Now that I’ve got your attention with that catchy title, I want to discuss what I believe to be the most important Christian book to hit the shelves since Dallas Willard’s The Divine Conspiracy came out eight years ago.
Total Truth:Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity is written by science writer and longtime Chuck Colson collaborator Nancy Pearcey. Her premise: Christians have abandoned a unified Christian view of reality in favor of one that is hopelessly split between the worlds of scientific truth and spiritual truth. She contends that Darwinism and neo-Platonism are as likely to inform how Christians think about facts as Christianity does. The Church is filled with people who have separated their faith from the rest of reality, making for a worldview that is no longer uniquely Christian, and which has little bearing on the “real” world.
We see the results of this every day. The Wall Street Journal (sadly) pointed out that the top execs at Enron, Tyco, Global Crossing, and Worldcom were all pillars of their evangelical churches, some even functioning as deacons and Sunday School teachers. Their tragedy—and ours—is their disjointed worldview that kept their faith from influencing their real-life work situations. Yet, the news gets worse: For every Ken Lay there are hundreds of other less prominent people who daily keep their Christianity in a crystal box they open on Sundays, all the while mentally assenting to the fallen ideologies of Darwin, Plato, Plotinus, or Marx during the rest of the week.
It comes down to worldview. Pearcey claims (correctly) that we have yet to see a fully developed Christian worldview sweep the Church, particularly in America. Without such a view, churches here will increasingly and unconsciously stray from Truth, adopting worldviews that are strictly anti-Christ. As go the churches, so go the congregants, and our society is subsequently crippled by a lack of Christian voices speaking into the public square, particularly voices with a unified Christian apologetic that explains not only the spiritual world, but the material one as well.
And what is a Christian worldview? It seeks to address all of reality in light of Creation, The Fall, and Redemption, bringing the Gospel’s answers to how we came to exist, why we experience evil, and how we can return to a state of grace. It seeks to bring a consistent theological framework to understanding the common things of life, too, like our work, our relationships, and our goals in life. As one who has been crusading to overcome the Church’s failure to address the realities of our work lives—in twenty-eight years as a Christian, I have yet to hear a message on bringing Christ into the workplace—I had to nod with every insight Pearcey brings. Her fearlessness in calling Christians to wake up and face reality is a refreshing change from the litany of recent Christian books marketed to only tickle itching ears.
I believe every Christian should make it a priority to read this book. Foundational works like this come along rarely. That Pearcey so effortlessly examines the streams of current philosophy, and so easily makes them understandable to even those of us who can’t tell Hegel from Hobbes, makes this book rarer still. A winner of the ECPA Gold Medallion Book Award for How Now Shall We Live?, a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, and a former student of Francis Schaeffer’s, Pearcey brings a laudable list of qualifications, yet never writes over anyone’s head. So worthy is this book of inclusion in every Christian’s library that I am installing on my sidebar list of essential Christian books.
Read Total Truth! It may indeed reveal that everything you know is wrong.