Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity (Study Guide Edition)
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Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity (Study Guide Edition)

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4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  1,387 ratings  ·  144 reviews
Is God a public figure? Does Christianity have a legitimate role to play in the public realm of politics, business, law, and education? Or are secularists right when they relegate religion to the strictly private realm of faith and feelings?

In Total Truth, Nancy Pearcey offers a razor-sharp analysis of the split between public and private, fact and feelings. She reveals t...more
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published September 2nd 2005 by Crossway Books (first published June 29th 2004)
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Joel
Feb 28, 2008 Joel rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: anyone interested in developing a Christian worldview
Recommended to Joel by: Sarah Viggiano
If you want a comprehensive presentation of worldview apologetics, this is the book to which I would turn. Excellent scholarship covering historical development of philosophy to today, as well as the concurrent development of Christian thought. Great reflection on where we have come from, where we are headed, and what sense to make of the world in which we live as believers. Best of all, Pearcey avoids sounding like a textbook and remains readable throughout the book's near 400 pages.
Keith
As I finished this book I was washed over with a variety of impressions. First, this book should be read by every Christian educator, no matter what grade level of training. Second, if you haven't been impressed to read F. Shaeffer's works before you read Pearcy's work, I think you will be after reading it. Third, I'm exhausted having to just keep up with the end/footnotes! But I love this thorough documentation. Don't overlook one of them. Fourth, I find the final chapters a paradox. They appea...more
Nate San
Very few books have shaken my paradigm as much as "Total Truth" by Nancy Pearcy has. She is amazing at exegeting the culture and pinpointing where Christianity has pulled away from the public sphere and bought into the dichotomy of value/fact. The book is split into several parts, beginning with a set up of how we got into the mess we find ourselves in and then she hits a homerun with recommendations towards resolving the problem. I've read far too many books that bash Christianity without offer...more
Cathy Rape
Has anyone else ever had the overwhelming desire to buy 100 copies of a book you just read and pass them out to anyone and everyone you thought would actually read it? That is how this book left me feeling. Nancy Pearcy does an amazing job of stripping cultural assumptions down to their roots, then following their development through the ages, in order to show the reader the basis of philosophical assumptions we have inherited through culture. Reading this book was like chewing up a plaque indic...more
Douglas Wilson
One of the most satisfying books I have read in a while.
Randy
Christians in North America tend to view their Christianity strictly in terms of their individual commitment to Jesus Christ, and they see their part in the Great Commission as sharing their faith and bringing others also into such a saving relationship. Yet they are frustrated by a feeling of having their hands tied, of unspoken assumptions which they may sense but not be able to put their finger on. More than in any other nation, professing American evangelicals make up a sizable percentage of...more
Matthew Green
I debated whether or not this should be a two or three star review before eventually deciding that Pearcy's good points were tertiary to her intent. Thus, I felt like what could have been fair was less than.

However, it's difficult to rate this book in the first place considering that it felt like three or four books ranging from decent to atrocious. Still, it is somewhat easy to differentiate between those books thanks to Pearcy's handy separation of the tome into four parts.

Part One is her atte...more
John
I've reviewed "Total Truth" before, so I don't think I'll review it again except to say that a subtitle could be "The decline of the evangelical mind," a phrase the author uses. Keep in mind, though, that her purpose is not to tear down evangelical Christianity but to bolster it.

Excerpts:

"In Minnesota, teachers are instructed to be tolerant of 'multiple mathematical worldviews.'"
(Where were those teachers when I took math?)


"When the only form of cultural commentary Christians offer is moral cond...more
Kirk
May 29, 2008 Kirk rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Thinking Christians
Whoever controls the origin story—the foundational belief about our origins—controls the culture. That is the premise of this provocative, articulate book. In our culture the origin story is controlled by Evolutionists with the result being that Christians have lost their voice in the culture—we have become culturally irrelevant. She makes an erudite and impassioned argument against Evolution and in favor of Creation citing numerous scholarly works.

