The preface to Charles Colson’s latest book, The Faith, begins with Jude 3: “[I] urge you to contend for the truth that was once for all entrusted to all the saints.” Colson writes:
Would you give your life for a cause you didn’t fully understand? Would you try to convince someone else to join you? No, neither would I…
Most professing Christians don’t know what they believe, and so can neither understand nor defend the Christian faith – much less live it. Many of the things we tell nonbelievers do not represent real Christianity. And most nonbelievers draw their impressions of the Christian faith from the stereotypes and caricatures that popular culture produces.
Colson spends most of the book summarizing the basic truths of Christianity – what C.S. Lewis called “mere Christianity.” One of the last chapters is called “The Joy of Orthodoxy.” He writes:
True Christians understand that the faith was given once for all and is filled with life and excitement…So how in the world do so many people these days talk about the Christian faith and its doctrines as being dry and brittle? You may say it’s frightening, upsetting, life-changing, radical, extreme – but dull and boring, never. Yet that’s what some are saying. How can this be?
Colson lists a few of his answers, and I think he’s right in his diagnosis. Colson also outlines the joy and transformation that comes from grasping the Gospel. It changes everything.
I’m posting about this book today because I think Colson is on to something. Our job just may be to rediscover Biblical orthodoxy, which is a lot more exciting and transforming than we think. Doctrine isn’t just a head-game. The right kind of doctrine will turn our worlds upside down, and if we lose it we’re really left with nothing. We certainly won’t be left with anything that is transformational at any level.
I think we’re seeing a rise in the right type of theologically driven mission – you could call it Gospel-driven mission. It’s exactly what we need. We just need more.