Monday, 1 November 2010

The Three Great Religious Issues of Our Time

Interviewed at the recent Third Lausanne Conference on World Evangelization, held in Cape Town, South Africa last week, the Anglican author and incisive social critic Os Guinness identified three major religious issues facing the world today: "Religion has not disappeared; it is furiously alive and as well as ever. The three major issues are: Will Islam modernize peacefully? Which Faith will fill the vacuum in China? and, Will the West sever or recover its roots in the Judeo/Christian faith?"

Guinness also labelled Christianity the first "global religion": "It is the fastest growing [religion] in the world with the Bible the most translatable book in human history.”

But he had some harsh criticisms for liberal Western church leaders, especially in the US: "The clarity and courage of the African and Asian Christian leaders does not characterize Christian leaders in the West. The Christian Church in the West has never seen such a level of apostasy and heresy as seen in the United States.

"The Episcopal Church is the greatest disgrace in Christian history and it is being led down the path by so called Christian leadership."*

“Western Protestant liberals have lost their collective theological nerve. Our life is to live out the truth. His word is truth, we can live out the truth."

* For Australian readers, 'The Episcopal Church' is the US branch of the Anglican Communion. As a resident of the US for over 25 years, Guinness has an insider's view of the travails of American Anglicanism.

Oh, in case you're wondering: Yes, Guinness (D. Phil., Oxford) is a scion of the famous Anglo-Irish brewing family, a direct descendant of its founder, Arthur Guinness. His parents were medical missionaries in pre-Communist China. His books are well written and accessible to the general Christian reader, somewhat in the manner of C. S. Lewis. I have recently read his 'God in the Dark', a popular level exploration of faith and doubt which I highly recommend, especially to pastors, who will find much in it which can be applied in ministry.


Matthias said...

His THE DUST OF DEATH was written in the late 1970's and it addressed the then counter cultural movement ie hippies etc.
Given his praise of Asian and African Christian leaders,is it any wonder that it is these two regions which have growing churches,and where Muslims are converting to Christianity
Guiness was an associate of Francis Schaeffer and i am not too sure that he is not married to one of Schaeffer's daughters. I think i will head out and buy THE DUST OF DEATH as my first cpy disintegrated,or GOD IN THE DARK

Pr Mark Henderson said...

Yes, I do believe 'Dust of Death' made his name, but everything he has written is worth reading, Matthias. Check out 'God in the Dark'. I suspect the title is a play on C. S. Lewis's 'God in the Dock'.

The Midland Agrarian said...

"The Episcopal Church is the greatest disgrace in Christian history"

So sadly true.

Just got back from a town in another state where an entire congregation left the Episcopal church a few years back. They tried to buy their now unused church building. The Episcopal Bishop refused to sell at a fair price, and later sold it at a loss for an Islamic Community center. The happy part of the story is that In this case and several others, Roman Catholic leaders have stepped in and cheaply sold, lent or leased churches to orthodox Anglican parishes. My church only has a home due to generous Presbyterians.

Pr Mark Henderson said...

What we've heard over here of the vindictiveness and plain nastiness of TEC's dealings with dissenting, orthodox Anglicans has been astounding, Richard. The intolerance of the liberals never ceases to amaze me!