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Total Truth is a Rare Gem

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Recently I had the opportunity to read and review a very great book called Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity by Nancy Pearcey.

If you’ve never read a book on worldview or apologetics, then you are in for a treat because this is just what the doctor ordered. Many books that are published in the Christian world are cotton ball fluff. Total Truth is the medicine, and Crossway Publishers hit the ball out of the park with this book.

Pearcey’s credentials no one can argue with. She is the Francis A. Schaeffer scholar at the World Journalism Institute where Total Truth serves as the basis for a worldview curriculum. She earned her M.A. from Covenant Theological Seminary and was pursuing a doctorate when she was blessed to have children. She does have other graduate level education in philosophy and she currently serves as the Visiting Scholar at the Torrey Honors Institute of Biola University. And you can read more of her bio and education here.

In a nutshell, Total Truth addresses the idea of worldview and why it is important for Christians to carry their worldview into every area of their lives. Pearcey skillfully examines the ideas of the culture and explains why the definition of values and social contract theory are important to recognize and then engage.

She masterfully lays out a critique of Western civilization and how we have fallen from where we were once called; and she gives a clarion call to the mass of Christians who need to learn to understand what they believe and why.

Some chapter titles include: Darwin Meets the Berenstain Bears, The Science of Common Sense, What’s So Good About Evangelicalism? and How Women Started the Culture War.

She also has four appendices including one on Modern Islam and the New Age movement. And the footnotes are itself a small book.

Total Truth has been selected as the Book of the Year by the High School Conservative Clubs of America, and it has also been used as the Book of the Month and in Sunday school classes.

And the book has also been endorsed by just about every major scholar in the apologetic and Christian academic world.

This is a must-read book, and it is a book you will return to over and over again. Google Print has also included some of the text of Pearcey’s book on their site, so you can even go there and begin to get a taste of this masterpiece.

If you do not read any book this year, this is the one book you MUST read. Do it today!

More reviews can be found at Mind & Media: Publicity with Faith.

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About Stacy L Harp

  • Stacy, cut it out, seriously. Insistence that Temple produce a review of a book on your timetable when he hasn’t even promised to write a review at all is about a half-hair shy of accusing him of having not read the book, again. It’s pretty much undone any good will you might have generated with your apology.

    Ask yourself if you think Jesus would hound Temple the way you’re hounding him. Consider the few people with whom Jesus mixed it up. Does Temple remind you of a Pharisee? No, he makes no claims to be a religious leader. What sort of biblically-based worldview makes it okay to accuse people and hound people as you are doing? Methinks you’ve got a bit more reading to do, or you need to apply that worldview of yours a little more consistently.

  • Where is Temple’s review???

    I’m still waiting…. and waiting….and waiting….

  • Gonzo, the word “force” is interesting. 🙂


  • thanks Phillip, i think we have gotten it straightened out

    i will wait until i know more of the book itself before going any further

    but i do still stick with my previous Questions…i think they are quite valid in this discussion…

    but i also readily Recognize that to each their own, especially when it comes to Point of View

    my big concern is when one attempts to force thier PoV on another…or on a Culture, Nation, Minority..etc

    thanks again


  • I missed this part — her comment to Templ was three sentences:

    “What? The book isn’t about journalism. Temple?”

    Temple had said, “As an aside, the book really has very little to do with journalism which at its core is about curiosity not conformity (Most corporate media excepted)”

    Stacy responded by pointing out that she never said the book had anything to do with journalism.

    Is that more clear?

  • Gonzo, you mentioned slanting, changing, or ignoring facts. I’m suggesting that only an antagonistic predisposition would cause you to get that idea from the review or even (I suspect, based on her other book that I have read) from the book. I’m not saying you don’t have reason to be antagonistic, by the way — many people have been so abused by people carrying the label of “Christian” that I understand almost any amount of antagonism. I simply point out that I think it is present.

    The book, I’m reasonably sure, doesn’t advocate slanting, changing, or ignoring facts. It is written from the perspective of someone who believes that objective reality supports biblical Christianity, which is not necessarily the same as supporting was passes for Christianity in the church nearest you.

    More like Christianity in the C.S.Lewis Mere Christianity vein.

  • Where is Temples review?

