Uncompromised Faith is Here!
Michael CravenS. Michael Craven is the President of H.I.S. BridgeBuilders and the author of Uncompromised Faith: Overcoming Our Culturalized Christianity (Navpress, 2009). H.I.S. BridgeBuilders is an urban missionary ministry that works to bring the redemptive power of God’s kingdom to bear upon the poverty-ravaged areas of our city, restoring people, families, and communities through spiritual, educational and economic development to the glory of God. To learn more, visit: www.hisbridgebuilders.org
- 2009 Feb 02
I desperately want this book to succeed not because I seek financial gain—although the royalties from this book will help support this ministry—but because I believe so deeply in the importance of its message and its relevance to our times.
In many ways, the times in which we live are not that dissimilar to those of the sixteenth century reformers. They, like us, found themselves living in a cultural context in which Christianity had been reduced to little more than religious ritual and personal piety. Gone was the majesty and radical reality of God’s amazing grace—grace that transforms not only our outward behavior but reorients every aspect of our lives and thinking. Similarly, we find ourselves living within a cultural context in which the majesty and radical reality of God’s amazing grace has been subdued, culturalized, and rendered largely impotent. It is as C. S. Lewis once so aptly suggested—we are like children playing in mud puddles who refuse an invitation to the beach because we have no conception of what a day at the beach is like. Likewise, Christ invites us into His kingdom to participate in the abundant life, His story; a life full of meaning, purpose, and adventure. However, having no earthly conception of what Jesus means, coupled with a rather benign Christianity that has suffered more conversion to the culture than vice versa (i.e., it’s become culturalized), we rarely experience or display the radical transforming power and truth of the gospel. All too often, we remain within our own small stories, thus rendering the witness of the church lackluster and without power.
It is this condition that gripped my heart more than ten years ago and it is this same burden that animates my life and ministry today. Uncompromised Faith is the culmination of more than seven years of research in which I sought to understand how this condition came to be. In Uncompromised Faith I attempt to expose what I believe are those rarely examined social and cultural forces of the last two hundred years that have surreptitiously reshaped our conceptions of the Christian faith into something less than God intended and Scripture confirms.
I encourage you to read this book. Study it. Use it for a small group study or Sunday school. There will be additional study materials available soon from NavPress to aid those who want to facilitate group studies.
Finally, I am deeply indebted to Josh McDowell for graciously agreeing to write the foreword, which I am including below:
For years there has been an increasing concern with the state of the church in America and its growing irrelevance both here and throughout the Western world.
Research reveals that Christianity in America has become more diluted, more distorted, and less Christlike with each subsequent generation. Heterodoxy is replacing orthodoxy and the notion of absolute truth has been all but eliminated from popular thinking. And our young people, raised in Christian homes, are walking away from the church in alarming numbers. So severe is the crisis that I dared to proclaim that if something serious does not occur in the life of the Church, we may be witnessing the last Christian generation in America.
Increasingly, Americans no longer hold to what evangelicals consider to be the true foundations of the Christian faith. The theological ignorance and biblical illiteracy of this generation is possibly the worst in history—an astonishing fact when you consider that we are the most educationally resource-rich generation in the history of the church. The net effect is a generation that professes Christ but doesn’t follow him. Christianity, for many, has become a private matter, based more on simple assent to a few facts about Jesus; pray “the Sinner’s Prayer” and you’re done! But this is a far cry from the historic Christian faith that has been transforming people and the world for nearly 2000 years.
For centuries, Christians have been formulating and presenting a serious interpretation of reality that was applied to every aspect of life and culture. This interpretation, or Christian worldview, once shaped the cultural institutions of the Western world, as well as the social and moral consensus. However, a serious shift began in the latter part of the eighteenth century, the effects of which continue to this day. Following the Enlightenment, Christianity began to be supplanted by “new” ideas about life and reality—ideas that sought to elevate man and eliminate God. Initially, this challenge was met by serious and intellectually formidable Christians. However, by the end of the nineteenth century, an anti-intellectual spirit began to dominate the American church and Christians had less and less to offer in the way of serious ideas about life and the world. The result: the church and Christianity ceased to influence the culture and instead became increasingly conformed to the culture.
In Uncompromised Faith, Michael meticulously peels back the layers of today’s culture to expose the manner and means of Christianity’s unwitting cultural captivity in America, offering a thoughtful route to reform, rooted in historic orthodoxy. This book will challenge you deeply to think about the times and culture in which you live and how these conditions have combined to shape our thinking in ways that inhibit an authentic and robust Christian life.
Every Christian needs to read this book if he or she wants to understand the times in which we live and how to live faithfully within them. – Josh McDowell, Speaker and Author