Nancy Pearcy, a scholar who is equally at home...more
Rachel
This is one of my favorite books. It covers the source of the religious fact/value dichotomy in America, and the resulting fragmentation of the sacred and secular. It is a great book about forming a Christian worldview that applies to all of life.
Amanda
This book was very well-written. I read this book in conjunction with a philosophy class I was taking. Otherwise, for those not familiar with philosophy, it may have been a difficult read. While I did not find a difficult read, it was slow because there was so much information to digest in every paragraph. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Pearcey observes that society has relegated religious beliefs as private and personal. But by doing so, Christians have allowed their religious belief...more
Steven
I discovered this book accidentally when something I read on the internet brought me to Pearcey's analysis of anti-intellectualism in the Evangelical church. Many can agree on the problem, but Pearcey places it in its interesting historical context.

This book is about much more, however, as its title suggests. Pearcey argues, rightly of course, that Christianity is meant to convey all truth, the Total Truth. Not that the Bible contains every possible answer but that truth is not something you can...more
Mayowa Adebiyi
Firstly I’d like to say that this was a colossal book. The author in my opinion has completely accomplished what she set out to do. There are long books that should be shorter, this wastes no space whatsoever. The ‘seeing everything else, C.S Lewis quote describes quite succinctly the whole aim of the book.

The primary question the author answers is the one of whether Christianity is truth, truths or Truth. She draws a lot from Francis Schaeffer, especially the classic book, Escape from reason an...more
Christa
Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey is a very important book. I found myself often trying to retell the truths contained in this book to my husband. I found especially informative her walking the reader through the concept of two- story truth. Also very enlightening was the history of the evangelical movement.
Bryan Smith
Cultural apologetics at its finest. A tasteful analysis of various worldviews (particularly the Christian worldview), their historical and philosophical roots, and the story of how each has impacted and shaped the culture over time into what it is today. A truly great read.
Steve
Really good worldview summary from a Schaefferite.
Very clear classifications of worldviews in terms of Scheaffer's upper/lower story worldview analysis model.

There are good sections on Intelligent Design and science, and the application of Darwinian Naturalism to all spheres.

The history section on how anti-intellectualism took hold in american (and british) evangelicalism was very good. Whitefield was one of the first promoters of the personality of the evangelist, by stirring up enthusiasm for...more
J.
I agreed with her criticism of an uncritical bifurcation between sacred and secular, since--as Oliver O'Donovan points out--the opposite of "secular" as properly understood is not "sacred" but rather "eternal." Yet her view of the world as portrayed in this book is sorely lacking for a notion that even if God is sovereign over both secular and eternal realms the applicable rules in each may be slightly different.

I spent the book wishing she would go back to Christian Thought 101 and pull out Au...more
Kelly
I'm trying to establish a bookshelf entitled "highly recommended books that have infuriated me." This book would go on it.

I know that I cannot give this book a fair review because Nancy Pearcey pushed all the wrong buttons as far as I'm concerned. I try to read, even books I don't like, on their own merits, but it was impossible for me to do so with this one. I kept getting the feeling that the author's alternative vision, which she had only hinted at up to that point, was one I would eventually...more
Brian Eshleman
The middle portion of this is five-star material, wherin the author makes good on her claim to trace today's assumptions within and without the Church back to the roots and coolly asses the strengths and weaknesses that have come down to us in current worldviews. Why was the main stage of culture left vacant for a philosophy under-penned by secular assumptions? Why has there been a persistent anti-intellectual strain in evangelicalism? Why does today's Church when it does engage the culture, see...more
James
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joy
This is Nancy Pearcey's follow up book to How Now Shall we Live, a book she co-authored with Colson. This book is meant to fill in the gaps of that book so I do recommend reading the other book first. However, this book can and does stand alone if necessary.

In How Now Shall we Live, Christianity as a worldview was presented. This book takes the worldview idea and runs with it. Pearcey looks at every worldview as if it's a two story building; the first story is the foundation/ground and the secon...more
Joshua
After reading reviews on Nancy Pearcey’s Total Truth by Francis Beckwith, Tim Challies, and Al Mohler, writing my own seemed daunting. Al Mohler wrote, “In Total Truth, Nancy Pearcey offers a solid theological engagement with the critical intellectual issues of our times.” Such a bold statement is characteristic of thoughtful books reviews. In light of other reviews, my goal is to provide a concise analysis of Pearcey’s book, stating its main argument and identifying salient points.[return][retu...more
David
This was a dense book. By that, I mean that there is so much rich content in each page. It was quite easy to read, yet left me needing time to digest and think before moving on to the next chapter.

