Culture Shift: New book by SBTS president encourages Christians to engage culture biblically

Communications Staff — January 18, 2008

In his new book “Culture Shift: Engaging Current Issues With Timeless Truth,” R. Albert Mohler Jr. compares Christians in America to Aristotle’s fish: they spend all of their time in water, but do not know that they are wet.

In his first full-length book, released this week by Multnomah Books, Mohler, the ninth president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, offers a remedy to Christian obliviousness by calling believers to engage the culture around them with the timeless wisdom of God’s Word.

Instead of influencing the culture for good with the Gospel of Christ, many believers are simply being shaped in destructive ways by the culture, Mohler argues in the book’s preface.

“We are swimming in one of the most complex and challenging cultural contexts ever experienced by the Christian church,” Mohler writes. “Every day brings a confrontation with cultural messages, controversies and products. We are bombarded with advertisements, entertainments, and the chatter of the culture all around us. We are Aristotle’s fish.

“How are Christians to remain faithful as we live in this culture? How should we think about so many of the crucial moral questions of our day? These questions are not merely academic. They will eventually touch every church and every Christian family. Our homes are constantly invaded by the culture all around us. Our children are targeted by advertisers and the marketplace of ideas. Entertainment has become constant—symbolized by the satellite dish and the iPod. There is no place to hide.”

In 20 essays—each comprising an individual chapter—Mohler exemplifies Christian worldview thinking on a number of current issues, ranging from abortion and biomedical ethics to science, pop theology and America’s preoccupation with self.

For example, Mohler spends two chapters on theology in the news and shows the fallout from the dangerous answers that “religious professionals” offered in response to the deadly tsunami that devastated Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka on Dec. 26, 2005. Christians will comfort the suffering only by giving distinctly biblical answers, Mohler argues.

“It is no time for theological hand wringing and evasion when disaster strikes,” Mohler writes.

“A great tragedy like this is often the catalyst for bad theology offered as soothing counsel from religious professionals. But a faithful Christian response will affirm the true character and power of God—His omnipotence and His benevolence. God is in control of the entire universe, and there is not even a single atom outside His sovereignty. At the same time, God’s goodness and love are beyond question. The Bible leaves no room for equivocation on either truth.”

Above all, the irreducible center of Christian living is faithfulness to Christ’s call for His people to be salt and light in the world around them, no matter the issue, Mohler writes. He encourages believers to labor for the eternal city of God even while living in the temporal city of man.

“In the end, the culture and its challenges will pass away,” he writes. “But our Lord has left us here for a reason—as His people, we are to be salt and light in a dying world. My hope is [this book] will assist [the believer] to be faithful to Christ as a concerned and intelligent Christian.”

Mohler also signed a two-book contract with Moody Publishers this week. The first book will focus on preaching Christ to a postmodern culture and is scheduled for release next fall. The topic of the second book has not been determined. It will be released in 2009.

Are you ready to become a pastor, counselor, or church leader who is Trusted for Truth?

Apply now for summer or fall studies

Classes begin in June & Aug.