Sharing and defending your faith. Proclaiming the gospel, the good news of Christ.
Sharing and defending your faith. Proclaiming the gospel, the good news of Christ.
Zondervan recently invited two atheist bloggers to read Chuck Colson’s latest book The Faith and enter into a dialogue with Chuck about his book.
Below is part 3 of Chuck Colson’s reply:
I’m writing because, in church this morning (August 15), I started thinking about your comment about my being so certain in my convictions that I came across as somewhat arrogant. I think you’re probably right. And the reason, I realized as I was thinking about it, is that I have spent much time over the years pondering this question rationally. If you would have read my book Born Again you would know that my resistance to the gospel was exactly what yours is. I didn’t want to do something out of emotion; I wanted to be able to reason it through. I wanted evidence. That’s why reading C. S. Lewis’s book Mere Christianity was such a help to me. I encountered in that book an intellect the match of anyone I’d known, and I found really solid reasons for believing.
Since that time, 35 years ago, I have read a great deal, listened to arguments both ways, and have tried to use my own mind to understand as much as I believe a mind is able to understand. I love to think. When I was a student, my IQ had never been tested, although I got very good grades whenever I worked hard. When I went into the Marine Corps it was tested and off the charts. I suddenly realized I did have a good ability to think. And ever since then I have really enjoyed the life of the mind. But I do apologize if I’ve come across as arrogant. I have nothing to be arrogant about; whatever good I have done is a gift from God.
Let me just walk you through the reasoning that I engage in periodically, just because it helps me, is comforting to my faith, and might help you. Start out with a premise, as I do in The Faith, that there are really only two choices in life, either God is, or He is not. (There’s actually a third in eastern religion, and that is that He’s an illusion.) For the Christian, Jew, Muslim, or theist, God spoke the universe into being. He is the ultimate source of reality. (Physicists are always trying to find the ultimate nature of reality in energy or matter, which we now know not to be matter as we’ve thought of it). The Christian believes there was a “big bang” (and now science with the Hubble Telescope gave us great reason to support this belief); and that this universe as we see it is an expanding gaseous mass. The explosion of the big bang was produced by an unfathomable amount of energy, which we believe is from God, the source of all energy, the ultimate reality.
The naturalist, that is, the one who accepts the presupposition God is not, argues either that the universe is all there is or ever was or will be (Carl Sagan), though this would seem to run counter to the big bang theory; or the naturalist can argue that life was spontaneously generated on Earth. Darwin’s theory extrapolated back to the beginning, suggesting that life was spontaneously produced out of some sort of primordial soup, with light rays refracting at a certain angle. But all efforts to replicate this have failed. This is why we have people like Stephen Hawking, and now even Dawkins, believing that life must have originated on another planet and gotten here somehow by traveling as space dust; Dawkins went so far at a meeting in Minneapolis recently, to acknowledge perhaps that there was some “God-force” which created this life once it hit our planet.
The important thing to note here is that both the theist and the naturalist proceed on faith assumptions. There is no solid science (though the Big Bang comes the closest) that really establishes what is the first cause, the ultimate source of matter or energy in the universe, and the way life began. So I believe, as I say in The Faith, that everybody has to make a faith assumption. That’s our basic presupposition. You’ve made one; I’ve made one.
The next question is, which is more rational? Whenever I look at the nature of human beings, I simply cannot accept a naturalist explanation. Where does the mind come from, where do our emotions come from? How does one explain the extraordinary complexity for example of the human eye (which Darwin said gave him doubts about his own theory). If it’s all been a random process over millions of years, how did we arrive at this remarkably perfected state, bodies filled with billions of cells which are programmed by their DNA? Bill Gates says the DNA is more complex than any software he’s ever developed. How does a random process produce the mathematical formulas that so many scientists have discovered explaining the universe, and now we’re beginning to discover the composition of humans as well? But no matter how far we go in being able to empirically validate the answers to these kinds of questions, we don’t even come close to understanding the mind, emotions, feelings, conscience, awareness of life and mortality.
I find the argument that altruism would not exist in a selection process that was driven by the survival of the fittest to be very compelling. I’ve read most of the Darwinian attempts to explain it, like Michael Shermer at Reason magazine; they simply fail. It’s not plausible in natural selection.
