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by Dr. Everett Piper*
Jesus Christ tells us, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” St. Peter adds, that we should “live such good lives among the [non-believers] that, though they accuse [us] of doing wrong, they may see [our] good deeds and glorify God …” And, finally, St. Paul instructs us that our lives should bring light to a dark world by modeling what is “lovely, pure, right, noble, excellent and praiseworthy.”
While some readers may think these admonitions are a bit naïve and even “Sunday schoolish,” it appears their veracity is catching the attention of some unlikely bedfellows.
In his book, Civilization: The West and the Rest, Harvard Professor, Niall Ferguson cites the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (which describes itself as ‘the highest academic research organization in the fields of philosophy and social sciences as well as a national center for comprehensive studies in the People’s Republic of China‘). In summarizing their efforts to understand the past century of Western preeminence, these Chinese scientists state: “We studied everything we could from the historical, political, economic, and cultural perspective [and] we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. That is why the West is so powerful… The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this.”
Matthew Parris, writer for the London paper, The Times, and a self-described homosexual atheist, adds his own, albeit grudging, affirmation of the unique and irrefutable power of Christianity. He recently wrote concerning his research on Africa: “Travelling in Malawi refreshed another belief… an observation I’ve been unable to avoid … It confounds my ideological beliefs [and] stubbornly refuses to fit my world view… In Africa Christianity changes people’s hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good… Removing Christian evangelism from the African equation may leave the continent at the mercy of a malign fusion of Nike, the witch doctor, the mobile phone and the machete.”
And finally, just this past Sunday, Van Jones, Marxist ideologue and former Obama advisor for Green Energy, adds his surprising affirmation of the Way, the Truth and the Life of Christ: “Something is happening here in Charleston, and… people on the street — white people on the street here — are showing more courage and more leadership and more honesty than I’ve seen in the halls of Washington, D.C., and they need to be given respect for that and hopefully we can take this spirit forward…[We] have [an] ideology right here behind us of racial reconciliation…”
It is said that even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then and even a broken watch is right twice a day. Likewise, it appears that even those who deny the power of God find it nearly impossible to ignore Him when pressed to the wall.
In his seminal work, What’s Wrong With the World, G.K. Chesterton admonished us: “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.” In South Carolina we have seen, once again, that whether in China, Cape Town or Charleston, Christianity works and perhaps we should try a bit more of it.