  • >>The world institute also seems to implicate that there are no Christians in journalism. Pretty much absurd.<< Well, the quest for Christian journalism can certainly lead to some absurd behavior. Are you familiar with the work of Dr. Marvin Olasky if the University of Texas School of Journalism? Dave

  • ok Phillip..thanks for the civil discussion, let’s touch on a few things here…

    you are correct in your bit about Journalism…part of any misunderstanding does indeed come from the source you cite…her affiliation with the “World Journalism Institute”…i did contribute to any misunderstanding due to some references that i did not properly cite…my fault, full Responsibility..

    comment #7 Stacy sez..
    *What? The book isn’t about journalism. Temple?*

    also, from the original Post Stacy sez..
    *She is the Francis A. Schaeffer scholar at the World Journalism Institute where Total Truth serves as the basis for a worldview curriculum.*

    the second statement appears to state that the book itself is part of the curriculum at a Journalist University, correct?

    and her comment to Temple means?

    so, look it over again, and then tell me who is mistaken here?..not being snarky, i am trying to see what i missed..

    it was due to these statements, and the rest of her Review that i Asked the questuions i did in my first Comment…make sense now?

    above Phillip sez..
    *unless you want to understand more about Christians from something other than stereotypes.*

    you make a hellacious amount of assumptions about me that you seem to have no inkling about the Reality involved…i have no need, nor desire, nor track record of “sterotyping” anyone that i am aware of…i tend to read and parse then spout off as i please..

    but i’ll offer a double chocolate chip cookie if you can find any inconsistencies in my particular brand of lunacy…

    yes, you did call Stacy on her bit with Temple, which earned you good Points in my scorebook…hence my semi-serious attempt to clarify myself..

    so..to simplify and consolidate…going by what i have above, it still seems that this book advocates utilizing a “christian worldview” in “all aspects of life” , is taught in a school of journalism, and is at least in part dealing with journalism in it’s content…

    and how does that invalidate any of my points or questions in my first Comment?

    thanks for the Discussion..


  • Gonzo, you are most assuredly bringing your biases to the topic then, because there is nothing anywhere in the review to suggest that anybody should slant anything in any direction whatsoever. First of all, the only mention of journalism in the review is that the author is associated with the World Journalism Institute. That’s it. All of the interest in journalism in this thread has come in the comments, as people dissect the World Journalism Instituate, again with their preconceived ideas intact.

    Secondly, it beggars the imagination that you were able to quote Stacy and then draw the inference you drew. “In a nutshell, Total Truth addresses the idea of worldview and why it is important for Christians to carry their worldview into every area of their lives.” How is this saying anything other than that people (Christians, in this case) should be consistent? We all have a worldview, but many of us don’t act or think consistently with it in many areas of our lives. We should therefore either modify our worldview or “carry [it] into every area of [our] lives.” It’s a call to consistency, away from hypocrisy. That’s all. Nothing else. And that’s bad?

    As it happens, though I haven’t read this book, I’m quite familiar with Nancy Pearcey’s work, so I’m not just guessing here. I have a brother in that Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University, for example, and have read other books by Pearcey, as well as the complete works of Francis Schaeffer, the man on whose work Pearcey is building. While I have lots of problems with the way “worldview” is tossed around by some people, Pearcey has been very consistent and not at all like the stereotype against which you’re clearly reacting.

    I’m not excusing or explaining Stacy’s shortness with Temple; I called her on it, remember? While I know there is much more to that relationship than appears on this page, Stacy has apologized and I suggest we move on.

    Look, Gonzo, you don’t like religion. Fine. That’s part of your worldview, and I expect you to act consistently with it in every area of your life, just as I expect others to act consistently with theirs. You’re clearly not the target audience for the book, unless you want to understand more about Christians from something other than stereotypes.

  • Phillip,

    thanks for sharing what you “believe” abotu a book you have not read..i DO appreciate your “take” on the matter, and you raise sopme good points


    it still does NOT answer the Concerns i expressed previously

    from the bit i Quoted from Stacy, it appears clear that any attempt at Objectivity (which is still less of a “myth” than any religious worldview) is to be tossed aside in preference for the slanting towards the “christian worldview” that is being espoused

    THAT is my problem here…that added to the Source of this Article, coupled with the quick, baseless , accusation, followed by the retraction…

    you can see where i am going with this, can’t you gentle Readers?

    suspicions aroused from original Postings towards this writer, added to the revelation of her having worked for Dobson in the past ( her admission in another Thread)…and now the bit with Temple here?

    sorry to say…

    the Emperor is naked

    nuff said?


  • she was blessed to have children

    I don’t really have an issue with this statement, (meaning I don’t want to make a big deal of it), but I do want to point something out.

    A statement like this, while I understand it is to make the point that having a child is a gift from God, at the same time, it implies that if someone couldn’t have a child, they are being frowned on by God. This makes the implication that people who are infertile or otherwise not reproductively inclined, are sinners.

    And while I personally believe that having a child is the greatest gift one can ever get, (the gift not necessarily coming from a divine source though), there are so many people out there who are so negligent who are having 5 or more kids. Are they SuperBlessed™, like the contributors to the Bush campaign?

    My overall point being is that when someone makes a statement with the best of intentions (wanting to state that children are a gift from God), in actuality the statement is biased against large groups of people and clearly doesn’t explain parental responsibility or a lack thereof and how that must not be a factor in getting blessed.

