God is the Issue: Recapturing the Cultural Initiative

Here is a book that is well worth reading. Brad Bright is the youngest son of the late Bill Bright. In 1989, after a variety of work experiences, Brad joined the Campus Crusade for Christ staff and resides in Orlando, FL. For a brief overview of today’s culture, this book will be appreciated. Bright’s thesis is that the issue today is God and everything else is symptomatic. He joins a host of others who are critical of the church for failing to communicate how to know God and who he is; however, he does not advocate abandoning the church. Rather, he challenges the church to equip the members to know the Word and to understand the world. He says, “When a person desires to become a member of a local church, we should seek to ensure a biblical understanding of who God really is.” He makes an observation that happens all too often. In preparing people for membership in the church, giving them a good emphasis on doctrine, it is easy for God and his character to be shortchanged.

With all the good things that evangelicals and the church are doing, Bright contends that our impact on the world around us will only come as we focus on the real issue–God. Everything else takes a back seat to that one issue. Two good examples of the heart of the book follow:

1. “If we want our children to behave as if there is a God, we must as a culture teach them that there actually is a God. If we do not teach it, they will not believe it. And, if they do not believe it, they most certainly will not act like it.”

2. “We must take every opportunity to educate them, as well as reeducate those who have been marginalized by a system that portrays God as irrelevant to real life.” (page 128)

I appreciate Bright’s emphasis on discipling God’s children with an intentional understanding of who God is which he maintains is the only way to “inoculate them from the messages with which culture is going to bombard them.”

Another emphasis that is on target is his challenge for Christians who are growing in their understanding of God and his character to come together and develop a means of impacting the culture around them. For Bright, God is the environment in which we live and “if we continue to solely debate ‘behavior’ in the current cultural vacuum of moral relativism, we cannot win the war.”

This book will appeal to church leaders, family leaders, and individuals, especially the rising generation. He echoes the idea that our focus should be on a behavior that grows out of knowing God because that is the issue.

Charles Dunahoo pastored churches in Georgia and Alabama before being called to his present position as Coordinator for the PCA of Christian Education and Publications (CEP).

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