Thursday, April 10, 2008

"Would you give your life...?"

The first half of The Faith emphasizes what Christians believe about God, namely the reasons for his existence, his self-revelation to human beings, his triune nature, and the actions he has taken to defeat evil. The second half focuses on how our beliefs about God influence our beliefs about everything else, with Colson and Fickett articulating the Christian understanding of saving faith, reconciliation and forgiveness, the mission and nature of the church, sanctity of life, and so on. The result is a winning combination of Christian apologetics and Christian doctrine — a manifesto for looking at the world in a distinctly Christian way.

The authors not only see assaults on Christianity as external; they also warn against movements from within the church that they believe could undermine Christianity. Although they admit that much of the Emergent movement's protest of contemporary evangelicalism is on target, the authors critique what they see as the movement's prescription: a rejection of absolute truth. This, they say, will inevitably lead to idolatry. In attempting to maintain the propositional nature of Christianity's truth claims, however, Colson and Fickett define the Bible as "revealed propositional truth," which seems to relegate all truth to propositions and leaves little room for the narrative nature of Scripture.

It's ironic that Colson and Fickett argue for truth as propositional above all else, because what sets this book apart from other doctrinal primers, like C. S. Lewis's Mere Christianity or N.T. Wright's Simply Christian, is its emphasis on stories. .... [....]

While it's never stated explicitly in the book, it seems that Colson and Fickett have moved from political and social commentary to catechesis because they realize that only a robust belief in Christian doctrine will provide the foundation for political and social engagement. "Would you give your life for a cause you didn't fully understand?" they ask in the preface. "Would you try to convince someone else to join you? No, neither would I. Which is why I decided to write this book."

And the book indeed works as both catechesis and as apologetic, a strong defense for traditional faith without sounding overly defensive. The Faith is more a celebration of orthodoxy than a circling of the theological wagons. Its primary message is that Christianity is true, Christianity is good, and Christianity is beneficial for the world. Its primary method is to do so by explaining what Christianity is. .... [more]
Colson the Catechist | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

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