Wars, terrorism, recession, conflicting worldviews and health epidemics like AIDS and SARS. If there was ever a time that the global Christian church - referred to in the Bible as the "body" of Christ - should be completely united in reaching out to a hurting world, it is now. That is the compelling verdict from Being the Body, a new book by Chuck Colson and Ellen Vaughn.

 

Being the Body (W Publishing Group) calls Christians from diverse backgrounds around the world to set aside petty differences and challenges them to together engage in the issues of their cultures, rather than approach life with a "Jesus and me" attitude. The updated, revised and expanded edition of 1992's The Body contains insightful stories from today's headlines and intelligent perspectives on the problems dogging the Christian church.

 

Colson spoke with Crosswalk.com in early May about the book, the church, war and Islam.

 

Crosswalk.com: What are some of the key differences between this edition and the first edition of the book?

 

Chuck Colson: Well, the world has turned upside down. 9-11 changed the world forever. What we wrote about 10 years ago was right in the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain. We were dealing only with the question of our own struggle in our own culture.  9-11 changed so many things. It changed the way people see the world, it changed the way people see good and evil. It changed the way we look at Islam - radical Islam in particular. Terrorism breeds a different environment.

 

So what we did is to go back and to redo about 30 percent of the book in order to accommodate the fact that the church now has a two-front war, not a one-front war. It's not just against our culture at home, but it is also facing militant Islam abroad.

 

There are also differences in the church's influence in American culture. We are making less impact today than I think we were making 10 years ago. In the last 10 years, post-modernism has taken an iron grip on American thinking. We've dealt a lot in the new edition with the issues of truth - how you know it, what it means, why it is so important to us, what the real issues are in modern culture. 

 

Crosswalk.com: In the aftermath of the events in Iraq, it seems this should be a pivotal time for the Body. What can the Church do to take advantage of the current climate?

 

Chuck Colson: The biggest thing that has happened is that there has been a change in the utopian mindset of the '90s. In the '90s, people thought, "Just put money in your 401K and you'll be fabulously rich." There was that incredible book by Francis Fukuyama, The End of History - "Everybody assumed no more wars, no more battles. Western liberal democracy had won the day." I think what happened with 9-11 is that complacency was shattered and everyone came back to reality. President Bush's talk about good and evil has registered with people.