“…the heart of apologetics is the apologetics of the heart.”
– Os Guinness in Fool’s Talk
My appreciation for Os Guinness grows as I (slowly) read this book. This chapter on the Anatomy of Unbelief is particularly insightful, reminding me of the impact Richard Lovelace (Dynamics of Spiritual Life) had on me years ago when I first encountered his descriptions of the nature of human sin (drawing on Edwards and others). I should also mention David Powlison (as well as his colleagues at CCEF).
These authors have helped me tremendously to develop a (hopefully) more Biblical understanding of the shape of fallen humanity: informed by literature, philosophy, and sociology (Guinness); church history and spirituality (Lovelace); and psychology and all things therapeutic (Powlison).
What is the human person? What does it mean to be fallen? What does it not mean?
Your answers to these questions, consciously or not, fundamentally shapes your entire worldview, not to mention how you process your own life.
I have found that a nuanced Biblical exploration of these questions yields an anthropology – an understanding of the human being – that is compelling and deeply rooted despite being at odds with broader culture and even many common assumptions in the church.
Since every worldview has to explain in some way what is wrong with us, even if it argues that there is nothing wrong with us, then it follows that there are a whole host of competing answers to that question. For example, the popular modern notion is that people are basically good but are taught to be selfish, racist, and hateful by various outside influences. This is why so much hope is placed in externals like education and poverty-alleviation and why we are told to look internally for the source of meaning, purpose, and goodness. It all hangs together.
These deep assumptions are caught more than taught. And the evangelical church, marinating in the culture as it has been, has taken on more than a little of that flavor.