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Friday, February 24, 2012

"Think Christianly" (Jonathan Morrow)

TITLE: Think Christianly: Looking at the Intersection of Faith and Culture
AUTHOR:  Jonathan Morrow
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011, (304 pages).

This book attempts to think in a Christian manner when our faith intersects with the culture of our times. It is a book about how Christians can interpret and read the times through the eyes of faith. The author argues powerfully that thinking Christianly is essentially about discipleship. The culture may shape us in terms of pros and cons of life, and what things that matter or not matter to us. Seen through the eyes of the world, we tend to measure gains and losses pertaining to self needs. However, as Christians, we ought to see all of life from God's view. When our minds are transformed and renewed by the Spirit, we will be equipped to think Christianly as we engage with the culture at large. Christians must not live isolated lives, but to be witnesses of Christ by integrating themselves by understanding what the world is about. Since there is no way we can escape culture, why not actively engage it?

Morrow shows us how to think Christianly via a 3-phase approach.
  1. Understanding our Intersection: Part One attempts to wake us up from any spiritual slumber. Here we are called to read our culture as best as we can. Recognize the spiritual warfare happening in the battlefield of ideas, Internet, secularism, pop culture, and worldliness that threatens to invade the Church. It is not enough to simply let the world be. Christians are called to interact, to intellectual engagement, and to be faithful witnesses. I find the chapter on equipping the next generation one of the best parts of the book.
  2. Preparing to Engage (Be Transformed): Part Two continues with some great stimulus to act. We are called to be holistic in thinking all of life, to cultivate a thoughtful faith, and to be Christlike in a world that needs Christ and yet refuses to seek Christ. This is a world that is looking for love and meaning in all the wrong places. Christians need to be the bridge, the pointer, and the light to shine the way for people to consider Christ. 
  3. Specific Areas to Engage:  Part Three expands on some important areas. The world respects Jesus. Christians worship Jesus. The call is for Christians to live out their faith that demonstrates Jesus is God. This means we need to be ready to contend for Jesus' claims. That Jesus is more than simply a good man. We are to contend for truth instead of yielding to mere tolerance or relativism.  We are to take the Bible seriously by living the Word with dedication. We are to recover God's design for sexuality, engage with media, think Christlike in areas of justice, and many others on faith, science, bioethics, creation etc.
 Morrow concludes with a vision of 'What if' the Church behaves all of what it claims to be. He supplies 21 ways in which the Church can engage and some pointers to apologetics. Every chapter ends with a page of resources and links for further research. Every chapter contains an interview with an expert in that area. In doing so, Morrow is practicing what he preached by engaging with the various cultural experts, even as he attempts to promote his ideas of what it means to think Christianly.

Further Thoughts

Through discussions and interviews with various experts on different aspects of culture,  Morrow is able to put together this very readable collection of material to make it into a practical resource for training and equipping Christians for the marketplace and for the world at large. I am so glad I read this book. Page after page, I find myself pressing buttons inside me that say 'yes,' 'of course,' and 'absolutely!' Readers need not worry about where to begin although the strategy comprises of understanding, of being transformed, and of engaging the culture at large. In fact, the three phase can be seen as a spiral of engagement. Whichever phase we are in, we are reminded that we cannot think Christianly alone. The world is too big, and the culture too complex for any lone ranger Christians. We need the community to reach the rest of the world. We need one another. The Church is perhaps the best chance for us to do that.

We need more of such books in an increasingly skeptical world that pretty much disses faith in favour of scientific proof, and religions in favour of secularism and worldly philosophies. If you want to start engaging the world, reading this book is like turning the our ignition keys. Let the Spirit of God use Morrow's book to warm up your witnessing engine. We will then be traveling different places of the world to let our faith do the thinking, the Spirit to help us in our praying, and God's wisdom to help us in our engaging.

Rating: 5 stars of 5.


This book has been provided to me free by Zondervan and NetGalley without any obligation for me to give a positive review. All opinions furnished above are mine.

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