But third, let’s look at how these initial presuppositions work out in practice. I’ve spent the last 33 years working in prisons all around the world. I would have absolutely no motivation to do this if I didn’t believe that every single one of those prisoners is created in the image of God, and therefore has an inherent human dignity which must be respected. I would ignore the prisoners; they would be of no real value to our society. By any utilitarian calculus they’re the bottom of the pile, and thoroughly expendable. I haven’t been able to find a good argument by a naturalist that gives us a binding source of authority for human dignity in life.
Look also at the way these two presuppositions play out in our existence day by day. Every day I awaken, filled with the love of God. That doesn’t mean I bounce out of bed and everything’s wonderful in life. I deal with all the problems everybody else deals with; the Bible tells us it rains on the just and the unjust alike. But I have a sense that I can trust God, that He directs me, that I have a purpose. Actually I believe every day I’ve got something that can be accomplished, which is to advance God’s kingdom. I can’t imagine waking up in the morning and thinking about nothing, or that I’m the product of a chance process and it just happened to produce me. Jonathan Edwards, the great colonial theologian, once argued that nothingness is what sleeping rocks dream about. I think it’s impossible for human beings to contemplate nothingness, or to believe that some void provides the basis for their existence. If I really believed this, then the only way I could be happy is to live a totally hedonistic life, thoroughly self-centered.
I am sure that you are a good person, that you help others, that you have a real concern for human beings, and probably a strong social conscience. You couldn’t live in Austin if you didn’t! My only question to you is, why do you?
Further look at the creative capacities that are unleashed by people who believe in a transcendent source of authority and a Creator who endows us with creative gifts. I mentioned before Rodney Stark’s wonderful book The Victory of Reason. He makes a very valid argument for human creativity being the basis of human progress, as humans apply reason, God’s gift, to deal with questions of life and producing cultures which provide for human flourishing.
Why is it that we are made to want to connect to other people, as a recent study at Dartmouth showed, as humans have known from the beginning of history? Why is it that when Charlie Chaplin was told that there was no life found anywhere in the universe he said, “I feel so lonely.” We cannot live in a meaningless world where we are not joined to others with some idea of what we should be doing and why we should be doing it. I don’t think we can live in a world that has no basis for love other than erotic pleasures. Humans know there must be a purpose.
This subject, the question of ultimate meaning, purpose, and reality, absolutely fascinates me. I realize that you can take any of my books and pick them apart if you are looking for holes in the reasoning. I know you can also find all the examples you want in history where Christians have done evil things instead of the good things that they’re taught they should do. But despite all of the weaknesses of those who profess to follow God—and they are legion—the fundamental case for the existence of God as ultimate reality is, in my mind, more rational and livable than the alternative.
I mean no offense by this, but I sense in reading your posting that you really have more confidence in science than in the possibility of God, in other words, until something is scientifically validated you have no reason to really trust it. But this is making science God; this is Scientism, which is a very distinct worldview. The one thing of course it can never do is tell you what you ought to do. It may be able to examine and empirically validate what you are, but not what you ought to be, which his why I’ve argued that the only logical, ethical prescription in a naturalistic world is utilitarianism.
Let me just deal with one more question. I frequently hear this from naturalists, ‘if God is really God, why hasn’t He explained Himself?’ As I mentioned before, He has no obligation to do so. But I take that a step further, and say if He is God, a personal source of creative power that brought everything we know into existence, it would be contrary to His very nature to give us that kind of intimate knowledge. This is what the Jew and Christian believes was the original temptation in the Garden of Eden; the individual wants to be like God, in other words we want to be able to know Him completely. But if we did, He wouldn’t be God. Let me mention once more, because it’s so thought-provoking to me, St. Anselm’s famous ontological argument. God is that which is greater than that which we can know. It’s almost by very definition what we mean when we say God. And if we could know Him, we wouldn’t love Him. Faith is required for a relationship between the Creator and His creatures.
