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Culture Shift: Engaging Current Issues with Timeless Truth (Today's Critical Concerns) Hardcover – January 15, 2008
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“From grade inflation to global calamities, Albert Mohler is a steady guide. From the psychological coddling of the American ego to the hollowing of the American conscience, Mohler is unremittingly clear-headed. From Nineveh to New Orleans, Mohler holds the mirror at a blazing fortyfive-degree angle between heaven and earth. The burning light of divine wisdom illumines a hundred shadows of our
human folly. And at the center of the blaze is the mighty cross of Jesus Christ defining the final meaning of everything. I thank God for Albert Mohler.”
—JOHN PIPER, pastor for preaching and vision,Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, MN
“Al Mohler is a unique gift to the church. His writing combines penetrating theological discernment and insightful cultural analysis with a passion to faithfully proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. I’m delighted that Al’s wisdom is now available in this book. May it be the first of many.”
—C. J. MAHANEY, Sovereign Grace Ministries
“We all know, as Dorothy said to Toto, that ‘we are not in Kansas anymore.’ But how to apply the deep truths of our Christian faith to a culture that seems to be transmogrifying before our very eyes, well, that’s perhaps the most difficult question facing the church today. In this well-written book, Al Mohler surveys the landscape and offers insight and wisdom that helps us do just this. A manifesto for responsible
—TIMOTHY GEORGE, founding dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University and senior editor of Christianity Today
“Thoughtful Christians seeking to engage the culture from a well-informed and thoroughly bibilical perspective will find an impressive resource in this new work by R. Albert Mohler. Culture Shift is an outstanding contribution, which I heartily recommend.”
—DAVID S. DOCKERY, president, Union University
“Dr. Albert Mohler brings his intellectual brilliance, moral wisdom, and theological insight together in a book that belongs on the shelf of anyone who is interested in both understanding the shifting sands of morality in our culture and how to deal with it. If you are in that category this is a must read.”
—JAMES MERRITT, pastor of Cross Pointe Church, Duluth, GA, and host of Touching Lives media ministry
“Understanding our culture is a matter of Christian responsibility. Culture Shift helps us to do that and do it well.”
—DANIEL L. AKIN, president, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC
About the Author
Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest and most influential seminaries in the world. A popular columnist and commentator, he has contributed to many leading newspapers including The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. His daily syndicated radio program is broadcast on more than eighty stations nationwide. Time.com has called him the “reigning intellectual of the evangelical movement in the U.S.” Mohler lives with his wife and two children in Louisville, Kentucky.
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While Mohler delves into some other issues beside abortion and homosexuality, a huge chunk is dedicated to those two issues. Before I dive into what I disliked about the book, I should mention that I was rather impressed with Mohler's discussion on offensiveness found in the chapter "The Culture of Offendedness", his chapter on character and his chapter discussing the dangers of modern technology. The latter reminded me of Nicholas Carr's fascinating and well researched "The Shallows", which I highly recommend. Also, I could not agree more with Mohler's arguments in his last chapter "Redefining Retirement" where he states "There is room in the Christian life for leisure--but not for a life devoted to leisure. As long as we have the strength and ability to serve, we are workers needed in Christ's kingdom." (p. 185) In the rest of the book however, I see much of the same overly conservative religious right dogma promoting an agenda that has little to do with what it means to be a follower Jesus.
For example, the following two statements are worrisome, "Islam is the single most vital competitor to Western ideals of civilization on the world scene." (p. 154) and "Islam and the West offer two very different and fundamentally irreconcilable visions of society." (p. 155) Does this mean that we are to blindly accept that western ideology is actually what Christ intends for us? I was recently at an event where I saw a former US army soldier wearing a shirt that read, "God > U.S.". When Mohler completely leaves God out of the equation with "Islam is the single most vital competitor to Western ideals of civilization on the world scene", isn't he in fact saying "U.S. > God"? I believe that we Christians need to build bridges with Islam and the entire world. Mohler rather, chooses to reinforce a paradigm of Islam phobia that we desperately need to break out of!
Mohler discusses atheism alluding to the Four Horseman of atheism: Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris. Mohler tells us that both Dawkins and Harris believe religion to be dangerous to society. Mohler however, does not dissect this statement to determine whether it might actually be true. Being a Christian myself and thinking about the statement, "Religion is dangerous" I have to side with the atheists. Isn't it fair to say that the crusaders of the middle- ages who killed countless infidels did so in the name of religion? Isn't it fair to say that the people blowing up abortion clinics are doing so in the name of religion and those flying airplanes into tall buildings as well as those driving vans into buildings loaded with explosives are doing these things because of religion. Personally, I believe Dawkins and Harris have hit the nail on the head!
Of course, Jesus did not come to start a new religion. He came to provide a way for us to have a relationship with him--with God. Moreover, he came to model how we are supposed to live our lives, which includes "loving our enemies."
Also in this chapter on atheism Mohler "draw[s] a straight line from the emergence of evolutionary theory to the resurgence of atheism in our times." (p. 162) Personally, I find it laughable that Christians continue to be threatened by evolution. Francis Collins' "The Language of God" is a refreshing read for those that struggle with reconciling their Christian faith with evolution. Moreover, I honestly believe this is a fear driven issue that really deflects our attention away from the issues of the poor and oppressed in our society.
Most of Mohler's book views the world through the lens of fear: the fear of terrorism; the fear of evolution; the fear of atheism; the fear of homosexuality; the fear of science; the fear of technology. Fear creates a culture of judgment and insecurity rather than love. We have a God who has conquered fear! Hallelujah!! And because He has conquered fear we need not fear but rejoice in the freedom to love...love those that do not agree with us and even those that would do us harm.
I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review
The other area that I hope Mohler rethinks is his concept of an "exit strategy" from the public school system. He frames the issue in such a negative light, when the exact opposite can and should be the case. Working for a private Christian school, I understand the "need" to leave the public school system - but that's not the reason I'm here - I'm working as the Worldview Director at Prestonwood Christian Academy because of the incredible opportunity to train and equip the next generation of godly young men and women who want to make a difference for Christ in the culture. These students and families are not retreating or fleeing the culture like Lot running from Sodom, instead they are preparing to be salt and light in a dark and decaying world that desperately needs men like Daniel and women like Esther to stand boldly for the truth!
Mohler's book is a good read and he hits the nail on the head in his assessment of the culture and the various issues in which Christians must be engaged. Add Culture Shift to your list of books on examining the culture - there are other great books on the subject as well - Serious Times by James Emery White, WorldProofing Your Kids by Leal Arrington, Do Fish Know They're Wet by Tom Neven, and Christian Ethics in Plain Language by Kerby Anderson to name a few.