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Review: Total Truth, Part II3 min read

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Totaltruth In Part I, I gave my first impressions of the book, which were positive.  My first impression is giving way to a deeper appreciation for this work.  Although I am still only 1/8th of the way in, I want to report on what I am learning and enjoying.

Why Must We Develop and Exercise a Biblical World View?

Pearcey takes a decent stab at reviewing the theological justification for what she calls our "Cultural Mandate," writing that in her earlier work with Charles Colson, How Now Shall We Live (an homage to Francis Schaeffer’s How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture), noting that in addition to our theologies of Creation, Fall, and Redemption, we should add Restoration, which "emphasizes the theme of ongoing vocation" (p. 49).  She adds that Redemption should be seen as both personal (sanctification) and vocational (cultural renewal).  I guess if I want a more robust theological explanation, I’ll have to read the previous books.

However, the greater point she makes is that changing your world view is not merely an intellectual exercise in adopting someone else’s framework, because a Christian worldview involves changing our motivations and inner life as well.

By God’s grace, we can make a significant difference within our spheres of influence – but only as we "crucify" our craving for success, power, and public acclaim.  "If anyone would come after me," Jesus said, "let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23). If we long to be given the mind of Christ, we must first be willing to submit to the pattern of suffering He modeled for us.  We should expect the process of developing a Christian worldview to be a difficult and painful struggle – first inwardly, as we uproot the idols in our own thought life, and then outwardly, as we face the hostility of a fallen and unbelieving world."  (p. 51)

The Proper Critique of Art and Culture

A la both Francis and Franky Schaeffer (see Sham Pearls for Real Swine), Pearcey explains why most of modern Christianity ends up merely isolating itself from modern culture and scolding it from a distance – because it lacks the tools, the worldview, which would allow it to appreciate the various forms of artistic and cultural expression while critically evaluating the messages buried in them.

Many Christians critique culture one-dimensionally, from a moral perspective alone, and as a result, they come across as negative and condemning.

Creating Rather than Criticizing

One of her many, many cogent points is this – Christians have public truth, not just private truth.  They are not just to create a subculture, but to transform and create public culture.

The best way to drive out a bad world view is by offering a good one, and Christians need to move beyond criticizing culture to creating culture.

There is much more here to explore, but I find that this book is well worth study, and it’s list of reference materials makes my Amazon wishlist grow with other foundational books that seem to be must reads.  I am beginning to think that this book may be as good as the growing list of awards it garners seems to indicate.