Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The Pastor’s Perspective
“Five Books for Unbelievers”
First Published: July 9, 2002
A friend just asked me a very good question, “If you could get an unbeliever to read just one book (other than the Bible), what book would it be?” Now, I don’t think that there is just one right answer to that question. Indeed, knowing the person to whom the book is to be given will say a lot about what we choose to give. Nevertheless, in response, I suggested two books and then emailed a friend to see what he would say. I was confirmed in my two suggestions and got three more recommendations to boot. Here they are: John R. W. Stott’s Basic Christianity, C.S. Lewis’, Mere Christianity, John Piper’s The Pleasures of God, John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, and J.I. Packer’s Knowing God.
I pass these along to you as suggestions. Friends, you need to get into Gospel conversations with people, especially pagans, and then challenge them to think and read. Furthermore, I invite you to send to me your recommendations on books that you would give to seekers.
I just got a disturbing message from one of our excellent missionary church planters. It will give you a taste of the political climate in Sweden in which he and his colleagues are faithfully trying to minister the Gospel in fidelity to the Scriptures (and, unfortunately, it may also provide a foretaste of things to come here in the US). Sweden’s Parliament has just moved to criminalize opposition to homosexuality (this information comes from a correspondent named Bob Kellogg).
“The Swedish government is moving toward prohibiting Christians from voicing biblical positions on issues. The Swedish Parliament has moved to within one step of changing the nation's constitution to ban speech or materials opposing homosexuality and any other alternate lifestyles. If the amendment becomes reality, violators could be subject to prison sentences.
“Swedish lawmakers narrowly approved the constitutional amendment last week. Annalie Enochson, a Christian member of Parliament, said the homosexual lobby in Sweden is small but powerful. She noted the measure passed with only 56 percent of the vote.
“‘Usually, if you change the constitution it should be nearly everybody. I mean, it should be about 80 or 90 percent,’ Enochson said. ‘Fifty-six is very, very low.’
“The amendment must be voted on again after elections this September. If it passes again, it would become effective next January. Enochson said under the amendment, Christians could be arrested for speaking out in churches.
“‘That means people coming from (the homosexual) lobby group could sit in our churches having on the tape recorder and listen to somebody and say, “What you're saying now is against our constitution.”’
“She said anyone convicted of violating the constitutional amendment could spend six months to four years in jail. Enochson added pro-homosexual activists will soon be lobbying to make homosexual marriages and adoption legal in Sweden.
“Bob Knight, who heads the Culture and Family Institute at Concerned Women for America, predicted the United States will soon have similar laws. ‘The Swedish example should be a wake-up call to the rest of the world that the real intent is to criminalize Christianity,’ Knight said.”
I share this with you, not to scare you or to make you mad, but to warn. We need to be mindful of anti-Gospel cultural forces. We need to be lovingly, lawfully and Christianly engaging them. And, of course, we need to be urgent in our proclamation of the Gospel – thankful that we can still do so legally, for now.
Posted by Ligon Duncan at 11:21 AM