As a young preacher in a small town, Phil Sanders was one of those “larger than life” preachers. He was a well-known speaker across the nation. He preached for one of the largest congregations in the Nashville area, and he was a man that I looked up to as a model for a minister. And I was audacious enough to call him to invite him to lunch. Mostly, I did not expect he would accept. But he did. In fact, he always would eat lunch with me. He amazed me because he was a humble servant of the Lord. All of his success could have easily gone to his head. Rather he was a balanced minister of Christ.
This ability to remain steadfast in the current culture has provided the ability to speak in his book, A Faith Built on Sand, on one of the most pressing issues facing the church today. There are numerous religious issues facing our congregations across this nation, but one of the underlining influences is postmodernism. Phil Sanders’ first book on this topic was Adift, which was a book before its time. He was one of the first authors to address this pernicious influence in our country and churches. In his second volume on postmodernism, he continues the warning.
A Faith Built on Sand has an intuitive feel. He explains what is happening in our world, while the reader feels a sense of relief because he has been experiencing these dynamics over the last few years. In light of some of the moral changes that happened recently during the last political cycle, such as the legalization of banned substances in Colorado, and the legalization of homosexual marriages in two states, one can quickly point out the direction of this country into increasing moral depravity. In Sanders’ book, he explains why this is happening. He notes this moral confusion in his chapter on Cultural Morality. The moral compass for people is skewed. This is creating a quagmire. On the one hand, a politician will oppose abortion, while at the same time support the women’s freedom to murder the unborn child. There is no consistency in this position (44).
In the next chapter on Playing Church, Sanders grieves the changes in the religious landscape of America. He notes three common developments: a dumbing down, a chilling out, and a having fun culture. All of these themes combine to indicate that God is not taken seriously any longer.
Another insightful chapter is on the changing perception of tolerance. The biggest sin in the present culture is being intolerant. Those who refuse to endorse error, sin, and corruption are being labeled as judgmental, intolerant, and bigots. The culture is doing everything possible to silence the voice of reason from Christians. This breeds the attitude that is mentioned in the chapter on The Vanishing of Heresy. People are condemned for taking a stand for truth. One of the reasons is the subjective nature of truth promoted by false teachers. People believe in direct revelation of the Holy Spirit. Instead of going to the Bible for confirmation, people just rely on “the leading of the Spirit.” When the standard is removed, everything becomes subjective (101).
Phil Sanders does more than highlight the current errors in culture and the church. He provides some foundational steps to help turn the tide for truth. From pages 115 to 117, he gives seven principles to help counteract the influence of postmodern forces. He calls the reader to faithful obedience to the truth, as well as, living in such a way as to allow people to see our true conviction in Christ. This is a rich book full of wisdom for moving forward in the current culture of corruption.
- Lament Back to Faith
- A Strong Faith in a Skeptical World
- A Strong Faith in a Skeptical World–Part Two
- A Strong Faith in a Skeptical World–Part 3
- Review of “How Should We Then Live?”