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How Now Shall We Live? [Hardcover]

Charles Colson
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 1 1999
2000 Gold Medallion Award winner! Christianity is more than a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It is also a worldview that not only answers life's basic questions--Where did we come from, and who are we? What has gone wrong with the world? What can we do to fix it?--but also shows us how we should live as a result of those answers. How Now Shall We Live? gives Christians the understanding, the confidence, and the tools to confront the world's bankrupt worldviews and to restore and redeem every aspect of contemporary culture: family, education, ethics, work, law, politics, science, art, music. This book will change every Christian who reads it. It will change the church in the new millennium.

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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.

Customer Reviews

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should Be Required Reading for Christians July 14 2003
Format:Hardcover
This is one of the best books I have ever read; to be honest, five stars isn't enough! Colson convincingly demonstrates the importance of worldview and ideas,and how almost all of today's problems stem from incorrect worldviews and bad assumptions. Especially touching are the people who are real life examples of how faith can change our nation, one community, one person at a time. He shows that a healthy nation can only come about only when our basic assumptions about God and our purpose here on earth are correct. Buy it, and put it at the top of your bookshelf.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Soli Deo Gloria April 21 2003
Format:Hardcover
This book had the same effect on me that lightning has on a tree. My mind has never been the same since. This book reminds Christians that Christianity goes beyond the walls of the Church into the secular arena. Its mandate is for Christians to engage secular culture with the demands of God.
The outline of the book is simple: How did we get here (the debate on creation vs. evolution)? What is wrong with us (here they show the fallacy of any worldview that denies the sinfulness of man and builds a worldview on human goodness as opposed to biblical morality)? And finally, How do we fix it (Showing that redemption is found in Jesus Christ alone)? After addressing and answering these questions Colson this shows how we, as orthodox Christians, should live. The Chapter. "Soli Deo Gloria" I read on my knees in worship of such a God.
This chapter has offended several reviewers, namely the reader from Oakbrook, IL. This reader claims that Colson's list of "classical offerings" has "lyrics or imagery" as bad as the (I won't use an adjective) rock bands. First, the reader provided no source; secondly, and I have personally checked the "classical offerings" that Chuck presents and very few, if any, have lyrics at all (so much for the reprehensible lyrics Colson is guilty of presenting. Honestly, how many classical music songs have lyrics?)!
All of this notwithstanding, this is one of the finest books written this decade. It has permanently changed my thinking and possibly my future. Now that I have praised it I will now critique it. Colson, and I will keep my criticism low because he has heard this complaint many times, came very close to betraying orthodox Christianity when he and Neauhus devised the Evangelicals and Catholics Together Document.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellence in Christian thinking June 25 2002
Format:Hardcover
Chuck Colson and Nancy Pearcey put together a very enjoyable, easy-reading book that the average Christian lay-person should latch onto. I am a full supporter of the authors' "Commitment to Christian Excellence," which is something I continually preach to my students. Just because we are Christian doesn't mean we have to be dull, mindless, and just plain ol' lousy. This book explains truth using contemporary language and not-too-difficult concepts. In fact, I recommend that pastors refer this book to their congregations.
The chapters are written so that, if a person desired, he or she could read one each night in about 15 minutes. At this rate, a person would finish the book within two months and be truly blessed. (I found this method to be effective in my reading, as it allowed me to think through each of the points on a nightly basis.) Among some of the highlights for me:
* Ch. 4 on Christian truth in an age of unbelief dealt with Christian apologetics. I especially appreciated the authors' attitude that we will change the world through the laity, not just by the scholars or the pastorate. There is a strong case to Christianity, but each Christian needs to "own" the truth for him or herself to be effective in spreading the gospel.
* In part two of the book, the authors deal with creation. While they never claim to be scientists, they present some very strong information while suggesting other places to find additional (deeper) facts. Highly recommended.
