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D.A. Carson is one of today’s brightest and most prolific evangelical scholars. This collection features two of his most timely works that help Christians speak thoughtfully and live faithfully in a pluralistic world. In The Intolerance of Tolerance, Carson skillfully analyzes the current trend of pluralistic “tolerance,” discusses its development, and offers an enlightening and winsome Christian response. In Christ and Culture Revisited, Carson broaches the perennial Christian struggle of how to be in the world without being of the world. He orients readers to Niebuhr’s classic taxonomy and the current state of the discussion, and provides a practical guide for faithful living in the world.
In the Logos editions, these valuable volumes are enhanced by amazing functionality. Scripture references appear on mouseover in your preferred versions, and citations of other works in your Logos library are linked for instant reference. With the Topic Guide, instantly gather relevant sections from these volumes as you study the relationship between Christianity and culture. Tablet and mobile apps let you take the discussion with you. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.
Tolerance currently occupies a very high place in Western societies: it is considered gauche, even boorish, to question it. In The Intolerance of Tolerance, however, questioning tolerance—or, at least, contemporary understandings of tolerance—is exactly what D. A. Carson does.
Carson traces the subtle but enormous shift in the way we have come to understand tolerance over recent years—from defending the rights of those who hold different beliefs to affirming all beliefs as equally valid and correct. He looks back at the history of this shift and discusses its implications for culture today, especially its bearing on democracy, discussions about good and evil, and Christian truth claims.
Using real-life examples that will sometimes arouse laughter and sometimes make the blood boil, Carson argues not only that the “new tolerance” is socially dangerous and intellectually debilitating but also that it actually leads to genuine intolerance of all who struggle to hold fast to their beliefs.
In these highly contentious times we need a renewed understanding of the meaning of true tolerance. True tolerance means taking our deeply held convictions seriously because understanding our differences actually makes a difference. Disagreements matter. True tolerance means engaging one another with civility and respect despite our differences. It is not incompatible with firm convictions or the desire to persuade others. In this timely book D.A. Carson argues that today true tolerance is not well tolerated. He makes a passionate plea for a recovery of an older form of tolerance, insisting that the existence of disparate views is vastly different from the acceptance of all views being equally valid. Important matters are at stake here, and Carson cogently explains why they are so urgent.
—Michael Cromartie, vice president, Ethics and Public Policy Center
Nothing is more intolerant than a tolerance that requires the absence of all convictions. Don Carson thoughtfully shows how tolerance, once defined as respecting others’ right to hold differing perspectives, has morphed into a pervasive insistence that no one should hold firm convictions. The consequence of such a shift is a challenge to biblical faith that needs a biblical response, which Carson ably provides. In doing so, he gives the biblical basis for true tolerance in a just society and shows the inevitable tyranny of tolerance ill-defined. Not to hear and heed him is to enter a nightmarish world in which zeal to discern truth is replaced by zeal to keep anyone from claiming anything is really true.
—Bryan Chapell, distinguished professor of preaching, Knox Theological Seminary
Sadly, the debate about Christianity has shifted from ‘is it true’ to ‘was anyone offended.’ The Bible assures us that the Gospel message will be offensive, although the Gospel messenger should be loving. Carson has done a masterful job of helping Christian leaders understand how to navigate a cultural context that is increasingly tolerant of seemingly everything but Christian belief.
—Mark Driscoll, preaching and speaking pastor, Mars Hill Church
Called to live in the world, but not to be of it, Christians must maintain a balancing act that becomes more precarious the further our culture departs from its Judeo-Christian roots. How should members of the church interact with such a culture, especially as deeply enmeshed as most of us have become?
D.A. Carson applies his masterful touch to this problem. He begins by exploring the classic typology of H. Richard Niebuhr with its five Christ-culture options. Carson proposes that these disparate options are in reality one still larger vision. Using the Bible’s own story line and the categories of biblical theology, he clearly lays out that unifying vision. Carson acknowledges the helpfulness of Niebuhr’s grid and similar matrices but warns against giving them canonical force.
More than just theoretical, Christ and Culture Revisited is also designed practically to help Christians untangle current messy debates on living in the world. Carson emphasizes that the relation between Christ and culture is not limited to an either/or cultural paradigm—Christ against culture or Christ transforming culture. Instead Carson offers his own paradigm in which all the categories of biblical theology must be kept in mind simultaneously to inform the Christian worldview.
While many other books on culture interact with Niebuhr, none of them takes anything like the biblical-theological approach adopted here. Groundbreaking and challenging, Christ and Culture Revisited is a tour de force.
Don Carson here writes clearly, carefully, and helpfully about the timely topic of how Christians should engage culture. Well-suited to write such a volume, Carson exposes and explodes ‘egregious reductionisms’ which he says too often afflict Christians. We can’t reduce the relationship of Christ and culture to one model (Niebuhrian or otherwise). Reading this book has sharpened my own understanding. So buy the book you’re holding. Read it. Pass it along to folks in your congregation. And reduce ‘egregious reductionisms’!
—Mark Dever, senior pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church
There is no more crucial issue facing us today than the relationship of the church and the Gospel to contemporary culture. Don Carson’s treatment of this issue is the most balanced one out there. Rather than grinding an axe or pushing his own paradigm, he listens carefully to the Scripture and brings us in the end to a sophisticated simplicity about these matters. I highly recommend this book.
—Tim Keller, pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church
Make room on the shelf for this penetrating book by Carson . . . Carson engages with a stunning range of writers and texts.
D.A. Carson is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He has written or edited more than 50 other books, including The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism and Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church.
Jean Claude Petit