Os Guinness, author, historian, philosopher, speaker, and cultural critic has been sounding the alarm of the West’s cultural and ethical decline in general and Christianity’s wayward heading and declining cultural influence specifically for decades now. The question then, now more than ever as we are living through a massive shifting moral revolution away from the Judeo-Christian worldview is this: Is this the final sunset of Christianity and its influence in the West?
In Renaissance, Guinness reminds us that this isn’t the first time in the history of the West where Christianity seemed on the brink of destruction. Quoting G.K. Chesteron, Guinness points out, “At least five times the Faith has to all appearances gone to the dogs. In each of these five cases, it was the dog that died (p. 14).”
Guinness shows that Christianity has and can rise from the ashes to once again shape and influence western civilization through the arts, sciences, and the public square. Not all is lost, but there is a warning to be heeded and a path to once again be followed by all those who call themselves Christians.
The warning is that the vast majority of Christians in the West today live lives that mirror the passions, pursuits, sins and idols of the non-believing secular society in which they live. Here there is a call to repentance, followed by a path to follow.
The path, according to Guinness, is simple yet profound… It is the person and teachings of Jesus. As followers of Christ, we must return to Him and follow Him.
In an age when Christians and churches are trying to be relevant by any means possible, Guinness reminds us that our relevance is found not in our hip programs, music, clothes, etc… But in the truth of the gospel. As Christians we are to be “against the world, for the world.” We are to press back on those areas of encroaching cultural darkness with the light of truth and the grace and love of Christ.
The list of my highlighted quotes from this book is as long as any book I’ve read so far this year. While I don’t agree with every single one of Guinness’ conclusion, I would highly encourage followers of Christ to read this book.