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Authors by the dozen

"Authors by the dozen" Continued...

Issue: "Summer Books 2002," July 7, 2002

Q: You've spent a lot of time talking about how the church has fallen victim to secular trends, even while trying to transform society for Christ. Why do you suppose this happens?
A: The story of the Old Testament is that of people falling victim to the religious pluralism around them, so this kind of spiritual capitulation is nothing new. What is perhaps different is the degree to which today's culture is intrusive-meeting us in the workplace, on television, in the hundreds of ads we see each day, and in movies. And it is seductive. Clearly, the evangelical church is not building the kind of steel-like character that can resist the temptations modern life brings along with its many benefits.

John Piper pastors Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minn. His massive literary output includes such books as Desiring God, Future Grace, and The Dangerous Duty of Delight (Multnomah). He also co-edited Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism (Crossway).

Q: You say that believers, especially pastors, face a society where Christ's supremacy is taken more and more as an offense. Should this change the way Christians present the faith?
A: There should be a relentless Christ- and cross-centeredness, lest the offense of the cross be neglected (and Jesus be made to fit into the pantheon of gods that the world will happily endorse). We should make explicit that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one comes to the Father by Him (John 14:6), and that there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12), and that he who does not have the Son does not have life (1 John 5:12), and that this uniqueness of Jesus is the best news in all the world, for there is no other savior who provides forgiveness and righteousness freely through faith alone.

Q: You write that America's response to 9/11 was tarnished by an odd ecumenicism between Christians and Muslims. What was wrong with this?
A: Islam denies that Christ was crucified and that He rose from the dead. It claims to esteem Christ as a prophet more highly than Christians because they don't believe God would give Him up to a criminal's death. There is no more serious attack on the essence and heart of the Christian faith than this. If Christ has not died for our sins and risen again, there is no forgiveness, no justification, no reconciliation, no salvation, no gospel, and no hope. Therefore to stand with a Muslim as if Christians and Muslims are both savingly related to the same God is to undermine the gospel and deny Christ.

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