These may seem like rambling thoughts to you, but I’ve spent much time throughout my life working them through in my mind, I hope honestly. The one thing I’ve discovered over the years which has been very humbling is that while I thought I had all the answers, I really had very few. I keep learning day by day.
Please forgive me if I sound triumphalistic; I will acknowledge I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t imagine not believing. The fact of the matter is, however, that I’ve been evangelizing prisoners for so long that I don’t think I’ve ever lost my awe of how God works, or my real hunger to see other people come to know Him.
God bless you.
To learn more about The Faith by Chuck Colson and Harold Fickett, visit www.Zondervan.com/TheFaith. To read the first atheist blogger post by Chuck Colson, click here. To read the second atheist blogger post by Chuck Colson, click here.
Zondervan recently invited two atheist bloggers to read Chuck Colson's latest book The Faith and enter into a dialogue with Chuck about his book.
Below is part 2 of Chuck Colson's reply:
I hope you will forgive me for being so delayed in replying to your full letter. I wanted to get an answer off to you right away about the study done by the University of Pennsylvania, and the disputed methodology. If it didn’t satisfy you, I hope my explanation at least made some sense to you. The results, in any event, were produced by agreed-upon guidelines between the state, Prison Fellowship, and the researchers. As I mentioned in my previous reply, however, we have continued to get that kind of recidivism statistic in the eight units that we operate in America today.
Let me take the second question you raised, and that is slavery. I have made the argument in the book that the Christian church has opposed slavery from the beginning. In no way did I mean to imply that there haven’t been Christians who have been disobedient to the Scripture and the teachings of the church. There have been all through history. There are millions today who claim to be followers of Christ but who do not follow Christ’s commands. All of us, even the strongest believers, are under the effects of the Fall.
I also cannot justify the words of the Old Testament. It was a recognition by God to His covenant people of a practice that was wide-spread at that time in every culture, that His people would encounter. But it is in no way carried forward into the New Testament. My argument, remember, turns on the teachings of the Christian church and the New Testament.
To the contrary, as I pointed out in the book, portions of the New Testament condemn slave-trading, and the position of the church has been very consistent through the years. Most of the great human rights campaigns have been led by Christians, or perhaps more precisely, many Christians have been involved in them. It is because we believe strongly that every human being is created in the image of God, and thus at every stage of life, regardless of race, color or creed, every human being is entitled to full God-given dignity.
There are 1.9 billion Christians in the world today. You cannot judge Jesus Christ by the behavior of any one of them or any group of them, for that matter. You have to take Christ’s teachings as we have them, as they have been interpreted and understood through the years, and look at the overwhelming evidence of those who have obeyed as opposed to the evidence of those who did not. It’s worth noting that Thomas Aquinas labeled slavery a sin, and no fewer than four popes condemned the Atlantic slave trade as so in the first century.
I understand fully your reaction to the kind of absolutism that can be attributed to a fundamentalist Muslim, or for that matter to a strain of Christian thought, minority though it is, that is equally unyielding. There is a fundamental difference between Islam and Christianity, one best articulated by St. Augustine and his writings on the free will that God gives us. As Rodney Stark writes in his book The Victory of Reason, it was Augustine’s influence that gave Christians the liberty to use reason when interpreting their faith. (We even find evidences of this argument in second century apologists.) You might want to read the book, because Stark makes a very compelling case in my mind that Christianity’s embrace of reason was why it was able to influence western civilization in such a positive way. Muslims, on the other hand, have no such liberty. The word of the Qur’an must be taken literally—tragically, since there are parts of it that proscribe violence or there are those zealots who read it in such a way—which attempts to justify taking innocent life in pursuit of Islam. There are other profound differences, which I’m sure you realize, between a religion which at least in modern times practices separation of church and state in a pluralistic society and one which is theocratic.
But again, do all Christians live this way? No. Of course there are hypocrites within the Church, but the point is we call them hypocrites because they are not acting consistently with the teachings of Christ. When we fail to abide by these teachings, when we fail to be peacemakers, when we fail to seek reconciliation, we need to repent before God. I remarked in the book that Pope John Paul II had made this a specific mandate of the church, that we apologize for the sins of the past, repent, and mend our ways. I think the capacity to do that is a great credit to the church and to the faith we follow.
