Following the challenge of the Blamires book on The Christian Mind isJohn Stott’s Issues Facing Christians Today. Stott, one of the leading evangelical preachers and scholars of the 20th century, first published the book in 1984. This important book has now been revised and updated and includes a new chapter by John Wyatt.
When we talk about thinking with or developing a Christian mind there is the tendency to draw back and say, “That’s too hard. I do not know how to do that. And what difference does it really make?”
Along with The Christian Mind, this book is among the list of several books that I recommend using in making kingdom disciples, or those who know how to think God’s thoughts after Him and apply them to life or how to think with a transformed mind. Blamires deals with the necessity of the concept of the Christian mind while Stott is more hands on with the topic by looking at issues we are facing today.
Stott establishes five foundations to further challenge and instruct us in the process. In the chapter entitled “Our Complex World: Is Christian Thinking Distinctive?” he lists five foundational elements for thinking Christianly.
First, Stott says we need a fuller doctrine of God. God has concern for all of humankind, which has important consequences for our thinking. God is the God of the nations and not simply of the covenant people. God begins with all the nations before he focuses on Israel, and he ends with all the nations. We need to remember that as well. Also, the living God is the God of justice as well as justification. He is concerned that community life be characterized by social compassion and justice, especially from those who are justified.
Second, we need a fuller doctrine of human beings, body and soul, based on being God’s image and likeness. Evangelism, relief, and development should define our Christian responsibility.
Third, we need a fuller doctrine of Christ that is consistent with His revelation of Himself as the Lord and Savior who is the agent of our redemption, not as depicted by things like The Da Vinci Code.
Fourth, we need a fuller doctrine of the church; not an isolated, withdrawal view of the church from life but Christians as agents of God’s reconciliation and thereby having significant influence on society. This comes about by living like kingdom people are supposed to live, with a concern for all of life.
Fifth, we need a Christian mind. Developing a Christian mind that thinks with integrity, is not anti-intellectual, and knows how to understand and speak to the problematic issues in today’s world is crucial.
These five elements are the keys to having a biblical world and life view, which is the right view of God, creation, man and the fall, redemption and restoration, and consummation. Knowing how these apply while we are living between the kingdom come and the kingdom coming is what God requires of us.
With certain basics in place, we are in a better position to think about, understand, discuss with intelligence, and impact those around us. Issues Facing Christians Today deals with issues such as bio-technology, same sex relationships, gender issues, war and peace, poverty, human rights, work and business relationships.
You will benefit tremendously from reading, studying, and discussing this book. There are discussion questions to use with each chapter and topic. And though you may not always agree with the book, you will be better equipped to understand and think about major issues of life.