‘That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting’ (Ephesians 4:14).
With the publishing side of the ministry of ByFaith Media growing, brothers Paul and Mathew Backholer addressed some erroneous narratives of our time. The past may be behind, laid bare in facts, but an alternative narrative is being constructed by those with post-Christian motives. “We publish books and produced videos that challenge the narrative about Christianity in the media,” said Mathew Backholer.
Paul’s first book How Christianity Made the Modern World took four years to research and identifies how Christianity is a powerful force for good in establishing the freedoms of our age.
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History is written by the victors. When cultures collide, those in the ascendancy undermine, demolish and attempt to obliterate the memory of the other. In an age of secular thinking, political correctness and bias have shaped the rewriting of the historical narrative. Our Christian heritage is being rewritten and the brothers sensed the urgency to produce a counter-narrative.
“From Bible College days we learnt the importance of reading old books from other periods,” said Paul Backholer. “If your reading is only from the present age, you lose the bigger picture. You become a prisoner to the thinking of one age and culture. We need to stand apart from our peers and their short-lived preoccupations.”
When Paul began reading from the works of St Augustine (354-430), he discovered two things: the common human experience with Augustine, as he struggled with the conflict of choosing prayer or going to the theatre. Second, how one’s generational worldview shapes our reading of the Bible. “There are lessons to learn from someone who walked with Christ in another century,” said Paul.
Understanding history and the different ways generations thought enables one to stand back from the madding crowd. We become aware we’re stuck in the mud of our time and the need to free ourselves to find a broader perspective on this moment in history. We must not be serfs to historical revisionism and trends. St Paul puts it like this, “Do not be conformed to this world,” and “Renew your mind” (Romans 12:1-2).
“Without expanding our worldview to other centuries, we become slaves to fashionable thinking,” said Paul. “This is an age when holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously if fashionable.”
In modern times, campaigners flip from concept to concept without stopping to think of the bigger picture. They declare in a moment, “Plastic is evil, do away with it.” Then a pandemic appears and plastic is vogue, saving lives (PPE), and the nations of the world cannot get enough. It’s short-term shallow thinking.
“Who are you following?” asks Paul’s brother Mathew, “and do they know where they are going? False idols are drawing crowds to a counter-Christian narrative and believers are being caught up following trends which blow away within months.”
Brothers Paul and Mathew have published many books, produced documentaries, video clips and TV programmes which aim to set the record straight. “How can you know Christians laid the foundations for our freedoms unless you have access to uncensored facts?” asks Paul. As the author of Britain, A Christian Country, Paul’s goal was to provide a new resource for believers to free themselves from a selective narrative of secular culture.
Having studied ancient works and Christian books from other centuries, Paul and Mathew have a passion to re-tell the forgotten truths of the impact of Christianity, and the heritage of spiritual wealth.
“I studied books from the Edwardian and Victorian eras,” said Paul, “and found Christian pioneers were at the heart of founding modern science, technology and healthcare,” he said. “This is often airbrushed from common knowledge because it doesn’t fit with the narrative of our age. How Christianity Made the Modern World compiled facts from hundreds of sources into one.”