You write that one of the main things motivating your atheism is the fact that you cannot see any compelling reason to believe in God, and you cannot regard faith as reliably as you can empirical evidence in discerning truth. I suspect you’ve come under the influence of the fact-value distinction, which modernity introduced, largely influenced by the teachings of Immanuel Kant. I would strongly recommend that you read Pope Benedict’s lecture at Regensburg, which received so much publicity because he quoted an ancient cleric who condemned Islam for its violence. The press, of course, made much of that, but totally overlooked the lecture that Benedict gave to the West. In a relatively short speech, he summarized the great shift that has taken place in western thinking as a result of the Enlightenment and now postmodernism. Benedict’s case is the same one I would make, and that is that reason always has to rest on faith. That’s what gives it the objective standards to appeal to. What happened in the Enlightenment and what we call modernity was the abandonment of the faith presuppositions, leaving reason naked, cold, and ultimately without a foundation. It was this rejection of sterile reason that has led us to the postmodern era, which rejects both faith and reason.
But the fact-value distinction is false. All thought begins with faith. All intellectual inquiry begins with certain presuppositions. These by necessity are made without evidence and have to be taken on faith. The idea that evidence is superior to faith as a root to knowledge is one of those presuppositions: it is unproven and non-provable. So it must be taken as a priori; that is, prior to experience, or in other words, on faith.
I tried to make this point in chapter 2 of my book. When you attempt to answer the question ‘Where have we come from?’ you make either a theist or a naturalistic faith assumption. No one was present at the time of the creation with a video camera, so we must make certain presuppositions, the validity of which can then be subjected to the evidence. For example, it is a fair question to ask whether there are signs of intelligence in the universe, as Einstein believed, or whether it is completely a void, simply the product of chance mutations over billions of years. Darwin’s theory—and it is that—was that the variation within species which he observed could lead to the emergence of new species, and that extrapolated back, could account for the origin of life. And he made predictions based on this, such as that it would be possible to breed new species; and that innumerable transitionary fossils showing gradual change would be discovered; none of which has come to pass. Yet on the basis of naturalistic presuppositions—a faith position—he had to make this argument, and scientists who share that faith position must also support it.
Secondly, as you search for the evidence that either supports or challenges your presupposition, why would you be limited to only physical evidence, the kind that can be measured scientifically? Can you not come to logical conclusions based on patterns of human behavior? Is not the capacity for love, though you cannot see it, something which can be objectively (though not scientifically) measured?
I have argued in other writings that there is a basis to empirically validate differing worldviews. (You might want to look at my book, written with Nancy Pearcey, titled How Now Shall We Live? written in 1999, Tyndale Publishing). In it is suggested a four-part grid by which all worldviews can be tested. The grid consists of how one answers the questions: where we came from, (the Christian, of course, believes in creation); why is there sin and suffering in our midst? (the Christian’s answer is because of the Fall); is there any way out, any redemption? (for the Christian, of course, that is the shed blood of Christ on the cross as He took the punishment for our sins); and what is my purpose for living?
I just spent this past weekend with a chart, looking at how Islam answers those questions, how secular naturalism answers them, how eastern religions answer them, and how Christianity answers them. Christian apologists, I think with considerable justification, can make the argument that the Christian worldview produces the most rational answers and provides for the most rational way to live life. (I use the term rational here the same way I used it in debating Dawkins’ point, again in chapter 2) The apologists go on to say that all other worldviews can be shown to be irrational.
The grid operates like a roadmap. If you go to mapquest.com and ask for a road map for a trip from Austin to Dallas, and you follow it, and it takes you to El Paso, you would know that was not a true map. Similarly, if you decide to live your life according to a worldview which does not result in you finding meaning, hope, and purpose, then would it not be fair to conclude that it’s an erroneous map or track for human behavior? Could you not say that it does not adequately answer those four questions? If you follow the correspondence theory of truth, which I’m sure you do, you would look at those four views, or any others you choose, and come to certain judgments as to which ones work best. I’m not suggesting pragmatism; I’m suggesting that we should see which comes closest to the way things really are.
