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Wheaton, Illinois All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher, except as provided for by USA copyright law. Being a witness to the Gospel in our day and age is becoming increasingly difficult. As the world rushes into and enters a new millennium, evangelical Christianity has reached a crossroads, especially here in the United States.

After being influenced for some years with strong biblical Christianity, our country has been rapidly declining, especially during the last half of the twentieth century and moving into the twenty-first. Practical atheism and moral relativism have dominated our society in recent decades. For the most part the few vestiges of Christianity still reflected in our culture are weak and compromising.

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Although many parts of our culture still wear some sort of religious mask, in reality it is largely pagan. For a brief period, the spiritual revival of the s that swept across the campuses of many colleges and universities seemed to promise a new day of blessing. Mass baptisms were conducted in rivers, lakes, and the ocean. Several new versions of the English Bible were released. Christian publishing and broadcasting experienced remarkable growth. Certainly an undeniable wind of the Spirit was blowing.

But that evangelical revival soon slowed and was overshadowed by the greed and debauchery of the eighties and nineties. From government leaders and celebrities right on down to average people, much of society became openly disparaging of biblical standards of morality and of Christianity as a whole. As a result, America adopted not only a non-Christian but a distinctly anti-Christian stance and agenda, with the state often encroaching on religious freedoms, instituting policies that are blatantly anti-Christian.

Understandably, evangelicals became resentful of this secular trend, appalled that biblical standards of ethics could be so blatantly rejected while vulgarity, profanity, and blasphemy were not only condoned but admired. In reaction, many well-meaning Christian leaders founded organizations to counteract such anti-Christian inroads. They declared war on the prevailing secular culture, especially on the liberal national media. This culture war has been essentially an effort to moralize the unconverted.

But the end result of such an approach is that many Christians became hostile to unbelievers—the very ones God called them to love and reach with the Gospel. At the beginning of , a major battle in the culture war took place. The Bill Clinton impeachment hearings, conducted by the highest level of leadership in our nation, were in reality a referendum on the culture war.

But what began as outrage against immorality, deception, and abuse of power ended rather abruptly without any punishment or even censure. May I suggest that the culture war, at least as we know it, is now over. The impeachment process gave us a clear indication of where our culture stands—and we have discovered that it refuses to follow a biblical morality.

Our responsibility is redemptive, not political. We do not have a moral agenda; we have a redemptive agenda.

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The cause of Christ cannot be protected or expanded by social intimidation any more than by government decree or military conquest. Ours is a spiritual warfare against human ideologies and beliefs that are set up against God, and those can be successfully conquered only with the weapon of the Word of God see 2 Cor.

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We can change society only by faithfully proclaiming the Gospel, which changes lives from the inside out. The single divine calling of the church is to bring sinful people to salvation through Christ. If we do not lead the lost to salvation, nothing else we do for them, no matter how beneficial at the time, is of any eternal consequence. How to go about doing that is what this book is about. In the first century, Christians faced a much more antagonistic culture than ours. They lived in a world of murderous tyrants, gross inequality and injustice, and sexual looseness and perversion.

The apostle Peter knew how difficult it was for believers, especially new converts who were being persecuted for their faith, to face such a culture. They were like foreigners living without a permanent home or citizenship. That is also our standing, and we need to have that perspective when interacting with a culture that will become increasingly hostile to our faith.

To encourage all believers in such circumstances, Peter wrote, Keep your behavior excellent among the [unsaved], so that. We silence our adversaries by disproving their accusations and doing right—by living godly lives. Scandalous conduct fuels the fires of criticism, but godly living extinguishes them. But along with that, Peter also encourages believers to always be ready to make a defense to every one who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence 1 Pet.

When society attacks, we need to be prepared to make a defense. The Greek term translated defense often speaks of a formal defense in a court of law. But the apostle Paul also used the word in the informal sense of being able to answer anyone who questioned him Phil. Furthermore, always in 1 Peter indicates that a believer should be prepared to answer in all situations, not just in the legal sphere.

Whether formally in an official setting or informally to anyone who might inquire, we must be ready to provide an answer about the hope that is in [us]. And that hope refers to the Christian faith.

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Thus we should be able to give a rational explanation of our salvation and Christian faith. We are to explain our faith with gentleness and reverence. We should maintain a tender and gracious attitude in speaking. Gentleness speaks of meekness or humility and refers to power under control. Reverence refers to a kind of fear that involves a healthy devotion to God, a healthy regard for truth, and a healthy respect for the person being spoken to. When a witness takes the stand in an American courtroom, he is asked to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

My goal in this book is to show you how to do that—how to uphold our precious Gospel in the midst of this doubting age. Daniel I. Biblical Prophecy. John H. Jerry Bridges. Holman New Testament Commentary - Matthew. Max Anders. Second Corinthians- Everyman's Bible Commentary. Robert Hughes. Shepherd's Notes: Romans. Dana Gould. New Covenant Christianity.

Don Dumont. Iain M. I Love You! Matthew Debord. Paul's Journey Letters. Christopher R. Shepherd's Notes: Hebrews. Questions About Jesus Christ. Michael Houdmann. Jack W. Philippians and Colossians.

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    Making All Things New. Benjamin L. Beyond the Lectionary. David Ackerman. The Kingdom of God in the 21St Century. Ty Allen Ed. Reading the New Testament for the First Time. Ronald J. Reading Romans with John Stott. John Stott. The Gospel According to Matthew. Barbara E. Reid OP. We are Called for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Dr Norman King. Grant R. The Church of the Open Door. Final Word. John MacArthur.

    The MacArthur Bible Commentary. Why Believe the Bible? Strange Fire. Twelve Ordinary Men. The MacArthur Bible Handbook. The Second Coming.

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