Dear CRI Partner:
You’ve made a real difference this year.
And that matters to a lot of people.
I’m one of those people. And I want to tell you why your partnership has mattered.
It will come as no surprise that we live in dizzying times. In fact, the “3 Ss” of change – the speed, the scale, and the simultaneity of change on multiple fronts – constitute a virtual tsunami that has swept away spiritual and moral pillars that stood for centuries.
In fact, for growing numbers of educated Americans, talk of “truth” today is naïve and amusing if not downright annoying. They don’t even think such a thing exists.
What Robert Bella has called “ontological individualism,” the belief that the individual is the only source of meaning, has swept away any notion of an external, transcendent source of meaning or morality.
The truth be told, our current dilemma echoes the ancient lament of Dio Chrysostom (A.D. 40-120) who said, “Like men with sore eyes: they find the light painful, while the darkness, which permits them to see nothing, is restful and agreeable.”
More recently, Russell Kirk has captured our modern plight poignantly:
A good many people fret themselves over the rather improbable speculation that the earth may be blown asunder by nuclear weapons. The grimmer and more immediate prospect is that men and women may be reduced to a sub-human state through limitless indulgence in their own vices – with ruinous consequences to society.
The good news, however, is that despite the growing spiritual and moral darkness and ominous cultural storm clouds on the horizon, believers like you are making a genuine difference.
How? By equipping fellow believers at home and abroad to be winsome and credible witnesses to the life-transforming power of the resurrected Christ.
Here at home, where millions have blindly chugged the spiritually lethal Kool-Aid of materialism, relativism, and unbridled hedonism, growing numbers of Christians have been equipped through your support to dismantle these philosophically flimsy arguments and lay bare the spiritual and moral bankruptcy that is their inevitable and constant companion.
Through the Bible Answer Man broadcast, the Christian Research Journal, and a website bursting with both scholarly and practical resources, your support has enabled CRI to ensure that followers of Christ are not left looking like deer in the headlights with mere “But the Bible says…” defenses of the faith.
Just as no nation in its right mind would ever send its troops onto a battlefield with insufficient weapons and ammo, neither can Christians afford to be facing the sophisticated arguments of militant secularists with intellectual pea shooters!
Today’s increasingly hostile assaults on the Christian faith, morality, and decency can’t be met with pious platitudes or saccharin sentimentality. And that’s why CRI has spent more than 55 years building an apologetics arsenal for the spiritual wars in which we’re now engaged.
Quite simply, anyone who ventures out on today’s battleground for perspectives on reality should be armed with the very best philosophical, intellectual, and spiritual weapons available!
Abroad, your prayers and partnership have touched lives literally around globe.
- In Jerusalem where I spoke at the Christ at the Checkpoint conference.
- In South Korea where I spoke to thousands and was able to correct chronic misperceptions that were hurting fellow Christians.
- In Thailand, where I was able to once again train missionaries who are playing a critical role in discipling thousands of Christians in China’s home churches. (Less than ½ of one percent of the pastors of these home churches have any theological education, so the needs are nothing short of desperate.)
- In Singapore, where pastors of many denominations and growing numbers of Christian businesspeople are awakening to a vision of how to use their vast economic and spiritual resources to help bring renaissance to the West and critically needed discipleship resources to the Global South.
Why does this matter? For several reasons:
First, Western intellectual, cultural, and political elites have utterly “missed the memo” in their condescending and misguided scorn of religion. As the eminent historian Christopher Dawson has noted,
We are only just beginning to understand how intimately and profoundly the vitality of a society is bound up with its religion. It is the religious impulse which supplies the cohesive force which unifies a society and a culture. The great civilizations of the world do not produce religions as a kind of cultural by-product; in a very real sense, the great religions are the foundations on which the great civilizations rest. A society which has lost its religion sooner or later becomes a society which has lost its culture.
In short, this means that although the sun is setting on the Western church, we dare not go silently into the night. Five hundred years of Western civilization, undergirded and enlightened by a Judeo-Christian worldview, cannot be abandoned without a fight. The consequences would simply be catastrophic.
Second, an unprecedented explosion of growth in the Christian church has taken place in the Global South. Yet literally millions of these brothers and sisters are mere “tumbleweed” Christians. Lacking any genuine roots in biblical faith due to a scarcity of discipleship resources, they are easily blown about by even the breezes of aberrant teaching and doctrine.
That’s why, with the support and partnership of friends like you, CRI is preparing to increase our “Going Global” initiative and along with this the number of CRI materials available in Spanish and Mandarin. (I’ll mention in passing that the United States is now the second largest Spanish speaking country in the world. This represents not only an incredibly fertile field for evangelism and discipleship, but also an enormous resource to help reach the hundreds of millions of native Spanish speakers in the Global South.)
Third, we have only three basic options here, only one of which is Christian:
1) We can yield to a siege mentality and wring our hands as we retreat in disillusionment, dismay, and despair to eventual surrender;
2) In bewilderment and fear of futility we can yield to complacency and indifference and simply do nothing;
3) We can stand courageously as Christians have for centuries to be bright beacons of light and pillars of hope to a world that desperately needs the riches of the gospel that we have been called to share with them.
Will we ultimately win this fight? Some say it’s already lost. Others say the outcome is dubious at best.
But I say with faith, “Yes we will!” We can, but only because He can!
Because our faith is a path we patiently walk rather than a fortress we militantly defend, we are called to be faithful and fruitful in our witness despite the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
Let us take heart this Christmas season that despite the sour cynics, gloom-and-doomers, and “impossibility thinkers,” the Power working in us, through us, and with us is infinitely unfathomable! And let’s realize, as G.K. Chesterton noted, that appearances are often deceiving:
“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.”
Because your partnership and “ABCD” gifts (Above and Beyond the Call of Duty) this time of year are especially important, I pray you’ll do all you can to stand with me as we seek to strengthen and expand CRI’s life-changing outreaches.
And as we celebrate the matchless gift of the Incarnation – Immanuel, God with us – let us also remember the high calling and the privilege we have of continuing to incarnate the Power that continues to make all things new:
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3.20
Because so much is at stake in the lives of so many, please take just a moment to prayerfully consider a special Christmas or year-end gift today that can be genuinely transformational.
May you have a richly blessed Christmas and New Year, and may you be greatly encouraged by knowing that lives are being changed daily because of your partnership!
Because Life and Truth really do matter…
P.S. In appreciation for your special Christmas gift in what is the most important month of the year for CRI, I’d like to send you your choice of three hand picked resources. I’m confident that each or all will be a blessing to you just as you continue to be a blessing to me and to the countless lives touched by your generosity and faithfulness.