* Ch. 21 on suffering was one of the easiest chapters I have ever read on such a difficult issue. While there are certainly no easy answers, they do give basic thoughts to theodicy.
* Ch. 34 was excellent. I especially appreciate the following quote on page 339: "...
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2.0 out of 5 stars I Hate to Be Negative, Chuck, But Here Goes..... May 14 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Colson's book Born Again really had a heart to it, and the tape he made as a follow on was authentic and gripping. Colson has come a long way, and has done a lot of good work. He has made the transition from prison minister to prophetic voice, doing what he can to address things in our culture we can be more aware of, and work to improve, as a reflection of Christian belief in action.
But there's a little piece of cultural throwback that attaches to Chuck: He feels a little too guilty about being such an arts & letters philistine. He has a chapter in here about how we all need to engage more in the world outside of churchy, familiar circles, and picks as an example the rich tradition of classical music. He confesses that he knows little about it, but is disciplining himself listen to the great classical symphonies, even as he admits to having a "tin ear."
Hold it, just wait a minute here. Look at the lyrics of some of these symphonies and operas. Look at the lives of the composers. Then, re-evaluate the choice of classical music. The perceptive reader of this, who may by this time have felt guilty about liking rock and roll better (with or without including such music produced by Christians) can rest easy. Maybe we can stop forcing ourselves to denigrate modern music, especially if the alternative classical offerings contain imagery and lyrics just as bad as Black Sabbath, the Rolling Stones, or whatever other goblin-band might otherwise not make it onto Chuck's listening list.
Ah, so Colson has a point of view. It's a little stodgy, and I think he has to admit it. You're true, Chuck, but I don't think you're cool. Many people who think this book is a roadmap for all may not agree with me. It's not for everyone. It's a negative cultural message that says things you don't like are good for you, even if Chuck also dislikes them. Don't be such a [bore], Chuck. Get some newer CDs, and be free.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Outline of Conservative Christianity
Chuck Colson has written a masterful text on one Biblical worldview. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the worldview from which he writes is one of dogmatic judgmentalism and not the... Read more
Published on July 10 2004 by April B.
2.0 out of 5 stars Ignorance on steroids, Christianity is irrelevant because...
Ok lets just get this out of the way first and foremost, the reason why Christian faith is inherently irrational is because the claim is made that the bible was inspired/dictated... Read more
Published on July 7 2004 by Mordy
3.0 out of 5 stars Modern Worldview at its best
Colson does a good job in this work of breaking down complex worldview and theological issues to the common man. Read more
Published on Nov. 9 2003 by Joseph Valentine Dworak
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Books Ever!!
If you have any questions about various worldviews, this is the book for you. Don't be intimidated by its length--it is so full of interesting anecdotes that you won't be able to... Read more
Published on Oct. 2 2003 by Judith J. Bellando
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Reading Twice
It's simply astounding how good this book is. It's content-rich, intellectually satisfying, spiritually convicting, and culturally and politically relevant. Read more
Published on Aug. 1 2003 by John Bauer
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome perspective
This is a very non-preachy way of explaining why Christianity makes sense in light of so many other choices. Read more
Published on July 14 2003 by K. Kendrick
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent but Lacks Apologetic Tactics
The book is a wonderful, comprehensive analysis of the prevailing naturalist worldview present in North America. From what I understand this view is even more pervasive in Europe. Read more
Published on April 10 2003 by Andrew M. Pierce
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book about Christian worldview
I enthusiastically recommend this as one of the best books I've read in years. How Now Shall We Live? Read more
Published on Nov. 30 2002 by J. Grant
5.0 out of 5 stars Cogent
Never read this lawyer before. The book was recommended by a friend whose opinion I respect. I am a Philosopher/Theologian with a graduate degree from Loyola... Read more
Published on Oct. 27 2002 by barnabus fuller
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening and motivating
Colson's book forces one to think and then motivates thought to action. Every Christian should try to read through this book. Read more
Published on Aug. 31 2002 by Judith L. Welsh
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