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Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity Hardcover – June 29, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-1581344585 ISBN-10: 1581344589 Edition: HARDBOUND

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway Books; HARDBOUND edition (June 29, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581344589
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581344585
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As a religiously adrift young adult in the 1960s, Pearcey found her way to the Swiss retreat, and the intellectually rigorous faith, of the Calvinist maverick Francis Schaeffer. This book continues the Schaeffer-inspired project that Pearcey and Chuck Colson began in How Now Shall We Live?—awakening evangelical Christians to the need for a Christian "worldview," which Pearcey defines as "a biblically informed perspective on all reality." Pearcey gives credibly argued perspectives on everything from Rousseau's rebellion against the Enlightenment, to the roots of feminism, to the spiritual poverty of celebrity-driven Christianity. She also provides a layperson's guide to the history of America's anti-intellectual strain of evangelicalism. Unfortunately for the book's chance at a wide audience, several chapters are devoted to a critique of Darwinism and defense of Intelligent Design—with no substantive engagement with the many thoughtful Christians (John Polkinghorne, Ken Miller, Nancey Murphy, etc.) who dissent from Intelligent Design's scientific and philosophical program. Still, Pearcey deftly applies Schaeffer's core insight that modernity has been built on a "two-story" view of reality—with "facts" on the ground floor and "values" up in the air. Her critique of this view is compelling, and her final chapters, which begin to sketch an integrated Christian way of living and thinking, are exceptional. This is the rare long book that leaves one wanting to read more.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

A vitally important work for the church today . . . Pearcey explains the secular/sacred dichotomy that continues to permeate society. -- Sarah Flashing, The Foundation for Women of Faith in Culture, February 22, 2005

An outstanding writer. If you buy only one book this year, this would be at the top of the list. -- Charles Dunahoo, Christian Education and Publications, November 2004

Brilliant analysis and perspective, designed to . . . equip evangelicals apologetically. -- Catez Stevens, Allthings2all, April 12, 2005

Fabulous . . . Pearcey’s worldview guide [is] getting rave reviews from many sources. We highly recommend it. -- Byron Borger, Hearts & Minds, January 5, 2005

Pearcey advances well beyond Schaeffer, both in the maturity of her thought and in her original work. -- Bill Wichterman, Townhall.com

Pearcey argues passionately. . . . [she] can help Christians develop a more consistent orientation to all of life with a Christian worldview. -- Jim Skillen, Public Justice Report, 2nd quarter, 2005

Probably the most significant book of 2004. I pray its influence and impact will be felt for decades. -- Ray Bohlin, Probe Ministries, February 2005

Total Truth is probably the most significant book of 2004... its influence and impact will be felt for decades. -- Probe Ministries, February 2005

Very well written and spiced with anecdotes. Would that every Christian pastor and youth group leader read this book. -- Angus Menuge, Touchstone, December 2004

Viewed by many as the Francis Schaeffer of her generation . . . essential reading for all serious-thinking Christians. -- Adrian Warnock, UK Evangelical Blog, February 2005

Customer Reviews

I highly recommend it to anyone willing to read it all.
Cole Casey
This book should be in the hands of everyone who wants to live a life completely surrendered to Christ.
Roger N. Overton
She closes the book by showing that true spirituality is rooted in a comprehensive Christian worldview.
William Wichterman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 117 people found the following review helpful By William Wichterman on October 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
An evangelical Christian who works on Capitol Hill once told me that God put him there just so he could share the gospel with his colleagues. Sadly, he's not alone in thinking that God cares only about saving souls, and is uninterested in the legislative battles raging in Congress, much less the renewing the culture through the arts, academia, and entertainment.

True, most orthodox Christians think that God hates abortion and is not so thrilled about same-sex marriage. But beyond those "culture-war" issues, many of them have no idea that their faith has implications for all public policies, from welfare to transportation to taxation. They are privately spiritual, but publicly agnostic.

Nancy Pearcey's new book, Total Truth, was written to shake them up.

Her central thesis is that Christianity is not just religious truth, but truth about all of reality. It is a comprehensive worldview. As such, it is meant to straighten out God's creation which has been twisted by sin. This, Pearcey says, includes not just the Great Commission to bring others to faith, but a cultural commission to bring health to every aspect of human experience, from network television and Broadway plays to biology and astronomy.