I see this as entirely consistent with the scientific method. It is looking at different hypotheses, eliminating those that are not correct, leaving you with one that is. I have spent a lot of time studying this, and the consequences of various other worldviews such as Marxism, Freudianism, and similar ideologies. This probably is why I feel so strongly and perhaps have come off as sounding arrogant in the book. I apologize for that.
I also apologize for the fact that you believe I have lumped unbelievers in with postmodernists and radical Islam. I certainly didn’t intend to do that. Postmodernism and radical Islam have common intellectual roots, as I argued in chapter 15, and I think that both those worldviews are in stark contrast to the principles of the Judeo-Christian civilization. But again, that shouldn’t make us enemies, as you put it in your letter.
If you read my entire book, you will realize that I argued hard for Christians to reconcile their differences with one another and with others. I couldn’t agree with you more that war is only an option when all else fails—that is, when it is waged in the just war tradition, which means that it must be undertaken only as a last resort, and that innocent life must be protected. That is quite different from crashing airliners into buildings.
There is one final point I’d like to respond to. You’re making the assumption that for God to be God, or for you to believe in Him, He must reveal Himself by giving us evidence which by reason would establish His existence. But why should the God who created everything that is explain Himself? What would compel such a God to do that? A God great enough to create the heavens and earth, and all of life in it, is a God who has no obligation to explain why He created us. In fact, He has a good reason not to. I believe it was Aquinas who argued that if God could be known to us by reason, we would take Him for granted; He would be no different than the tree that one could see from one’s office.
The more important question is why would God create us? Christians believe He created us so that He would have people in a love relationship with Him. But if we could prove the existence of God, we wouldn’t have to have faith; and without faith we couldn’t love God. This is an argument that C. S. Lewis made very powerfully. So the very thing you want, that is, evidence that proves the existence of God, is the very thing that if you had it, would prevent your worship of the God who created you. I wrote about this in a book called The Good Life, which you also might enjoy reading.
Believe me, I really do enjoy an honest dialogue. I think all humans are in search of the truth, and the only way that we’re ever going to find it is by engaging in these kinds of conversations. They’re very helpful, and I do hope you’ll forgive me if I have not seemed in my writing to welcome them. I not only welcome them, I agree with Aquinas that civilization advances by conversation.
Thank you for taking the time to read my book, and for writing.
Learn more about The Faith by Chuck Colson and Howard Fickett.
Zondervan recently invited two atheist bloggers to read Chuck Colson's latest book The Faith and enter into a dialogue with Chuck about his book. Below is a link to one of the questions from an atheist blogger and Chuck's response. Stop by this Zondervan blog next week for Chuck's dialogue with another atheist blogger about The Faith.
Thank you for your recent letter commenting on my book The Faith. I can tell from your message that you have read the book carefully, and I appreciate that, since you come from the perspective of what you call an agnostic atheist. But it’s quite clear that you are also in an honest pursuit of the truth, wherever that pursuit leads you.
I’m glad that we start out with some common ground in our critique of postmodernism. You have obviously thought through where the rejection of objective truth in any form leads. People like Stanley Fish try to rationalize it, but they’re never able to avoid thoroughly untenable consequences. In writing of the attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11, Fish said we’re not to judge the motives of those flying the planes. In other words, there is nothing that can be called evil, because there’s nothing that can be called good. If that’s true, we have no way of dealing with death and destruction of the innocents. I think he exposed the flaw in postmodern thinking better than anyone else.
Let me deal with the first question you raised about whether or not we were able to “prove” an 8 percent re-incarceration rate vs. 20 percent in a comparable control group in the IFI prison in Texas. The grounds for the compilation of empirical data, established by Prison Fellowship in cooperation with the Texas Department of Corrections was that we would measure graduates, that is, those people who completed our program, as opposed to simply people who signed up for it. The reason we did that was obvious: we could not select the people coming in—we had no control over that. The state made that choice, as it did with the people in their control group. If both sides had made their own choices, then you would consider including drop-outs. But we knew the state couldn’t choose the kind of people we knew were motivated to do this.
