This tribute was stimulated by a rereading, this week, of How Now Shall We Live?, by Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey (Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1999). It remains a life-changing read! Realizing that the book has flaws, we choose rather to express our deep gratitude for this wide-as-the-world manifesto articulated by one who came to confess Jesus Christ, and by his own testimony as a Southern Baptist, one who came to be profoundly shaped by the thinking of John Calvin, Abraham Kuyper, Cornelius Van Til, and Francis Schaeffer.
* * *
Explaining the biblical doctrine of creation as both the starting point and the battleground of the Christian worldview, Colson wrote:
For if God created all of finite reality, then every aspect of that reality must be subject to him and his truth. Everything finds its meaning and interpretation in relation to God. No part of life can be autonomous or neutral, no part can be sliced off and made independent from Christian truth. Because creation includes the whole scope of finite reality, the Christian worldview must be equally comprehensive, covering every aspect of our lives, our thinking, our choices. Both friends and foes of Christianity realize that everything stands or falls on the doctrine of creation (98).
He moves immediately to make this profound connection:
Christians often seek to evangelize others by starting with salvation—John 3:16 and the gospel message (98).
This approach worked for an earlier generation where most people had some kind of church experience. But in today’s post-Christian world, where most people lack understanding of basic biblical terms, a different starting point for testifying to Jesus Christ as Redeemer is required.
Consequently, in today’s world, beginning evangelism with the message of salvation is like starting a book at the middle—you don’t know the characters, and you can’t make sense of the plot. Instead, we must begin with Genesis, where the main character, God, establishes himself as the Creator, and the “plot” of human history unfolds its first crucial episodes (98).
* * *
Here’s the conclusion of the matter:
How now shall we live?
By embracing God’s truth, understanding the physical and moral order he has created, lovingly contending for that truth with our neighbors, then having the courage to live it out in every walk of life.
Boldly and, yes, joyously (487).