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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"Culture Shock" (Chip Ingram)

TITLE: Culture Shock: A Biblical Response to Today's Most Divisive Issues
AUTHOR: Chip Ingram
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2014, (256 pages).

"The Church is losing its commitment and courage to believe and stand for what Jesus and our forefathers in the faith have given their lives for." So laments Senior Pastor of Venture Christian Church in Los Gatos, California, Chip Ingram. With a book aimed squarely at Christians, he criticizes the lack of meaningful engagement with society's most divisive issues. Many remain silent when there is a need to speak up. When they do speak up, they fail to interact well from a biblical standpoint and straddle along with individual opinions and personal choices. Worse, some have compromised or abandoned absolute truths. Enters this book where Ingram first points out the modern scene about the loss of conviction about absolute truth. Society is not getting any better, judging from the rising suicide rates, adultery, premarital sex, drugs, and other ills of the culture. Accompanying these moral declines are the relativitizing of truth matters. By definition, truth is absolute. What the world deem as relative truth is essentially about wanting to be left alone to do what they please.

How did we get into this mess? Ingram leads us back to history during the Dark Ages, the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, the Age of Pragmatism, Situational Ethics, culminating in the "Truth is Relative" paradigm paraded widely in this era. There is a right and wrong. Ingram then shows us the biblical responses to five divisive issues: human sexuality, homosexuality, abortion, the environment, and politics. On human sexuality, Ingram spends time dispelling the myths and then affirms the truth of what sex means from a biblical perspective. Attacking sexual immorality, he teaches from the Bible about the need to remember the sanctity of human sexuality. He tackles the hot topic of homosexuality by asking the question: "What do you say to a gay friend?" Two principles need to be at work. The first is genuine understanding of that friend. The second is learning to speak the truth in love. He then compares and contrasts the presuppositions held by the gay community and the "classic/historical.biblical Christian community" followed by another round of correctly wrong premises. On Abortion, he considers scientific and medical facts of conception. In his research, Ingram was shocked to learn that 65% of women who aborted had claimed to be Christian. On Environment, he reminds us that we need to care for the earth through exploration, education, engagement, and empowerment. On Politics, churches must learn not to take sides. Be on God's side to exemplify Christ, not set policies.

Ingram has shown us how to make conversations that are meaningful and respectful without compromising on biblical truths. Very often, people disagree with Christians on the basis of behaviors rather than beliefs. In the process, they unwittingly reject the Christian message on the basis of a few bad eggs. Perhaps, this book can be used to facilitate meaningful conversations without forcing the other to convert nor enticing one to compromise. Hopefully, it will open up doors for the Holy Spirit to work.

Rating: 4 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Baker Books and Graf-Martin Communications in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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