We've been carrying Understanding the Times since the mid-1990s. The first edition was a 900-page tome comparing Christianity to competing worldviews. It was good; it was quite thorough; but it was overwhelming! In 2006 Summit Ministries published a second edition, trimming the size down to 500 pages and including two worldviews that had not been included before: Islam and postmodernism. They also created a curriculum to accompany the text, and we were very happy to carry that for nearly ten years.
The third edition has now been crafted by a team from Summit Ministries. While it hasn't gotten any longer, they've worked hard to make it more understandable and clear. It has a new introductory chapter (read it here) which outlines the six major competing worldviews impacting our world. The rest of the book demonstrates those worldviews in action, showing how they shape ten basic disciplines—ten foundational ways of looking at the world.
The goal of Understanding the Times is to help Christian students recognize the significance of some of the most influential yet damaging ideas and values prevalent in our non-Christian culture and to understand the unbiblical, unrealistic, even irrational assumptions about reality from which they arise. If we understand the real differences between the biblical Christian worldview and the Secular, Marxist, Cosmic (New Age), Postmodern, and Islamic worldviews we will be better prepared to love, live, and defend God's truth as revealed in the Bible and in His Creation. A clear understanding of these six worldviews will not only help protect us from deception by grounding us more firmly in the Christian faith, but it will also give us tools to more effectively witness for Christ in these conflicting times.
This book is a landmark guide to understanding the ideas and forces that are shaping our times. From Christianity to Islam to Humanism to Marxism to the New Age to Postmodernism, Understanding the Times provides Christians with a readable, comprehensive treatment of the most significant religious worldviews operating in Western Civilization.
Also Available: Summit offers an app which includes videos and questions to accompany this text.
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