    And a teen having a child because she didn’t know better or was irresponsible and now must give up her remaining teen years to be a parent immediately and raise a life she is illequipped to provide for….how does that all play into God’s blessing?

    (for the record, this isn’t an attack, I want to point out, in regards to religion, something that is meant to be powefully uplifting is actually bogus and hurtful.

  • I agree, that sentence was poorly written. But if you get the book, hopefully you’ll enjoy it.

    As for John’s comments, what can I say except you gave me a good laugh. Thanks!

  • After reading some reviews on Amazon, I’m actually understanding some of what Stacy was saying in her review Phillip. Thank you for starting to point it out.

    This line confused me a little bit.

    “She masterfully lays out a critique of Western civilization and how we have fallen from where we were once called; and she gives a clarion call to the mass of Christians who need to learn to understand what they believe and why.”

    I took this to mean something different than what you meant Stacy. After reading a few more reviews it got through my thick skull. I may actually read this book to get an idea of what she has to say.

    I’m still not into the apologetics.

  • jarboy

    john & shark — too effin hell-larious, dudes.

  • John, it’s a book review, no? It’s a book review posted in the Books section, so I don’t see a problem. I saw a problem with silly accusations, but Stacy has magnaminously apologized for that.

    Are you suggesting that we discriminate against Stacy because of her religious beliefs? Wow, and here I thought we didn’t do that sort of thing any more…

  • John Matthews

    Stacy, you’re like a huge cargo plane dropping propaganda fliers over a third world country. Do you really think this is the correct place to shovel all of your religious beliefs? I mean, do you ever post anything that doesn’t involve God or Jesus?

    To balance this all out, I recommend you give Jesus some pajamas instead. You’ll feel better about this terrible sin-o-plex we live in.

  • And thanks for pointing out my cliches, I had no idea I used that many. Hmm.

  • I was thinking, I should apologize for implying that Temple was lying. So I’m sorry Temple. I would like to hear your honest review of Nancy’s book, despite the fact that you think it might ruin my publicity schtick.

    Because as you know, any PR is good PR.

    So please accept my apology, and let us hear your thoughts.

  • Lightning, one of the biggest complaints among Christians about American Christianity right now is how bound up with Western culture it has become. In theory, that’s exactly what an approach like Pearcey’s is designed to help undo. By separating out one’s core beliefs from the cultural filters one has tended to pile on them, one improves one’s worldview. In theory.

  • Gozno, I believe that the general idea behind Nancy’s book (which I have not read) is that we are all driven by our “worldview,” it isn’t even a conscious thing. In one sense, pure objectivity is a myth. Our beliefs dictate (to a certain extent) how we act in any given situation. If my worldview includes a concept of personal morality that includes a prohibition against something and an idea that it matters, I’m probably not going to do that thing, while someone else whose worldview may or may not include a similar prohibition but doesn’t believe that in the end it really matters is more likely to do that thing.

    It is that general idea in the world of politics that causes so many to cry out about media bias. It isn’t that most people believe that hard-core partisans are deliberately skewing their reporting to point a certain way, but that each reporter’s worldview informs their reporting, and the stories that are reported and the questions that are asked and so on are all a result of that person’s beliefs, whether they intend it to be so or not.

    To give a concrete example tied to journalism, since it has come up in the comments, someone who believes that abortion ends a human life is going to report on an abortion-related story differently from someone who believes that abortion is a personal medical procedure involving a woman’s body. I’ve already bypassed whether or not such a story is even noticed or covered, which is actually probably the primary first element into which a worldview plays.

    Of course, most of us cannot articulate our worldview very well, which is something about which Nancy Pearcey and others are concerned. For example, surrounded by a culture which has a heavy religious element but not a very Christian one (in tems of what is taught in the Bible, not just labels claimed), it is pretty easy for Christian, they fear, to develop a worldview indistinguishable from that of a non-Christian (despite a few differen vocabulary words here and there), even though in theory the Christian’s underlying beliefs should result in a radically different outlook on life.

    So I don’t think that the idea is that Christians are to prosyletize in the newsroom, per se, but that they should be aware of how their views are shaped (or not) by their Christian beliefs. They should be consistent, in other words, which many people are not.

  • Shark

    “Total Truth addresses the idea of worldview and why it is important for Christians to carry their worldview into every area of their lives.”

    Lemmee know when you fuckers:

    * start giving away all of your possessions
    * encourage world peace,

    * begin to “judge not”

    * pray in private behind closed doors

    * and “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth”



    PS: Stacy, you need to pray that God helps you with your cliche infection:

    …you are in for a treat…

    …because this is just what the doctor ordered…

    …Crossway Publishers hit the ball out of the park…

    …she was blessed to have children….

