewis’s essay “The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment.” Colson’s book is worth reading if only to learn of a man’s journey to a compassionate defense of capital punishment. (Pages 189-190.) Any reader over 50 — or teenager, to state the obvious — will marvel at a man over 50, who can change his mind…
Colson closes his book on the spread of the good news in China. Rick Warren, who also wrote a blurb for Colson, once said that Christianity is being run out of Europe and Islam is rushing in to fill the vacuum. The religion of Marxism has been ruled out of China and Christianity is blossoming forth. China may very well become a “Christian Nation” as South Korea has become.
Colson points out that the variable for America’s success is Christianity. He quotes an American journalist who reported on the Chinese study of American financial prowess. “We have realized,” said the Chinese researcher, ” that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. That is why the West has been so powerful. The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to democratic politics.”
Aslan’s On The Move. In China, anyway.
Thank you (foot)notes:
In Colson’s footnotes he credits reporter Aikman for his writing, Jesus in Beijing. In consulting in China, Your Business Blogger was amazed to learn that the Christian society-change agents were…the lawyers. Imagine, lawyers who go to church. This is why there is hope for China.
And less for American politics. Obama said that,
“I think that it is a legal right that [homosexuals] should have that is recognized by the state. If people find that controversial then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans.”
There is no mention of same-sex hook-ups in the Sermon on the Mount. The Book of Romans is hardly obscure. The passage Obama refers to is from the first chapter,
Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
Obama gets the Bible wrong. He’s got lots of Christian company. He should read Colson’s book.
Other blogs on the tour:
March 3 – One Year Bible Blog
March 4 – Acton Institute PowerBlog
March 5 – The Dawn Treader
March 6 – Reasoned Audacity
March 7 – Challies.com (thank you to Tim for this book blog tour model)
March 10 – Adrian Warnock
March 11 – Tall Skinny Kiwi
March 12 – Mark D. Roberts
March 13 – Rebecca Writes
March 14 – Jolly Blogger