Survival Through Community

An interview with Charles Colson, author of Being the Body

What do you hope to accomplish with Being the Body?

If it does nothing else than break Christians free of this dreadful individualism and let them realize that you cannot be a Christian without being deeply committed to a part of the church, then it will have served a good purpose.

In the early '70s, some observers argued that the reason conservative churches were growing was that they demanded high standards of behavior, belief, service, and stewardship. Recent studies suggest that conservative churches are by and large no longer so demanding. Has there been a cultural shift in conservative churches?

There are still conservative churches that make greater demands on their people than mainline churches do. But I have seen an increasing tendency toward recruitment instead of repentance—an idea that we have to somehow get the postmodern generation into the churches and that somehow their postmodern frame of reference will be engaged by the experience.

I think postmodernism is the enemy of the church. I don't think you can befriend it, come alongside it, or use it. And I think the seeker-sensitive movement—which is a good thing—can go over the edge and be so sensitive that we don't bring the demands of the gospel to bear. Churches need to be countercultural. And if we are, I think we'll get a terrific response.

I believe people are still hungry for orthodoxy. Take Colleen Carroll's book, The Young Faithful—that tells you that this generation is searching for truth. Everybody is searching for truth. They get told there is no such thing as truth, and it's intolerant to believe there is, and so they suppress "the natural truth that cannot not be known" that's in us, as J. Budziszewski puts it.

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Editor's Bookshelf
David Neff
David Neff was editor in chief of Christianity Today, where he worked from 1985 until his retirement in 2013. He is also the former editor in chief of Christian History magazine, and continues to explore the intersection of history and current events in his bimonthly column, "Past Imperfect." His earlier column, "Editor's Bookshelf," ran from 2002 to 2004 and paired Neff's reviews of thought-provoking books and interviews with the authors.
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September
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