In one of the world’s great ironies, the Christian faith contributed decisively to the rise of the modern world, but has been undermined decisively by the modern world it helped to create. The Christian faith has become its own gravedigger. In the 25 years since philosopher and social critic Os Guinness first published The Gravedigger Files, much has happened: the fall of the Soviet Union, the rise of the computer age, the reemergence of China and India, the rise of Islamic terrorism, and the worldwide revitalization and politicization of religion. The central mystery of Dr. Guinness’s spy novel inspired by his affection for John le Carré thrillers remains unsolved: Can Christians regain the full integrity of faith in Christ while fully and properly engaged in the advanced modern world? This new edition of The Last Christian on Earth, which includes previously unpublished top-secret memos, is Dr. Guinness’s parable about the future of the Christian church in the West. Written in the grand tradition of le Carré, Fleming, and Clancy, this thriller pays homage to the genre while transcending it–because the real-life ending has yet to be written!
The American Hour: A Time of Reckoning and the Once and Future Role of Faith
The American Hour is a searching assessment of the strength of the American republic at the end of what has been called the “American Century.” In an incisive analysis, Os Guinness examines the ways in which the current crisis of cultural authority strikes at the heart of American identity. As he shows, this crisis has occurred because America’s beliefs, traditions, and ideals – civic as well as religious – are losing their power to shape the private and public lives of countless Americans. He first charts this growing crisis in America’s moral and cultural order, tracing its roots early in this century to the first open phase of conflict, which began to build in the fifties and climaxed in the cultural revolution of the sixties. He goes on to examine the subsequent conservative counter-revolution, focusing throughout on the impact of this crisis on three areas vital to the health of the republic – on American identity, as in the currently contested notion of what it means to be an American; American public philosophy, including the now controversial relationship of religion and public life; and American republican character, including our distinctive emphasis on the importance of the “habits of the heart.”
Guinness also examines the historical role of religion in American society and its integral function in American public life. He explores how religion came to lose its power as a vital shaping force of America’s moral and cultural order, and he considers the consequences of this loss. He then establishes four scenarios that range from the continued decline of religion in public life to a resurgence of faith, showing how each possible outcome could affect American society in the upcoming century. Examining closely the recent controversies over religion and politics, Guinness concludes by setting forth a vision of how we can move beyond these struggles and provide America’s diverse faiths with a revitalized and constructive role in public life.
Last Call for Liberty: How America’s Genius for Freedom Has Become Its Greatest Threat
The hour is critical. The American republic is suffering its gravest crisis since the Civil War.Conflicts, hostility, and incivility now threaten to tear the country apart. Competing visions have led to a dangerous moment of cultural self-destruction. This is no longer politics as usual, but an era of political warfare where our enemies are not foreign adversaries, but our fellow citizens.
Yet the roots of the crisis are deeper than many realize. Os Guinness argues that we face a fundamental crisis of freedom, as America’s genius for freedom has become her Achilles’ heel. Our society’s conflicts are rooted in two rival views of freedom, one embodied in “1776” and the ideals of the American Revolution, and the other in “1789” and the ideals of the French Revolution. Once again America has become a house divided, and Americans must make up their minds as to which freedom to follow. Will the constitutional republic be restored or replaced?
This grand treatment of history, civics, and ethics in the Jewish and Christian traditions represents Guinness’s definitive exploration of the prospects for human freedom today. He calls for a national conversation on the nature of freedom, and poses key questions for concerned citizens to consider as we face a critical chapter in the American story. He offers readers a checklist by which they can assess the character and consequences of the freedoms they are choosing.
In the tradition of Alexis de Tocqueville, Guinness provides a visitor’s careful observation of the American experiment. Discover here a stirring vision for faithful citizenship and renewed responsibility, not only for the nation but also for the watching world.
Prophetic Untimeliness: A Challenge to the Idol of Relevance
The buzz among evangelicals today is about relevance and reinvention, about new ways of “doing church” through revising, innovating, borrowing, mixing, and experimenting. Yet, says Os Guinness, in our uncritical pursuit of relevance, Christians have actually become irrelevant. By our determined efforts to redefine ourselves in ways that are more in line with the modern world than are faithful to Christ, we have lost not only our identity but our authority and significance. Prophetic Untimeliness addresses this issue by giving practical, constructive solutions for living with integrity in the midst of modern pressures. Guinness explores what it means to be both faithful and relevant, and how to be truly relevant without being trivial or trendy. Readers will be challenged to develop “resistance thinking,” an approach inspired by C. S. Lewis that balances the uncomfortable truths of the gospel with the pursuit of relevance. Only by being true to Christ and living with integrity and wisdom will we meet the needs of a world that is hungry for some really good news.