Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity, Nancy Pearcey

First of all, this is a fantastic book. Pearcey asks the question, can a Christian be a politician, businessman, or even a hard working American and still make an impact in our culture as a Christian? Or does one have to be a minister, pastor, or missionary to make a dent in the cultural war? She advocates the adoption of a Christian worldview that is necessary for all Christians. A worldview, she explains, is something that is innate within us. It’s something that we all possess and it contains how we perceive the world. She says,
“But the purpose of a worldview is to explain the data of experience-not to deny it. Any philosophical system that fails to offer a plausible account of our sense of personal selfhood should be rejected as inadequate… Only Christianity, with its teaching of a personal Creator, provides an adequate metaphysical explanation of our irreducible experience of personhood. It alone accounts for the raw material of experience within a comprehensive worldview. In the modern world, with its large, impersonal institutions where people are treated as ciphers in the machine, the Christian message is good news indeed.”
 She teaches that a person who has adopted an evolutionary worldview see’s the world as a dog-eat-dog environment: the process of natural selection has told us that we need to do whatever we can to get ahead even if it means we are morally reprehensible. She says, 
“The historic Christian conception of morality rests on a cognitive claim about human nature. Its says humans were designed for a purpose – to be conformed to spiritual ideals of holiness and perfection, so that we may live in love with God and our fellow creatures. Moral rules are simply the instructions telling us how to fulfill those ideals… In the Fall we went off the track, but in salvation God puts us back on course and empowers us to resume the journey to developing our full humanity… Under the Darwinian regime, however, the very concept of purpose or teleology has come under attack. For if the world itself was not designed, then there can be no design or purpose for human life either. Morality is reduced to a product of biology- an expression of our subjective desires and impulse, programmed into us by natural selection.” 

 

She also dedicates a chapter to discussing what has gone wrong with the Church: her finds correlate with my book review on David F. Wells’ book, “The Courage to be Protestant”. I perhaps have some disagreements with Pearcey here. In almost an afterthought, she says that part of the problem with evangelicalism is rooted in the dismissal of men in the home. In earlier times, men worked out of the home but since the industrial revolution, they go off for many hours to factories and office spaces to work. This has left a gap in the family that has caused a feminization of Evangelicalism. This, combined with the preaching styles of such famous men as George Whitefield, has reduced Christianity to an emotional outpouring instead of a balanced approach of emotion that is under the reign of intellectualism. She says some strange things, almost critical, of men like Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield. But Edwards tried to defend against excessive emotionalism so this argument is confusing. I would recommend Wells’ book in order to understand this dynamic more. 
 
Don’t let that chase you away from “Total Truth.” I would say this is almost an essential book for Christians everywhere.

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