In his regrettably overlooked book, The Gravedigger File, Os Guinness portrays the subversion of the North American church using a literary method similar to C. S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters. (1) In a series of memos a senior intelligence agent trains his successor in the spiritual warfare of undermining Christian impact. Each memo describes a successful strategy to be emulated. One of them he calls "The Sandman Effect." According to this tactic, the junior spy must learn to fool Christians into thinking only the mind matters. This puts them to sleep because they have been lulled into thinking that everyone is a thinker and operates on reason alone, when in fact many other influences are at work. The senior agent points out to his student that a literary or philosophical movement often becomes influential not because specific arguments were carefully studied, but because of cultural factors. For example, the power of revolutionary artists and pundits on the Left Bank of Paris between the two World Wars had as much to do with the European cultural mood and the ambiance of the cafs as with the ideas themselves, which were often less than solid. Christian apologetics which is limited to tight philosophical argument is simply ineffective when the climate is forgotten. This is especially true today, when style is ubiquitous and truth is out of fashion.
William Edgar is professor of apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) and is an accomplished musician.
Issue: "Exploring Mars Hill: Common Ground in Apologetics" March/April 1998 Vol. 7 No. 2 Page number(s): 32-34
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