In Part 1, Pearcey defines what a worldview is, and specifically a Christian worldview. She immediately centers on Francis Shaeffer's concept of the two-story house, where "facts" are considered to be in the lower story and "beliefs" are in the upper story. An understanding of this false dichotomy (fac...more
Patrick Powell
I admit that despite multiple attempts I could not bring myself to finish this all of this book. The author is trying to sell something history has long debunked. Building a society around a 'biblical worldview' has failed so often I wonder why Evangelicals continue trying to sell it. I agree the Bible is true and Gods Word but consider this. Did the settlers come to America to escape Muslims? Pagans? Martians? No. They arrived in America to escape other Christians! And when these Christians arr...more
Jkanz
Read this book.

I wanted to make sure that this important message did not get lost in the remainder of my review, so let me say it again--read this book. Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity by Nancy Pearcey (2004) is an excellent, broad-sweeping, intellectual rich treatment of understanding Christian worldview. Pearcey has clearly been influenced by Francis Schaeffer, a former mentor of hers, as she discusses philosophy, science, and culture (though influences of Kuy...more
Jesse
This is an important and comprehensive book. Nancy Pearcey is well-read and easy to read. The book breaks out nicely into three sections: diagnosing the problematic worldview of today’s society, the rise of this dominant paradigm, and the history of Christianity’s slow acquiescence to this paradigm. Stated simply: the dominant paradigm is evolution (and a few others: atheism, modernism, and postmodernism) and Christianity gave up the battle because we’re Gnostics. The book was a good over view a...more
Katie Casey
Nancy Pearcey really did make some great points in this book about the importance of unifying our faith with our lives. She is very convincing about the need to have a Christian worldview in order to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” as Peter states in 1 Peter 3:15. She is obviously also very in-tune with some of the problems that campus ministry faces today since she herself wrestled with some misgivings in college. She...more
Debi
Recommended read for every Christian. It is a wake-up call for Christians at the ease with which our culture and its secular worldview is now taking over our schools and even our own way of looking at things. We have relegated the spiritual to a compartment of our lives instead of allowing it to integrate all facets of how we live.
Part of the book takes us through the historical aspects of how the church came to be what it is today. As well as how men and women's roles have changed through the...more
Jonathan Harris
Perhaps the best book I've ever read outside the Bible up to this point has been Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey. . . The book is divided into four sections: What's in a Worldview, Starting at the Beginning, How We Lost Our Minds, and What's Next: Living It Out. Section one reads a little bit like How Shall We Then Live tracing dualistic thought from Platonic Dualism through Augustine and Aquinas all the way to our present modernist outlook. The second section deals with the Intelligent Design vs....more
Jeremy
One of the most helpful books that I've ever read. It took a while (I think I started in September or October), but I plowed through it like I did with Beeke's book on Calvinism. Pearcey covers basic worldview elements, then dives into an exploration of how deeply Darwin's thoughts have affected American thought, education, religion, home life, etc. A significant point here—one that I was already aware of, but one that she hammered home—is that Darwinism is not simply a neutral, faithless positi...more
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Nancy Randolph Pearcey is the Francis A. Schaeffer Scholar at the World Journalism Institute, where she teaches a worldview course based on the study guide edition of Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity. In 2005, Total Truth won the ECPA Gold Medallion Award in the Christianity & Society category, in addition to an Award of Merit in the Christianity Today book awar...more
More about Nancy Pearcey...
Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, and Meaning Soul of Science Verdade Absoluta Science vs. Christianity. The Areopagus Journal of the Apologetics Resource Center. Volume5, Number1. The Problem of Evil (Developing a Christian Worldview)

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“Having a Christian worldview means being utterly convinced that biblical principles are not only true but also work better in the grit and grime of the real world.” 10 likes
“The gospel is like a caged lion,' said the great baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon. 'It does not need to be defended, it simply needs to be let out of it's cage' Today, the cage is our accommodation to the secular/sacred split that reduces Christianity to a matter of personal belief. To unlock the cage, we need to become utterly convinced that, as Francis Schaeffer said, Christianity is not merely religious truth, it is total truth- truth about the whole of reality.” 7 likes
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