Unfortunately, too many American evangelicals have bought into the lie that it is "true for me" or true about a slice of reality, but not true for everybody and true for explaining the world.

Pearcey seeks to uproot the historic anti-intellectual tendencies of American evangelicalism that have contributed to its banishment from the public square.

She traces the long tradition in American evangelicalism of emphasizing the spiritual dimension and denigrating the intellect.
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56 of 63 people found the following review helpful By S. Lindemann on August 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
If there is one thing that Nancy Pearcey has done in Total Truth, it is her homework. Extensively referenced to current and historical sources, this work is an excellent gateway into the study of worldview and the development of a Biblical worldview for all of reality.

Perhaps the most important aspect of Total Truth, however, is a logical and comprehensible guide to worldview analysis. For those who live or work in hostile intellectual territory, like myself, it is a critical aid to understanding the epistemological underpinnings of worldviews that compete with Christianity for our minds and the minds of those close to us. Pearcey also provides considerable information regarding how the worldview thought has changed throughout the course of history. For the seeker interested in how Christians see the world, the book is a comparative analysis in worldview opposed to the prevailing worldviews of the secular world. It is also quite useful for those interested in apologetics, as Pearcey devotes a substantial portion of the work solely to explaining her search for God, and how the logical inconsistencies of other worldviews forced her (even against her will!) to accept that Christianity was the only logical way to explain reality.

Anyone interested in integrating their view of the world with Scripture would find this book a good read. It has been very helpful to me personally, so I highly recommend Total Truth.
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143 of 170 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Krive on August 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Nancy Pearcey's Total Truth explains the essence of Christian worldview. While many scholars, including Francis Schaeffer, have extensively discoursed on worldviews, Pearcey communicates these lofty thoughts in an understandable manner. Total Truth is a must read.

Using a plethora of external sources, Pearcey dissects the philosophy of modern society. She starts with the fact/value split in society, showing how our society constrains religion to the relativistic values realm while society deems science the only realm that universal absolutes can exist. Our society allows for religion and its moral implications provided that the religious do not impose their morality on others as universally valid. We have created a sacred/secular dichotomy that restricts Christianity to the realm of religious truth. Christianity must be viewed as ultimate Truth that pervades every part of our life.

She delves deeper into the meaning of worldview. She explains, "[E]ach of us carries a model of the universe inside our heads that tells us what the world is like and how we should live in it. We all seek to make sense of life. Some convictions are conscious, while others are unconscious, but together they form a more or less consistent picture of reality." In essence, a worldview answers the question, "Why does reality exist?"

Pearcey also tackles the most pervasive worldview in society, philosophical naturalism, which is an extension of atheism. After explicating the biological impossibility of evolution, she explores the philosophical implications of naturalism. From a naturalistic standpoint, the chemical processes in our minds should not reflect the order of the universe. For example, math, which is a conjuring of the human mind, should not function in nature.
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172 of 207 people found the following review helpful By The Professor on August 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is must reading for all Christians and Christian critics.

Pearcey's mastery of the material, her clear thinking, her outstanding

ability to express herself, and her compelling arguments are all a major

reason why I predict that this book will become the standard work in the

area. Pearcey makes a persuasive case for Christian involvement in

society (to become the salt of the Earth). In my opinion, as a professional

biologist very interested in the Darwinian controversies, the strongest

part of the book (and the main reason why I bought it) is the section on

Intelligent Design. She makes an excellent case for this world view and

why it is critically important. I believe that her well done critique of

Darwinism and her defense of Intelligent Design will improve the book's

chances at achieving a wide audience. Many works exist that go into

detail about the many problems with the conclusions of John

Polkinghorne, Nancy Murphy and, especially, Ken Miller, as well as

others who dissent from Intelligent Design's scientific and

philosophical conclusions. To conclude that God may have created the laws of

the universe and sat by watching as the creation created itself due to

mutations being selected in the struggle for life, as does Ken Miller,

suffers from major theological and, from my prospective, even more

serious problems with the evidence from biology, genetics and,

especially, molecular biology. My work is on mutations and it is clear

that mutations have a limited ability to create. They may damage

ribosome receptors in bacteria and, as a result, confer resistance to an

antibiotic, but even here a fitness cost usually results.
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