Thursday, January 19, 2017

A top-fiver from Wes in 2016: Impossible People

Impossible People: Christian Courage and the Struggle for the Soul of Civilization
by Os Guinness

As I look back at 2016, I believe "Impossible People" by Os Guinness is one of the most timely and important books I read. Guinness does a tremendous job and a terrific service to the reader, summarizing the peril that Western Civilization faces from enemies abroad and at home (and within our Church!)

Guinness notes: "At stake is the attempted completion of the centuries-long assault on the Jewish and Christian faiths and their replacement by progressive secularism as the defining faith of the West and the ideology said to be the best suited to the conditions of advanced modernity." (p.22)

He also states in a later chapter that "[The] future of the world in the next generations will be shaped decisively by the answer to three great questions:

1) Will Islam modernize peacefully in the end?
2) Which faith or ideology will replace Marxism in China?
3) Will the Western world sever or recover its roots? (The subject of this book)." p. 38

This book is a tour-de-force in a defense of Christianity and Judaism and Western Civilization. I found myself highlighting a passage on almost every page and notations in the margins throughout. His social commentary on the current world we live in is unsurpassed in modern writing. I would suggest reading the book slowly, grasping the big ideas and pondering and praying over his offered commentary.

In the end, Guinness challenges: "[Our] faith in God must always be our defining trust and the compass for our way of life. Living before the absolute presence of God, we are called to be faithful, and therefore unmanipulable, unbribable, undeterrable, and unclubbable [defines these terms in earlier chapters]. We serve an impossible God, and we are to be God's impossible people. Let us then determine and resolve to be so faithful in all the challenges and ordeals the onrushing future brings that it may be said of us that we in our turn have served God's purpose in our generation. So help us God". p.223

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