The researchers from the University of Pennsylvania believed that this was sound methodology. We were very clear about this from the beginning, because we use a process of self-selection. In other words, the initial curriculum was geared to a pretty intense biblical grounding, so only people who really wanted this would take part in it. Anyone who has worked in this area, like Alcoholics Anonymous, will tell you that it’s the motivation of the participant that is crucial. If the person doesn’t want to change, you can’t change him. As Christians, we believe everyone has a free will to choose or not choose to follow Christ. So we’re obviously looking for people in our programs who are at least open to that.
Consider a possible analogy here. Let’s say a drug company wants to do a test on a dramatic new cancer cure. The pill must be taken for one month to be effective. A double-blind test is conducted, and the people who took a placebo would perhaps get 90 percent cancer. The people who took the 30-day medicine would get 50 percent. That’s a dramatic result. But would you get the same result if some didn’t take the full dose for the full month? I think not; nor would you detract from findings by including all those who after a week didn’t like the flavor or the after-effect and stopped taking it.
The acid test here, however, is what has happened since that data was compiled and released in 2003. We have continued to monitor these programs across the country, and they have continued to produce between 8 and 10 percent recidivism.
As for the case in Iowa, we did indeed lose it at the trial level. But the case was appealed to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which held in our favor on all of the substantive questions except accepting state funds. We had only accepted states funds because the state asked us to in order to conduct some secular programs which we could do more cheaply than others. Once the lawsuit was brought, we stopped taking the funds and didn’t care about them; nor do we take them any longer in any other states. So on that issue, Barry Lynn succeeded. But on the more important question of whether the program is effective and whether it is constitutional without federal funds, the Eighth Circuit, in an opinion joined in by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Conner, did not declare anything we’re doing to be unconstitutional. I consider that a very significant victory. The state of Iowa, which had been drawn into the litigation, decided to terminate the program. In view of the fact that the district judge still kept jurisdiction, we were delighted to comply. But we are doing extremely well in every state where we’re operating.
As for the question you raised about whether someone could be paroled, not get a job, and therefore not be counted in our statistics, that’s the first time I’ve ever heard that. I’ll ask one of our staff to look at that, but I can’t believe that’s the case. I don’t think the University of Pennsylvania would have accepted that. The researchers who did this study were enthusiastic about the results.
I’m sorry if you felt that I conveyed more certainty than is warranted in my writing, or that my own interpretation is always correct. I hope I’ve not given that impression to anyone. I believe, as the scientific method describes it, that there is an objective truth that may be discovered through investigation, but that our human perception of that truth is always limited. I would certainly believe that theologically in view of my conviction about the Fall.
The position I have always taken is that I am constantly learning. And a lot of times I’ve reversed my position when I’ve discovered I was wrong. So if I’ve suggested a certain arrogance to you, I apologize. It was unintended.
You raised a number of very thoughtful questions about epistemology—how we can really know something. I'm under some serious scheduling restraints at the moment, so I would like to take a little longer before answering that part of your question. But I will get back to you as soon as I can.
Stop by the Zondervan blog next week for Chuck's dialogue with another atheist blogger about The Faith. Learn more about The Faith.
Zondervan is pleased to present the following exclusive 7-minute video interview with Kevin Harney, author of Leadership from the Inside Out: Examining the Inner Life of a Healthy Church Leader:
Un.orthodox: church. hip-hop. culture. by Tommy Kyllonen is a Finalist in the 2008 Outreach Awards. Un.orthodox is written by a man who is both a hip-hop artist and lead pastor of the first church ever to target hip-hop culture. Un.orthodox shares unique, inside perspectives on how to reach today’s urban culture with the message of Jesus. Fascinating, troubling, inspiring, and moving, this is a powerful resource for engaging today’s unchurched, thirty-five-and-under generation. Click here to read a sample chapter:
Tommy Kyllonen (aka Urban D.) founded the youth ministry at Crossover Community Church in 1996 with just four teens. Over the next six years he and his wife developed a first of its kind Hip-Hop Youth Ministry which grew to 200. The adult ministry on Sunday remained much smaller as the different pastors were always bivocational. In January of 2002 Tommy became the lead pastor at Crossover and a new vision was birthed to specifically reach the hip-hop culture. The church became Purpose Driven in their structure and began to truly engage the culture in their community. Without compromise they carefully incorporated many elements into their worship context and campus with music, dance, visual arts, media, and relevant messages. The ministry has seen incredible growth as their weekend attendance has jumped from 40 to over 400 in less than four years. Their youth services reach hundreds more.
