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As evangelical christians living at the dawn of the 21st century, we often lack a method and a language for addressing the challenges of our current age. Yes, we have the will and the passion to defend our faith, the biblical knowledge to support our arguments, and often the Christian charity to couch those arguments in love. Yet for all our passion, knowledge, and love, something in our approach is lacking; something about our vocabulary is deficient. We seem powerless to convict, engage, and transform the secular world. Consider three examples:


• The word reaches our churches, colleges, and seminaries that a resurgence of paganism is sweeping the country, that New Age philosophies are rampant and that the serious worship of Sophia (Greek for wisdom) is chanted in the not-so-hidden recesses of our mainline denominations, and we are unsure of how to respond. Many evangelicals can expose the heresies that lie behind such practices; of apologists we have no lack. But how adept are we at identifying the deeper spiritual needs that the New Age seems to be meeting? How well-versed are we in the tenets of paganism and their challenge to the early church? And how well do we understand that the mythical corn god of pagan ritual represents a yearning that should end its fulfillment in the historical, incarnate God of the Bible?

• The scientific community joins forces with the academy and the media to ridicule us for our belief in God's creation of the world, and perhaps to sigh together in disbelief that modern, educated men and women could accept as literal events the miracles recorded in the Bible. Certainly we've gotten better at answering such critiques; we tend to be less insular than we were in the past, and we ...

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April 23, 2001

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