Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity” as Want to Read:
Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity

4.26  ·  Rating Details ·  2,543 Ratings  ·  211 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
Hardcover, 511 pages
Published September 21st 2005 by Crossway Books (first published June 29th 2004)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Total Truth, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Total Truth

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Cathy Rape
Sep 13, 2009 Cathy Rape rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Douglas Wilson
Mar 01, 2009 Douglas Wilson rated it it was amazing
One of the most satisfying books I have read in a while.
Feb 28, 2008 Joel rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 28, 2009 Keith rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Sep 25, 2011 Randy rated it it was amazing
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
Nate San
Feb 10, 2012 Nate San rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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 ...more
Oct 26, 2011 Christa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 05, 2016 Abrahamus rated it it was amazing
Shelves: apologetics
The fact that it took me four-and-a-half years (in several widely separated and intensive forays) to work my way through this volume (over 500 pages counting the Study Guide at the end, which I will save for later) should say more about the scarcity of time I have for reading these days than it should about my interest level or its importance.

Pearcy is a protege of Francis and Edith Schaeffer who spent time in her youth living with and studying under them at their L’Abri fellowship in Switzerlan
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
Ross Leavitt
May 27, 2015 Ross Leavitt rated it it was amazing
This book is a multifaceted expansion of one simple thesis introduced by Francis Schaeffer: that today we think scientific pronouncements are binding on everyone, while religious and moral beliefs are not. That we operate on the lie that gravity and evolution are absolutely true no matter who you are, yet Jesus Christ can be both God and not God, depending on your perspective. In her confusing (in my opinion) subtitle, she means that our culture holds Christianity as a captive within the ...more
Jul 08, 2013 John rated it it was amazing
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.


"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
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
May 29, 2008 Kirk rated it it was amazing
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
Bryan Smith
Mar 11, 2011 Bryan Smith rated it it was amazing
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.
May 03, 2008 Rachel rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 20, 2013 Kyle rated it it was amazing
Classic worldview book. a much-needed read today – I used this as a discipleship tool in our Dutch Church, very helpful
Apr 30, 2015 Laura rated it it was amazing
Do you know that feeling you get when you find the perfect container to organize some unruly collection of items? That satisfied thrill of orderliness is the best way to explain what Nancy Pearcey's book did for my mind. She gave me new categories, better answers, and helped me cull out the mental clutter (like constructivism!) and left me with a clear worldview. This is one of the most original, intelligent, and thoroughly interesting books I've ever read.

No one can function in the world withou
Donald Owens II
Oct 06, 2016 Donald Owens II rated it it was amazing
There are a lot of books you could read, but only a few that you should. Like this. Nancy Pearcey, a student of Francis Schaeffer, skillfully analyzes and consolidates the work of Nathan Hatch, Rodney Stark, James Sire, and others to explain the state of the American church, how we got here, and what to do about it. Definitely a book to pass around.
Dec 26, 2013 Jkanz rated it it was amazing
Shelves: must-read
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
Brian Eshleman
May 16, 2013 Brian Eshleman rated it really liked it
Shelves: audible
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, ...more
Mar 14, 2015 Stephanie rated it really liked it
I had started reading this book as a recommendation from my mom, but I was struggling to move beyond the first part. I set it aside for a while and was re-motivated to read it after attending an inservice for Christian educators in which Gene Schultz, the speaker, quoted the book. He punctuated Pearcey's comments by calling her the best/clearest writer in matters dealing with Christian worldview. Of course I went home and started reading it again.
I was immediately reminded why I set it down. The
May 18, 2009 Steven rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 14, 2013 Amanda rated it it was amazing
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
Lynn Joshua
Feb 10, 2012 Lynn Joshua rated it it was amazing
I just re-read this. It's the most valuable book I have read in the last few years.
The author's conversational style makes what could be difficult subject matter (history, apologetics, philosophy) easy to follow.

Every worldview must answer three questions: 1) Creation -- How did we get here? 2) Fall -- How did we get in the terrible mess we're in? 3) Redemption -- How do we get out of this mess?
Her arguments not only challenge the different worldviews' direct truth claims, but pushes some of t
Apr 25, 2016 Katie rated it it was amazing
(Grad school read)

This is one of the best nonfiction books I've ever read on the subjects of philosophy and theology. It's thoroughly researched, organized well, and expertly written. Nancy Pearcey really proves herself as one of the great contemporary minds with this book, I thought.

She especially excelled in the final section, where she details the developments of modern feminism and how the Second Great Awakening and modern evangelicalism has resulted in a lack of intellectualism within mains
This book is absolutely brilliant. I highly recommend this book to everyone I know, especially those interested in developing an articulate worldview that they can defend with confidence. This book discusses the danger of the public/private and fact/value split as well the danger of an inconsistent worldview. Nancy Pearcey is both witty and brilliant. I was sad that the book came to an end.
Kyle Grindberg
Feb 26, 2016 Kyle Grindberg rated it it was amazing
What an excellent book, wow. It was such a clear presentation of the philosophical and historical issues related to Christianity and our modern culture. I will be re-reading it, and recommending it to others.
Aug 16, 2007 Julia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: apologetics, owned
The philosophy, the history, the in-depth analysis of present American culture... this book is a great launching pad for the newbie interested in Christian apologetics. What a refreshingly intellectual discussion of Christianity in a sea of emotionally-based fluff. Liberating indeed.
Charles Williams
Aug 12, 2014 Charles Williams rated it it was amazing
Oh how how we need to rescue our faith from its captivity to American culture. This book is a good start in that direction.
Jim Becker
Dec 02, 2015 Jim Becker rated it it was amazing
Really good. It's one of those few books that when you are done reading it you feel the need to read it again.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • All God's Children and Blue Suede Shoes: Christians and Popular Culture
  • The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog
  • A Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy: Three Essential Books in One Volume
  • Always Ready: Directions For Defending The Faith
  • A Shot of Faith (to the Head): Be a Confident Believer in an Age of Cranky Atheists
  • Love Your God with All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul
  • How Now Shall We Live?
  • Above All Earthly Pow'rs: Christ in a Postmodern World
  • Christianity and Liberalism
  • Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions
  • Hollywood Worldviews: Watching Films with Wisdom and Discernment
  • Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith
  • Plowing in Hope: Toward a Biblical Theology of Culture
  • Angels in the Architecture: A Protestant Vision for Middle Earth
  • Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church
  • Defense of the Faith
  • Apologetics to the Glory of God: An Introduction
  • Postmodern Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture
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 ...more
More about Nancy Pearcey...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“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.” 16 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.” 11 likes
More quotes…