Contend Earnestly: How Should We Then Live?

Friday, October 16, 2009

How Should We Then Live?

I have heard so much about this book that I finally had to pick it up and read it because of me love of Schaeffer's earlier works, which you can find my reviews here on those. I am not sure what I was expecting, but what I found was really a regurgitation of earlier works to be adapted to a film series that Schaeffer and his son were going to do. Not that the book was bad, it just wasn't anything new from Schaeffer's earlier works.

The book is based off the passage found in Ezekiel 33:1-11,19 where you will find the title in verse 10 and then the answer to the question in verse 19:

1Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman:
3If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;
4Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.
5He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.
6But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand.
7So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.
8When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
9Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
10Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?
11Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
19But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby.

This book is good for those who have never read Schaeffer. He, as usual, masterfully shows through the rise and decline of nations how their thought of God has been determined and shown it through a nation's art and culture. He walks through early Rome, the Middle Ages, the Reformation, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, etc. to show how the belief in God, or lack thereof, was shown through music, theatrical playwrights, paintings, and even architecture. He really sums up well whole cultures throughout history to show the flow of thought as a whole.

As with all of his books he focuses primarily on the arguments posed by those who ascribe to non-absolutes and shows how this thought has ruined, and will continue to ruin, the reason for man and the value of man. After he shows how these people have portrayed their beliefs in all of culture, he breaks down the reason why the belief in the Christian God makes more sense and is a reality.

Even if one isn't a Christian, the flow of culture that is shown by Schaeffer is not a grind but a real joy to read. He shows this over and over again in all of his books the reality of the impact our cultures have on our thinking and values.

Although I do recommend the book, I would then quickly follow up with his earlier works which give even greater detail. But, I will also say that I enjoyed the fact that this book included pictures of the art and people that Schaeffer spoke about. Usually I would be googling those different aspects of art and film that Schaeffer mentioned because of how much detail he sometimes goes into when referencing different pieces in history. This part I much enjoyed about this book.


Buy from the following:

Crossway Books

Westminster Books


Reforming Baptist said...

Great read! That's a must for anyone in Generation X to understand where they came from and why our generation is so jacked up!!

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