Total Truth wins award

It is later than I would wish, regardless of what the mistaken clock thingie on the blog says. And it has been a hard week—my beloved and previously sturdy father-in-law, Harry Gross (if you are the praying type) has been hospitalized for serious things. Beth is still out of town, staying there a bit longer to be bedside. We are all pretty raw, fearful, sad to see the hard options the frail elderly have. But that is another blog, as many of us know too well. Don’t get me started…
Still, I am eager to celebrate something altogether good, a good grace and perhaps noteworthy sign of something. I have been happy to serve as a finalist judge for the Evangelical Christian Publisher’s Association’s Gold Medallion Award* in various catagories in recent years (and, truth be told, sometimes it is perplexing what gets nominated or submitted—books that are utterly fine and utterly undistinguished.) This year, a wonderfully-earned and well-deserved Award goes to Nancy Pearcey, author of the important Total Truth: Liberating the Gospel from Cultural Captivity. It does the kind of thing I talked about in yesterday’s post, except without the goofy stuff about Quidditch. It is interesting, sober, thoughtful and very inspiring.
If we are going to raise up a generation of Christian folk who honor the Lordship of Christ across the whole of life, and work out the implications of God’s redemptive plan in all of science, art, politics and family life, then this kind of intentional contribution to building up the Christian mind will be essential. It is a reminder, a foundation, a helpful polishing of the lenses through which we imagine our lives. Along with the kinds of things I mentioned yesterday–T.M. Moore on creational theology, Bill Romonowski on popular culture–this book can really make a difference.
I’ve mentioned Total Truth a time or two back at the website over the past year and agree with the many good reviewers who have suggested that it is one of the best worldview books yet done. I am confident that it is the closest thing to a Francis Schaeffer book we’ve had in years, although it is a more hefty, sustained argument, and altogether readable.
Nancy is an old acquintance, actually; in fact, she acknowledges us in her first book The Soul Of Science (we helped with some book research, of which she did quite a lot!) It remains an excellent overview of the history of the philosophy of science, from a solid and accessible Christian perspective. We stayed in touch a bit during her stint helping Chuck Colson with his worldview formation, then as she founded and served in executive leadership of the innovative and important Breakpoint radio show and through her work as a senior fellow and policy director of the think-tanky Wilberforce Forum. Colson continues to draw on Abraham Kuyper’s “Stone Lectures” (see yesterday’s blog) and Nancy was a big part of his broadening horizons, I’d guess. She co-authored the award-winning How Now Shall We Live (Harold Fickett, a fine writer and storyteller in his own right, helped with that nicely, too) and Total Truth is in many ways a follow up to that ground-breaking study. It isn’t precisely a sequel, though, so even if you haven’t yet worked through How Now, I’d say start with Total Truth.
In Total… Pearcey tells some of her own journey–her experience at L’Abrai, her skepticism about faith, her intellectual struggles, her studying the heady work of Dutch philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd, her conviction that the hard dualism between the so-called sacred and secular is Biblically unwarranted (and inevitably leads to a water-down, compromised faith–technically called synthesis), her on-going desire to combat the secularized ideology of naturalism as it appears most frontally in Darwinist science and sociology. She is a great teacher, using good illustrations and potent stories to further explain her solid reflections on the nature of truth in God’s good world. It is a good book, raising truly important matters in a fine, fine way. It deserves the Gold Medallion.
As I said, it is late, and I’m thinking about my own dad—killed in a car wreck a few years back—and Beth’s dear mom, who died last summer. And Harry, now in great pain. It is a fallen world, isn’t it, and in these tender moments it becomes absolutely clear. But we live in a world where there is truth, not just “values” or spiritual sentiment or opinion or (or, on the other hand, a world where truth is nothing but hard fact, data, numbers.) We know that things are more than either option–no truth, or a reductionistic kind of truth that is nothing human. No, truth is whole and it is real and we live and move and have our being in it all. This is the real deal. Whether it is the horror of African genocide or global injustice—do see my July website book reviews if you haven’t—or the ordinary harshness of a daily, fallen world, seen in crummy institutions and less than humane ways to live and die, what the church has called the Fall is real.
And, thanks be to God, God’s promises, presence and plan of redemption is true, too. What Lewis’ critters in Narnia call Deeper Magic. Really real. Totally true, for all of life. Nancy says it better than I in my feeble mood now so I yield to her.
We commend the book to you, invite you to order from our website if you want; get a group going, buy one for your public library. At least, check out her Total Truth website and see the handsome cover, the good news of the award and some blurbs and impressive endorsements there. THere are links to her speeches–she’s been on C-Span and NPR, you know. And links to several good reviews (including one insightful one written by H&M friend Jim Skillen from the Center for Public Justice, where he compares her book to David Naugle’s stunning work, Worldview: The History of an Idea. Read that one here. Enjoy. Knowing that what she says is true.
*For a complete listing of the 2005 ECPA Gold MedallionAward winning books by catagory, click here.

One thought on “Total Truth wins award

  1. Byron,Thanks for the book recommendation; I am thankful for the work that you do. Please know I am praying for your father-in-law.Peace,Michele

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