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How Now Shall We Live? Hardcover – September 1, 1999

4.5 out of 5 stars 166 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

How Now Shall We Live was the heart cry of a people who lived during the Jewish exile from the Promised Land, yet it is no less the unspoken prayer of the faithful today. As author Chuck Colson puts it, "We live in a culture that is at best morally indifferent ... in which Judeo-Christian values are mocked ... in which violence, banality, meanness, and disintegrating personal behavior are destroying civility and endangering the very life of our communities." It is no small wonder that Colson--the founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries and author of several renowned Christian works--considers this book the most important work of his life.

America, Colson states, is now in a post-Judeo-Christian era. Technically, this is what "postmodernism" means. In a generation in which the most respected brands of thought about reality declare that "God is dead," it is clear that a faith-based worldview does not prevail. So how do we teach our children that belief in God is respectable and intelligent? How do we fulfill our mandate to make "disciples of all nations" when friends and coworkers find the Christian perspective foolhardy and--in terms of rational thought--almost insane? Most important, how do we renew our entire culture, especially as it infects the global community, with the "common grace" of reinstating a prevailing belief in God and in His moral order?

These questions' implications are far-reaching, and Colson's thorough inquiry is a ready match for the challenge. In effect, this book delivers a logical, more than just "because the Bible says so" framework for interpreting the Gospel to the postmodern world, while also illustrating the vision for a culture based entirely on Biblical principles--powerful tools, indeed.

Christians are taught to love God with all their hearts, all their strength, and all their minds. How Now Shall We Live emphasizes that not to use one's mind in this idea-saturated culture is to abandon dying neighbors to bleed by the side of the road while going about one's religious way. As Colson puts it, "turning our backs on the culture ... denies God's sovereignty over all of life." It's this compassionate severity and prodding intelligence that make this book not only a good read, but a life-changing one as well. --Courtenay Gebhardt

From Publishers Weekly

International prison ministry leader Colson, most famous for his role in the Watergate scandal and his subsequent conversion to Christianity, has co-written with Pearcey what he believes to be the most important book of his career. Picking up where the late American theologian Francis Schaeffer's book and film series How Then Shall We Live? left off, Colson attempts to explain why American culture has become "post-Christian" and what must be done to "rebuild it with a biblical worldview." He believes that Christian salvation is not just personal but "cosmological," redeeming all of creation. Colson's work is a mixed bag. When he outlines his theology, shares personal stories or explains the various Supreme Court cases that touch upon religion's role in American life, he is thoughtful and articulate, yet the work suffers from a narrow perspective and an overdependence on the opinions of a few others, especially Schaeffer. As the author of a book that ostensibly engages recent developments in science, art and philosophy from a Christian point of view, Colson too easily dismisses opposing views without expressing a full understanding of them (Stephen Hawking's time theories amount to "little more than fantasy," for example). Such an approach to humanist ideas makes this a sermon strictly for the evangelical choir, although Colson intends the book to inspire debate in the wider culture and Tyndale is launching a $250,000 marketing campaign to sell it. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; 1st edition (September 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0842318089
  • ISBN-13: 978-0842318082
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.9 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (166 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brent Hudson on December 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Typically if you like Chuck Colson's stuff, you like all of his stuff. This is no exception; however, if you have found Colson a bit dry and analytical in the past don't assume that is true for this book. Having Nancy Pearcy as a co-writer has improved the readability of this book markedly over previous volumes.
As far as content, this book is a winner. Colson looks at how Christians must relate Christ to a world that no longer shares a similar worldview. He structures this in a classic Reformed pattern of Creation, Fall, & Redemption.
Some of the material covered in this book is expanded from Colson's previous book *Kingdoms in Conflict* but this book is far more readable, passionate, and practical. This is one of the best books I have read in three years. A must read for every Christian wanting to intelligently deal with the issues of our day.
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Format: Hardcover
For over a century the secular world has stolen, distorted, and then discarded the culture that Christians spent 1500 years creating. Its time we return our lives to the Christian culture and turned our backs on the distorted worldview Satan has crafted in its place. For someone who grew up in a fundamentalist church this is a major, but welcome, break in my thinking. How shall we live? We shall live, in every aspect of life, in the way God has placed in nature. Families need to learn again how to function God's way, businesses need to learn again *truly* compassionate capitalism, medicine needs to learn again from God right and wrong instead of ethics and legalities, and the church needs to support more than the winning of souls but the reclaiming of Western culture as Christian intead of Western.
Colson starts with the ways our views of creation and fall shape us and builds to a crescendo showing us how those ideas should cause us to build a culture that can restore the world as God would have it.
Along with Richard Foster and Dallas Willard, Chuck Colson is one of the most important thinkers and writers in this newly emerging, but very necessary, Christian Renaissance
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Format: Hardcover
Colson does a good job of conducting a rather exhaustive examination of various worldviews that run contrary to Christianity that have gained acceptance through the media, schools, and assorted literature. He then describes ways that Christians can lovingly project the Christian worldview in society in an effort to regain some footing in the marketplace of ideas.
His major emphasis is on naturalism, which includes a significant portion of the book devoted to examining evolution. I felt that this examination of naturalism was very good and fairly exhaustive. Naturalism is a complex belief system with various facets emanating from a core belief that there is no God. Colson didn't intend for this book to be purely an academic study of naturalism, and that's not what the reader will find when reading the book. Colson's emphasis is on explaining this belief understandably in order to show how pervasive it has become in the everyday messages that are being sent by the culture in terms of how people should live and what their perspective should be. In this way, Colson does a very good job.
I didn't totally agree with everything written in the last section where he describes how we as Christians should counteract naturalism and set the record straight. But I did agree with much of what he said here, and even though I didn't agree with certain things, the whole section was nonetheless well written and well thought out. I respect what Colson had to say here, even though I didn't totally agree with everything he said.
I consider this to be a very good book and a "must have" for parents in particular who are concerned about the messages their children may be receiving in schools and on television and the internet.
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Format: Hardcover
At the end of the 1949 film noir classic, White Heat, James Cagney's character Cody Jarett, trapped and surrounded by cops, stands atop a huge tank of flammable liquid. "It's a stack of dynamite," a horror stricken officer mutters. Bullet-ridden Cagney insanely fires into the tank and cries heavenward, "Made it, Ma! Top of the world!" before plummeting into the white-hot inferno below. The dying words of this criminally demented character remind us to remain on top of our world or risk being swept up in its madness.
Now Charles Colson can be added to the list of intellectual prophets (like Francis Scheffer, Os Guinness, Malcolm Muggeridge, and James Sire) who dare to remind us that there's a dangerous world of false ideas and true ideas that need to be sorted through if we are to remain on top of our world. The world of ideas requires a critical understanding to keep from tumbling into an inferno of deceit and falsehood.
When James Sire developed his world view catalog, _The Universe Next Door_, he spurred a great number of Christians to consider the deeper issues behind human thought. He wrote: "I am now convinced that for a person to be fully conscious intellectually he should not only be able to detect the world views of others but be aware of his own--why it is his and why in the light of so many options he thinks it is true." Sires list of basic questions to consider in discerning one's worldview included:
1. What is the prime reality? 2. Who is man? 3. What happens to man at death? 4. What is the basis for morality? 5. And what is the meaning of human history?
In his new book, Charles Colson also pares the essential questions down to four, but with a new twist: "How Now Shall We Live."
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