When I originally wrote this book more than twenty-five years ago, the winds of the “me generation” were blowing a strong and deadly virus through the culture.
The cultural revolution that had taken root in the 1960s was beginning to reach full flower, as seen in the abandonment of traditional values and moral standards in almost every sector.
“Do your own thing” became the slogan that guided choices and behaviors, closely aligned with “I gotta be me!” and “I owe it to myself.”
The virus of relativism was blowing in the wind, along with a virulent secularism determined to propel any remnants of biblical Christianity out of the public square.
It was period of time marvelously captured in a biblical statement that serves as a description slogan for a period in Israel’s history known as the time of the judges: “Everyone did what was right in his (or her) own eyes.”
Even at my most pessimistic moments back then, I would not have imaged that things could or would unravel as quickly or as drastically as they have.
We have experienced a cultural “perfect storm,” due to the convergence of forces such as moral relativism, aggressive pluralism, determined secularism, “do it yourself” spirituality, and libertarian individualism, aided by the technological realities of the information age.
The implications for followers of Jesus Christ are obvious.
We cannot hermetically seal ourselves from the spirit of the age so that we live in splendid isolation from it.
In fact, we must not.
First, our sovereign Lord calls us to live in the world for His glory, and monasticism and isolationism are not biblical options.
Our mandate from the risen Christ prohibits retreat.
Besides, the attempt is futile. There is no place to hide. Virtually every segment of modern culture has become a carrier of values alien to those of the kingdom of Christ.
We confront the open expression of these anti-Christian values in academia, the media or the entertainment industry; commonly in the operations of our daily life that bring us into constant contact with lifestyles we are expected not merely to tolerate or accept, but to celebrate; and less directly in spheres of commerce and technology.
Sadly, the spirit of the age often takes its most deadly form when it is absorbed into the professing Christian community.
Much more than I want to admit, many Christians live, act, and choose as if God’s Word had never been written.
How do we live in a society without fixed standards, a society daily becoming more secular and pagan?
God’s call is clear: “Prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life” (Phil. 2:15-17 NASB).
These are important verses.
They remind us that we are not simply to survive the moral confusion and spiritual anarchy that surrounds us, somehow staying unpolluted by the world.
We are also to shine, reflecting the glory of the Lord Jesus to a world that desperately need to see Him.
In other words, we are not just to be good in the midst of evil.
We are not even just to be good for something, serving others.
We are to be agents of our King, pressing His kingdom and its values into our culture and forming communities that are outposts of his kingdom, demonstrating to the world another, and a better, way to live life. (Gary Inrig, “Hearts of Iron, Feet of Clay,” 7-8)