    …In a nutshell…

    …She masterfully lays out a critique…

    …we have fallen from where we were once

    …she gives a clarion call…

    …This is a must read book…

    …it is a book you will return to over and over again…

    …get a taste of this masterpiece…

    …If you do not read any book this year, this is the one book you MUST read…

    …Do it today!…


    Although I find it appropriate that your writing sounds like advertising copy from the 19th century.

    You should try:

    “Jesus! Tastes Better! Less Filling!”

  • From the review it seems to me that the only real Christians in the world would reside in the Western Hemisphere (particularly the US) What about other cultures that have avid Christians but don’t buy the Western Philosophical method of Christianity?

    ex. China (Fastest growing Christian population on the planet)

    If the title of the book includes the words “Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity” It should really be about liberating Christians from our Western mindsets. Jesus was not a Westerner. He was from the Middle East. Want a culture shock? Go there.

    Christians can in no way compare the US to a Captive Israel or even a present day China.

    Furthermore, Jesus did not argue like the Apologetics do. Jesus waited for the right timing to give answers to questions that were asked of him, or to face lies that he was accused of. He did not need to defend himself, and did not wish to.

    Something we could all learn from.

    To be quite honest the accusation of Temple not reading the book bothers me.

    Who is the accuser as taught by your own faith?


  • ok..let me get this straight

    Stacy sez..
    *In a nutshell, Total Truth addresses the idea of worldview and why it is important for Christians to carry their worldview into every area of their lives.*

    so we are to understand that this Book advocates slanting any “objective journalism” towards the worldview of fundamentalist christian dogma?

    does this require that changing or ignoring of Objectively observed Facts when they conflict with said dogma?

    does this mean an “adjustment” to any Facts that pre-date the founding of said dogma? (as in historical information and facts that pre-date the christian era)

    does this preclude the usage of ANY other worldview as well as an Objective view in reporting, journalism and history?

    i am interested in hearing from those proponents for this “book” on these topics…

    from the text of the Article, it seems to be espousing a co-ordinated propaganda effort disguised as “journalism”…a complete rejection of any kind of “objective” standard or goal…

    can we get some clarification?

    also…very rude and bad form to say shit like that about Temple without ANY shred of “proof” to the accusation

    is this a prime example of the type of “journalism” proposed by this “book”?

    eschew Facts and go right for baseless attack whenever anything disagrees with the “accepted” worldview?

    thanks in advance for Answering..


  • I’m really not interested in seeing Blogcritics accused of lying. Without any evidence to the contrary or even the ability to get evidence to the contrary, respect would suggest taking Temple at his word. Please do so.

  • George, good one! 🙂

    I would too. Temple, show us your review of the book. I’d be interested in seeing it also.

  • I’d be interested in reading Temple’s review of the book.

  • Bennett

    Is there more than one way to take that statement, Stacy?

    Let’s see… “Temple, you’re a liar.”

  • Don’t take this the wrong way, but I don’t believe for a second you’ve read the book.

  • That was the “aside” part. It seemed earlier commentators were thinking that it did have something to do with journnalism. It seemed, I could be wrong. Just trying to be helpful.

    And yes, it is interesting that I’ve read the book. Glad you commented on that.

  • So, if I disagree with the Christain viewpoint then I’m doomed to rot in eternal hell…interesting.

    And I thought this book was about liberating Christianity from its dogmatic blinders not cloistering it further.

  • What? The book isn’t about journalism. Temple?

  • out of the book too

  • I have.

    I figured my comments would ruin your PR schtick.

    It’s much too simplistic. To get anything useful out of the bok you already have to agree with the focus and the premises and buy into an already established belief set system.

    As an aside, the book really has very little to do with journalism which at its core is about curiosity not conformity (Most corporate media excepted)

  • You guys really should read the book and then comment on what she writes. That would make for very interesting comments.

  • The world institute also seems to implicate that there are no Christians in journalism. Pretty much absurd.

    Maybe there’s a particular type of Christian they’re after. Rhetorical.

  • Nice reference to Google Print, Stacy. First time I’ve seen it used in a review

    Quite an experienced author too, leastways in the field she is writing in.

  • Interesting:

    The mission of the World Journalism Institute is to recruit, equip, place and encourage journalists who are Christians in the mainstream newsrooms of America.”

    The Ministry of Propaganda rules!


    It is the journalist’s worldview which not only selects some stories and ignores others, but also guides the reporter in which facts and sources to pursue and how to pursue them. This is why a journalist’s presuppositions (or worldview) are critical to a story. Worldview governs the selection process.

    That’s why the Institute teaches Christian worldview to our journalism students – because an understanding of one’s worldview is foundational for an honest and courageous performance of one’s vocational calling as a journalist.

    Very unbiased and honest, I’m sure