Below is a video overview of Un.orthodox by Tommy Kyllonen:
Nine titles from Zondervan are finalists for the 2008 Outreach Resource of the Year Awards, a reader-chosen survey of the best products that change the way churches and individuals build relationships with the unchurched.
Zondervan titles are up for more Outreach Awards than resources from any other Christian publisher. The Zondervan finalists and their categories include:
• Inspired By… The Bible Experience complete dramatized audio Bible (Personal Evangelism)
• Peppermint Filled Pinatas by Eric Michael Bryant (Personal Evangelism)
• Holy Discontent by Bill Hybels (Justice Evangelism)
• Be the Change by Zach Hunter (Youth)
• Getting Students to Show Up by Jonathan McKee (Youth)
• Glocalization by Bob Roberts (Global Outreach)
• Un.Orthodox by Tommy Kyllonen (Target Outreach)
• They Like Jesus But Not the Church by Dan Kimball (Leadership Training)
• NOOMA – You #15 with Rob Bell (DVD/Movie)
"The Outreach awards are designed to recognize innovation and passion, something we strive to achieve in every title we publish," says Scott Bolinder, executive vice president and publisher, Zondervan. "We’re honored that nine of our resources are finalists and we’re thankful to have such talented and inspiring partners and authors."
The Outreach Resource of the Year Awards is currently in its fifth year. They are awarded to books, CD/DVDs, and curriculum that represent courage, innovation, and passion in the areas of evangelism, justice, and church growth. The awards will be announced in the May/June edition of Outreach magazine.
Internet Evangelism Day helps Christians learn to use the Web to reach the world. Internet Evangelism Day also encourages churches to hold a web awareness focus day on or near 27 April 2008, to explore this huge potential. Their site offers free downloads (PowerPoint, video clips, drama scripts and handouts) so that churches can create a custom program of any length from two minutes to an hour. "I am glad to commend Internet Evangelism Day," says Dr. John Stott.
Please visit this link for further details on Internet Evangelism Day:
A Friendly Dialogue between an Atheist and a Christian by Zhao Qizheng and Luis Palau Coming March 2008 Published by Zondervan
Riverside Talks is an exchange between an atheist and a Christian. Luis Palau and Zhao Qizheng present a composite of recorded dialogues held in China in 2005 between them. Luis Palau is a well known Christian evangelist and Zhao Qizheng is the Vice Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee and former Minister of Information for China. Riverside Talks represents a dialogue on philosophy, history, religion, the Bible, creation, atheism, Confucianism, politics, ethics, Chinese and Western cultures, and the relevance of Jesus Christ to society.
"Even though hip-hop has its roots in the rough inner-city, it has become the identity of many suburbanites of emerging generations. The urban mindset has spread well beyond the city limits. In fact, hip-hop achieved its dominance because of the economic force of suburban dollars. According to Forbes, “Hip-hop is no longer the music or culture of a particular ethnic group. Hip-hop has grown well beyond the urban market since the genre’s first hit, ‘Rapper’s Delight,’ was released in 1979…Its customer base is the 45 million hip-hop consumer between the ages of 13-34, 80 percent of whom are white.”
Theses facts show that the culture in which we live has changed. Things were much different ten or fifteen years ago. Unfortunately, the church, by and large, hasn’t acknowledged this shift. Youth ministry hasn’t grasped it. Many large ministry organizations haven’t come to grips with it either. Publishers and ministry-resource companies busily produce material from a pre-urban mindset – material that doesn’t engage its audience like it could or should. The church, for the most part, still believes that anything urban-oriented is only for the inner-city or ethnic crowd. This couldn’t be farther from the truth." from Un.orthodox by Tommy Kyllonen (pg. 9-10)
Click on the link above to hear an interview with Tommy. Click here for more information about Un.orthodox.