Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Hope of Nations: Standing Strong in a Post-Truth, Post-Christian World Out Today!

John is a prize-winning journalist, a recognized voice in American Christianity, and bestselling author of the books "The Great Evangelical Recession" and "I Am Strong" and the forthcoming "Hope of Nations: Standing Strong in a Post-Truth, Post Christian World."
A Millennial with Biblical convictions and cultural awareness, John is an in-demand conference speaker and has been featured on national TV. His writing has appeared in The New York Times and USA Today,among others. In 2009 Tom Brokaw, Charles Gibson (ABC News) and Anna Quindlen (Newsweek) named his investigative reporting the best in the nation (Livingston Award for Young Journalists).
As a pastor, John has guided individuals and communities through grief and loss. He presently serves as Lead Pastor of Connection Pointe Christian Church in the Indianapolis metro area, where he lives with his wife and children. Learn more at JohnSDickerson.com





For me, the first thing I want to know is the background credentials for writers of non-fiction. Given the journalistic experience, I was especially gratified to have him write Hope of Nations:  Standing Strong in a Post-Truth, Post-Christian World. To me, there is no greater time than now that "Truth" has lost its meaning, nor has it become so apparent, and so destructive. I was ready and willing to read and review this book--it provided me much-needed historical background that, for many of us, had not been so apparent, so explanatory, of the past. Now we are in the midst of a period, which Dickerson projects to be about 30 years, which will affect us all... Can we Stand Strong???


Ideologies are Warring
In our lifetime we are witnessing a new warring of ideologies. within the United States, an emerging Post-Truth ideology is at war against the old Truth-Based ideology. Because we live in an ideological civil war, we will focus much of our response...on assuming a Christlike posture within this struggle and its fallout.
...we will further define the Post-Truth and Truth-Based ideologies, as well as explore the conflict between them. In that exploration, we will see evidence that American millennials have recently swung to prefer Soviet-style socialism over traditional American capitalism, according to multiple surveys taken within the last three years. We will also see that 70 percent of American millennials no longer believe that democracy is necessary to accomplish the goal of bettering society.
Combine the new propensity for socialism with the reality that millennials will overtake baby boomers as the largest voting bloc in the next presidential election, 2020. Then add in the trend that each younger generation of Americans (those younger than millennials) values socialism increasingly more, while disdaining capitalism, democracy, and Christianity more, and a clear picture emerges of a nation rapidly changing...
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Yes, this book is about Christianity. But it is so much more. It reaches beyond one religion and explains how the good of this particular belief ideology was used in America to create the type of place that many people came to, for their own freedoms..I believe that most historians will be interested in this writer's perspective of the Post-Christian world in which we now live. Just the fact that many readers will wonder what the author means by "Post-Christian World" makes this a must-read recommendation from me...  

EVERY question that had been on my mind for years is included in this book... Why was there so much violence now--so much prejudice, bias and hatred. This was not the teachings of Jesus...

Why was "entertainment"--most media and even ads--now more sexually-oriented and violent than ever before...while people not seeing a correlation with sex trafficking, rape and domestic violence, child abuse, and more... And why, right now, could "Fake News" even exist?! As the Freedom of the Press has been slammed left and right, and even those in journalism placed in danger...


The book's response is quite simple, if we would have stopped to think about it on a routine basis. And actually realized where we were heading, perhaps Christians would have come out of their communities and seen what was happening in the world...and...acted.. For me, I was first upset when prayer was taken out of schools, Christ was taken out of Christmas and Easter... A Madeline O'Hara could result in just these beginning actions and power began to shift to individual demands without regard to the common good... My concern began to ferment... I became agitated but, life, home and work went on, and attention drifted to meeting basic needs...

But even though I had worked on a university campus for nearly all my life, I was shocked as to how much had been done to eliminate... God... from our educational institutions. That is, from our history, how the government was formed, and what was the foundation of our beliefs and decisions. Indeed much of the history we were taught left out many issues of importance, even in lower grades... And then Civics was eliminated and many were left without knowing the founding principles of our country!

Indeed Dickerson goes back to the point when most of the world had been based upon the principles taught by Christians--even the most known, The Golden Rule, the Sermon on the Mount, The Ten Commandments, all of which were part of our heritage in America, had been...deleted...


And the first real, very visible result was that Hitler took power. Prejudice, hate became the reality and death soon followed... Germany had turned away from Christianity, as did other countries...

Dickerson quickly points out, however, that God's love, taught by Jesus, was for all... Love Your Enemies; Do good to those that hate you...  Love Thy Neighbor... With the loss of use of these teachings, people began to follow their own emotions, without guidance, without a moral framework... Truth became...your personal opinions, no longer necessarily based upon Facts... Greed, a thirst for power and self-awareness, together with selfishness and hate toward others, started taking root...

Who among us who grew up in solid Christian homes did not begin to see what had begun, just bu watching television and, seeing, now just how many shows are out there that are not suitable for children, especially, and questionable for adults...

Hope of Nations is footnoted and reveals a major research effort in creating the book. All notes and references are included at the end of the book and could certainly be a useful tool for researchers on the subjects covered.

After an Introduction on understanding our new reality in this world, the book is divided into three parts: What is happening and Why, Where will it Lead?, and How will we live? The third part is somewhat repetitive for those who have been in church-related activities most of their lives. But, given the change in the surrounding world, they are even more important to consider at this time. 

One of the more important chapters for me was related to training our young...After realizing how much information is out there and that basic principles of religious conduct is no longer present in daily life. Seeing just one example for me, the emphasis on music and entertainment can easily be now considered in relation to a scripture from Deuteronomy: "Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them..." At a time when more people attend concerts, athletic events, et.al., than worship services, it is clear that our young people give more credence to music and movies than learning about Christian truth.


Les we forget, it was Jesus who said, "The reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." If we lose the doctrine of Scripture, we not only abandon being on Jesus' side in the great struggle, but we also lose the ability to even know what His side looks like--since His words are recorded in Scripture.
God reminds us repeatedly that the violent conflicts of human history are waged in the battlefield of ideas: "For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ."
And again God warns us, "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive...not lovers of the good...conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God--having a form of godliness by denying its power...


At the same time, we are reminded of God's Love for all mankind. This is emphasized in a chapter on "Dignifying All People," opening with a quote from Colossians 3: ...Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

...we resolve to dignify all people--no matter their race, self-identification, hostility toward us, or religious creed. We will treat all people as inherently valuable--made in the image of God and eternally valuable to Him. All people are eternally valuable to us. We will treat people with dignity and respect. We will be kind. We will be thoughtful. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we will be patient, gentle, forgiving, slow in anger, and abounding in love and faithfulness...
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In my opinion, this is an important book.  I sincerely hope you will consider this book as a basis to reconsider your own personal role in today's world. Let God's words speak to your heart related to what is happening... Today... Highly recommended...




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