In the foreword of Escape From Reason, Francis Schaeffer said,
“If a man goes overseas for any length of time, we would expect him to learn the language of the country to which he is going. More than this is needed, however, if he is really going to communicate with the people among whom he is living. He must learn another language – that of the thought forms of the people to whom he speaks. Only so will he have real communication with them and to them. So it is with the Christian Church. Its responsibility is not only to hold to the basic, scriptural principles of the Christian faith, but to communicate these unchanging truths “into” the generation in which it is living. Every generation of Christians has this problem of learning how to speak meaningfully to its own age…If we are to communicate the Christian faith effectively, therefore, we must know and understand the thought-forms of our own generation.”
What an astute observation by Mr. Schaeffer. Also, what a challenge to the church. Especially to the American church.
Faced with a pending “political” situation, the Bible tells us in 1 Chronicles 12:32 that the sons of Isaachar understood the times and the implications of certain outcomes of the crown of Israel. They chose to side with those to crown David king. Saul was no longer alive and the country was in a state of unrest and possessing keen insight and understanding, they knew David was to hold the throne.
If you’re not called to the foreign mission field, you’re presently in your mission field. The question that needs to be asked and meditated on is, “Do I understand this mission field?” Look at the landscape of America. We are a land of approximately 300 million people comprised of various races. With that comes various religious beliefs or world-views and social behaviors.
Sociologists and theologians have determined that the general current cultural attitude of America is post-Christian. Post-Christian simply means that Christianity is not the dominant civil way of life. In fact, Neo-Paganism and New Atheism seem to be the trends of many who call America their home. Other worldviews that must be contended with are relativism, humanism, pragmatism, secularism, hedonism, atheism, agnosticism and existentialism. These are some of the thought forms of our generation. These are the ideologies held by our co-workers, friends, and family members and as Jonah was sent to Nineveh, so too are we on missio Dei. We must understand our times and know how to effectively engage people with the gospel and show its absolute truthfulness against these doctrines of demons.
April 8, 1966
The unredeemed man’s reference point is himself. He starts and ends with himself as the basis of all thought, reason and behavior. There is no room for transcendence or absolutes in his way of thinking. He is a law unto himself and we know the effects of such as Romans 1:18-32 plainly reveals.
In analyzing these worldviews, it should be easy to see that the culture is without hope and incorrectly informed about the purpose of their existence. The god of this age is blinding the minds of unbelievers that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
Therefore, we must sacrificially endeavor to understand our culture and lovingly confront people, who don’t know the difference between their right and left hands, with the hope that lies within us.
Grace & Peace,