Christian Courage and the Struggle for Civilization - page 1




Christian Courage and
the Struggle for Civilization

by Os Guinness,
Senior Fellow at the Oxford Centre
for Christian Apologetics in Oxford

BROADCAST TALKS presents ideas to cultivate Christ-like thinking and living. Each issue features a transcription of a talk presented at an event of The C. S. Lewis Institute. The following is adapted from a talk delivered on November 11, 2016, at McLean Presbyterian Church, McLean, Va., sponsored by the C.S. Lewis Institute.

he great Saint Augustine had the privilege and responsibility of living as Rome fell after eight hundred years, and he articulated the vision of faithfulness that led the church through the turbulence of the Dark Ages. I believe we’re living in a similar time after not eight but five hundred years of Western dominance. So we’re seeing the decline of the West; we’re seeing the gravest crisis to the American republic since the Civil War; we’re seeing a faltering search for a new world order; we’re seeing a global crunch of a constellation of problems; and we’re also seeing, as we look toward the future, unprecedented challenges to humanity itself. But I want to look at what’s really at the heart of the crisis for us as followers of Jesus, because, as you look at the global world, the Christian faith is the first truly global religion, by far the most numerous. The church is exploding in the global South but not doing well anywhere in the advanced modern world of the West. The heart of the scandal for the American church is that, while in Europe Christians are mostly a minority in one country after another, in this country Christians are a huge majority; yet despite the numbers, they have less cultural influence than tiny groups that comprise less than 2 percent of America. There is something wrong with the salt and the light.

As we have time, let me address a whole series of things for you to think through later, some of them here rather quickly, some of them in greater depth.

Hostile Ideas That Openly Oppose Us

Let me come closer to things of faith. We need to be clear about the hostile sets of ideas that are openly opposed to Christianity. I will just mention three.

The first one, which you probably all know well and I’m sure the C.S. Lewis Institute has taught well, is postmodernism. Put simply, postmodernism says that God is dead, truth is no longer objective or absolute but only relative, and what really matters is the will to power. You all know that one. But let me go on to mention two that are far less discussed in Christian circles, but to me are far more deadly. Both of them are an outgrowth or at least an ally of postmodernism.


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