tothesource: Why did you choose the title, The Sky Is Not Falling: Living Fearlessly in These Turbulent Times, for your new book?
Chuck Colson: The book title actually came out of an article by the same name I wrote many years ago. It also is critically important for Christians to understand that when times are tough, Christians have always done their best—ministering to the sick and dying during the plagues in ancient Rome, taking up the cause of the oppressed during the abolition movement, manning the soup kitchens and caring for the homeless during the Depression, and so much more. Also, we Christians can never give in to despair. Despair is a sin that denies the sovereignty of God. The book is a call for Christians to rise up and fight our culture's moral decline and illustrates how the Church holds the answer to many of the social problems plaguing our society.
tts: Why is it important for Christians to fight America¹s cultural decline?
Colson: I think it’s critical that now, of all times, Christians seek to rebuild a culture of life, truth, and beauty. And while every Christian citizen has a duty to vote and participate in our representative democracy, we can’t fall prey to the political illusion—that politics or our elected officials will save us. They won’t. The history of the 20th century proved that, with all kinds of utopian schemes—including communism, Nazism and socialism—unleashing so much misery on the world. Elections or not, we’re witnessing the moral bankruptcy and decline of Western culture, and we, the Church, need to get out of the pews and into the public square, showing the world a better way.
We evangelical Christians have always focused on—and do pretty well with—the Great Commission: Going into all the world and evangelizing. We tend to forget, however, that there is a cultural commission we have from God to bring Truth to bear in all areas of life.
Genesis tells us that for five days, God created the universe. On the sixth day, He created human beings -- and ordered them to pick up where He left off. They were to reflect His image and have dominion. The same command binds Christians today. We raise families, till the earth, plant crops, build cities, form governments, and create works of art: We create culture.
tts: Why is it important for Christians to engage in the culture?
Colson: Our culture is disintegrating before our very eyes because we have neglected moral training. We need look no further than the latest news headlines to see a world overtaken by greed, corruption, fraud, deceit and scandal.
Our youth have become desensitized to evil and lost sight of what is good, with few personal or public role models for ethical behavior. If left unchecked, this pervasive wrongdoing will soon become the norm.
tts: What do you believe will happen to the United States if Christians don’t engage the culture and defend Christianity?
Colson: My chief concern is that we will lose our freedoms if we don’t speak out. We already see evidence of an Administration openly hostile to religious influence and freedom of religion. There’s no other explanation for the stance, say, of Health and Human Services on freedom of conscience for religious medical professionals and religious employers concerning health care. I’m pleased to note that the Catholic bishops are speaking out vigorously. Evangelicals and Christians of all stripes had better raise their voices as well—and soon.
I would urge your readers to read and sign the Manhattan Declaration in defense of human life, traditional marriage, and religious freedom.
tts: Why are worldviews important? What are the predominant worldviews
in the United States?
Colson: How we see the world determines how we live in it.
According to a 2009 Barna survey, only 9 percent of American adults have a biblical worldview (Barna Group, 2009) and fewer than one in five Christians (19 percent) has a biblical worldview. Sadly, this percentage has not changed for more than a decade.
If Christians fail to develop a biblical worldview, the future Christian Church will likely have an even more tenuous connection to biblical principles than we see today.
As for other worldviews in America, clearly the number one challenge to the Christian worldview is the secular-naturalistic worldview, which sees the universe and everything in it—including us human beings—as mere cosmic accidents. If there is no God, there can be no moral absolutes. We see the results of that way of thinking all around us.
Globally, the rise of Islamo-fascism should have all free peoples deeply, deeply concerned.
tts: What should Christians do to help reverse the cultural decay?
Colson: I’m convinced that to turn things around, nothing short of an ethics revolution is needed in America today. That’s why I’ve worked to bring together leading experts on ethics and morality—people like Dr. Robert George, Michael Miller, John Stonestreet, Doug DeVos, Alveda King, Ben Stein and other distinguished thought leaders—to create Doing the Right Thing. This movement, and its accompanying six-part DVD series hosted by journalist Brit Hume, features leading thinkers from the fields of business, law, academia, ministry and culture, who take an in-depth exploration of ethics that is aimed at reestablishing the roots of morality in our culture. You can find out more about this ethics movement at www.DoingtheRightThing.com.
tts: Why is it important for Christians to vote, get involved in politics and engage the culture?
Colson: Every Christian has a duty to vote. As Augustine taught in the City of God, we live in both the City of God and the City of Man. While we do not belong to the City of Man, we must be the best of citizens, doing our civic duty not out of compulsion, but out of obedience to God and love of neighbor. We seek to prosper the land in which we live.
I get asked often how we should vote. Is it ok for us to vote, say for a non-Christian? Well, Martin Luther was supposed to have said that he would rather be ruled by a competent Turk than an incompetent Christian. I agree. First and foremost, we look for men and women of integrity and character. Jethro told Moses he was to select “capable men … men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain.”
I should add that Christians are in a unique position to bring common grace to a deeply divided nation and offer something more than brief periods of peace between outbreaks of mortal combat every election cycle. In rejecting ideology and putting the common good first, we offer hope to America's warring political factions.
tts: In the book, you wrote that the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the breakdown in the national economy and other events may foreshadow God’s impending judgment on the U.S. Would you elaborate on this?
Colson: I approach this subject gingerly because it's easy to be misunderstood, and I try to avoid end-times prophecy that makes Christians appear irrelevant to the world. Still, the question must be asked: Can we discern God's purposes in these earthshaking events? Any cataclysmic event can be used by God to get our attention, to turn us from our wicked ways so that we return to Him. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that God used the September 11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and other disasters as signs of judgment. What will save us, then, are not the Marines, satellites, smart bombs, or government policies; the only thing that will save us is deep and genuine repentance.
tts: Former presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry participated last summer in a prayer rally in Texas and called on politicians nationwide to join him in a call for national repentance. Why do you believe this is the only action that will turn around what is happening in the U.S.?
Colson: I honestly don’t know if we are capable of repentance as a nation. We certainly won’t be without a profound movement of the Holy Spirit within the Church, stirring it up, inspiring it to seek to make the Invisible Kingdom visible.
tts: The book offers hope for the future. Why do you believe there is still hope and what should Christians do?
Colson: What should Christians do? Live lives of faith in Christ, love our neighbors, our communities, our nation in His name; and defend the Truth at every turn.
There is no other way.