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Needed Reading by Every Person,
This review is from: Culture Shift: Engaging Current Issues with Timeless Truth (Today's Critical Concerns) (Hardcover)
Rarely do I pick up a non-fiction book and cannot put it down. Yet, when I picked up Al Mohler's new book, Culture Shift, I could not put it down until I was done reading it. Granted, the book is really a brief introduction to Christianity's influence on practical cultural issues (only 160 pages) but it was not the low amount of pages that made it a must-read, it was rather the content that was life changing for me.
Mohler, one of the greatest minds in the Evangelical church today, is President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY. And while this may be his first book, it is hardly his first foray into writing. Amongst a plethora of articles and chapters for books, Mohler has an almost daily blog that deals with many cultural issues and how Christians are to respond. In fact, many of these chapters in his book, Culture Shift, were originally written for his blog. But, even if you have read these before, you must read them again.
We as Christians, Mohler notes, often take two approaches to our involvement with culture. Some take the extreme of non-involvment. For instance, hard lined Classical Dispensationalists may argue that we as Christians have no real responsibility to transform culture at all apart from the proclamation of the Gospel. Whereas, on the other side liberal theology becomes so involved with transforming culture that they neglect the actual mission of the church; evangelism.
So, the first thing that Mohler does in his book is articulate issues of culture, engagement, and the Christian's responsibility to culture. The first five chapters then seek to introduce these issues, and defend a Christian's engagement and involvement in culture and to denounce the concept of a purely secular culture. Mohler then begins to engage various issues with logical clarity, an unparalleled knowledge of society's best writers, and an unfailing adherence to the Scriptures.
Mohler discusses areas of offence, the role of the Supreme Court on religion, terrorism, public schools, the God gene, parenting, dishonesty, abortion, natural disasters and God's sovereighty, nuclear war, and racism. In each chapter Mohler surveys the writings of some of America's greatest writers, praising them where they are correct, criticizing them where they are wrong. He clearly interacts with the issues and then responds with Scripture where it applies. While these are not in-depth critiques of cultural issues, they are tantalizing surveys of the issues. I found myself many times thinking I needed to read the book Mohler was talking about in a particular chapter.
You may not agree with Mohler on every issue. For instance, on the use of torture especially in terrorism cases I am not sure I agree with a blanket ban on the use of torture as in the McCain amendment. But I am willing to be persuaded by further study. On the other hand, I think Mohler is right on with the issues of our coddling of our children, the maintaining of both God's sovereignty and His benevolence when we talk about national disasters, and the renewed effort we need to make in the pro-life movement.
Overall, I found Mohler's book challenging and enlightening. It really challenged my thinking as to my involvement in culture and my role as a member of the body of Christ in transforming culture for Christ. Every Christian should read Mohler's book. They should devour it in one sitting and then sit down and chew over every issue. This book will challenge you and spur you on to further study of the issues. Overall, it will challenge you to truly live as a light for Christ in a dark world. Mohler has hit a home run with this book and I hope he continues writing more on this subject as it is desperately needed in the church today. Cannot be more highly recommended.