Unraveling The Unshakable Truth with Josh McDowell
- Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Christians are commonly told to "have faith" in our spiritual lives, but can those very words also serve as a stumbling block in our walk with Christ? Author Josh McDowell thinks so. In the book co-authored with his son Sean, The Unshakable Truth, McDowell explains how many Christians have traded a relationship with Christ for blind faith. As you'll see in his interview with Crosswalk.com, McDowell believes that it is only when we begin searching for the Holy Spirit that true intimacy with God begins.
Crosswalk.com: Josh, in the press materials for this book you cite a critical void in Christianity right now, one we've noticed at Crosswalk, too. Just this week we ran an article about how even pastors and ministers are losing faith. There just seems to be a lot of people coming to a realization that there's something missing. They cannot define what Christianity means to them. Is that something you're exploring in this book?
Josh McDowell: Yeah. In the Willow Creek Survey, I think it was 54 percent said the greatest thing they need in life is spiritual guidance. But what's staggering, Shawn, is how so many don't understand the very foundation of the Christian faith. Of those who profess to be Evangelical believers, when asked, "What is the Christian life?" 81 percent said, "The Christian life is trying harder to live by the rules in the Bible." That's devastating!
I think many pastors are caught up in that. What we've done is we haven't understood the truth, and we have separated truth from relationships. This is probably one of the biggest things that would usher in postmodernism, emergent village, and community.
CW: Do we need to ask, then: Is Christianity too confusing? Have we done a poor job because of an overemphasis on rules and "do's and don't's" like you mentioned? Is it confusing in and of itself? Is it because the Bible is challenging? Is it because Christians are, by definition, people who are acknowledged failures? And if it is confusing, how do we cut through that?
JM: All of the above! I think one of our biggest mistakes is we have shied away from the Holy Spirit. Extreme Pentecostalism came along, and so the Baptists and others went and swung the pendulum way over to the opposite end. As a result, we have taught truth without teaching the filling and the power of the Holy Spirit. You can't live the Christian life without the indwelling presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
When I researched back to the Council of Nicaea, I found that of the twelve major truths, well, the biggest one was the Holy Spirit. You hardly ever hear anyone talk about it today. This is why, in this book, I think I dealt with it all the way from the Baptist to the Pentecostal.
I would say another factor is we have not applied truth to relationships. Christianity has become cognitive, mental. This is why I disagree with most apologists. I stand over on the other side of the wall from most apologists, because most apologists are mental. They're rational, modernist, and I think modernism is as wrong as postmodernism. It's not truth; it's not relationships. It's truth in the context of relationships.
This is where, if you will notice, in each section of the book I have twelve segments, twelve truths, but the key is the four chapters within each. The first chapter is "What is the truth", because I'm finding Christians don't understand what is meant by a "Creative God." Second, "Why should I believe it? Is it true?" Apologetics. Third is "So what? How does he relate to me?" And fourth, "How can I experience it?" Every single section is divided, and every truth is divided into these four sections.
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