Liberated At Last

Book Reviews — By on September 9, 2008 at 12:50 pm

Author’s note: This review was originally published several years ago on another site. I believe this book is just as relevant today as it was when it was first published, so I am posting this here.
–Rachel Motte

Most Christians are more secular then they realize, and this must change if the Church is to have any sort of significant cultural impact. Nancy Pearcey‘s newest book, entitled Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity, argues that Christians must counter the affects of secularism by developing a comprehensive biblical worldview. This book offers wisdom and hope to the Christian who wants to have a more significant impact for the cause of Christ.
Evangelicals, explains Pearcey, have traditionally thought of salvation only in terms of individual souls. The idea that we are to have a redeeming influence in every area of culture is new to many, and just as many have no idea how to be the redemptive force that the world so desperately needs. People need to learn how to move beyond a merely privatized faith and apply biblical principles to areas like work, business, and politics.


Part one of Total Truth explains the concept of worldview and encourages Christians to critically examine their ways of thinking. Too many have already absorbed false worldviews; as a result, the Church is plagued with relativism, post-modernism, Darwinism, and any number of other secular philosophies. If we do not intentionally look at the world in a biblical way, argues Pearcey, we will (and have) unwittingly adopt a false philosophical approach.
Every worldview must explain three key elements of cosmic history: creation, fall and redemption. Every person wants to know where he came from, why there is evil in the world, and how he may be redeemed. Christians can use this simple grid to examine and evaluate any worldview. For example, let’s use this grid to briefly examine the New Age movement:

Creation: Everything is a manifestation of, or emanation from, a universal impersonal spiritual essence.
Fall: Individuality is the root of evil because it leads to greed, conflict, war, etc.
Redemption: This will come through unity when man reunites with the Spiritual Essence.

Part two of Total Truth examines the effect that Darwinism, itself a full-blown worldview, has had upon culture. Darwinism affects everything because it addresses the foundation of every worldview: creation. Pearcey states in her introduction,

“Whoever has the authority to tell a culture’s creation story functions as its de facto priesthood, with the power to determine what the dominant worldview will be. In the West, the reigning creation myth is Darwinian evolution; thus, no matter what our field of work is, we must begin by critiquing Darwinism–both its scientific claims and its worldview implications.”

A background in science writing equips Mrs. Pearcey to examine scientific evidence and clearly explain various ways that Darwinism has already been proved false. Evolutionists, she claims, cling to their theory because it is the very basis for the way they look at the world, not because it has been proven accurate. She also describes the beliefs and goals of the Intelligent Design movement and argues that Intelligent Design is the best alternative to Darwinism and naturalistic philosophy.
The effects of Darwinism stretch far beyond the science lab. Chapter seven points out that

“Darwinism functions as the scientific support for an overarching naturalistic worldview, which is being promoted aggressively far beyond the bounds of science… In order to have a redemptive impact on our culture, Christians need to engage Darwinian evolution not only as science but also as a worldview.”

Evolutionary approaches to psychology, morality, religion, medicine, education, politics, law, and history are examined in this chapter. “In other words,” says Pearcey,

“Darwinists are connecting the dots, tracing everything back to origins. And that’s why Christians had better connect the dots as well. If they offer ‘universal Darwinism,’ then we had better offer ‘universal Design,’ showing that design theory gives scientific support for an all-encompassing Christian worldview… Design theory thus provides the scientific basis for the recovery of a holistic, teleological worldview. It releases us from the modern dualism, making it reasonable once again to speak of morality as a form of objective knowledge.”

Part three of Total Truth examines the historical roots of the anti-intellectual streak in modern evangelicalism and argues that, unfortunately, Evangelicals have sometimes helped Darwinism spread. For example, the Great Awakenings of the 19th century tended to emphasize the subjective part of salvation. Evangelists used many emotional appeals to convince people to convert, sometimes resorting to downright manipulation. Over time the increasing appeal to the heart over the head helped contribute to an anti-intellectual attitude. False philosophies like Darwinism spread in part because there were few Christian scholars to refute them.
The best way to get rid of a bad worldview is to replace it with a true worldview. Christians must develop a comprehensive biblical worldview that affects not only beliefs but also actions. Thoroughly researched, well-written and well-argued, Total Truth will prove to be a useful and easily accessible guidebook for many who seek to develop such a worldview. ‘


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  • ex-preacher

    So please explain why a committed evangelical like geneticist Francis Collins says:
    “Yes, evolution by descent from a common ancestor is clearly true. If there was any lingering doubt about the evidence from the fossil record, the study of DNA provides the strongest possible proof of our relatedness to all other living things.”
    And why should I take the word of Nancy Percey, who has a masters degree in biblical studies from a seminary, that evolution is false when the overwhelming majority of biologists with PhDs, the majority of whom are Christians, say that evolution is clearly true.

  • ex-lutheran

    Did you miss it? Her qualifications are very clearly explained:
    “A background in science writing equips Mrs. Pearcey to examine scientific evidence and clearly explain various ways that Darwinism has already been proved false.”
    Totally qualified in my view. If you go to her website it turns out that she is also a “professor of worldview studies at Philadelphia Biblical University.” Again, much more qualified to discuss complex scientific theories and evidence than some secular “scientist.” What do they know about Truth?

  • ex-lutheran

    Sorry, I missed the best part from her website:
    “Nancy began publishing articles on science and world- view in 1977 for the Bible-Science Newsletter, where for 13 years she analyzed the Christian worldview themes she would develop more fully in later books and articles.”
    I am aware of no higher scientific authority or superior peer review scientific journal in America than the “Bible-Science Newsletter.” These qualifications just speak for themselves.

  • http://slothsrcool.blogspot.com/ ScottR

    ex-preacher, you point out that, “the overwhelming majority of biologists with PhDs, the majority of whom are Christians, say that evolution is clearly true.”
    If so, I think this is exactly why Mrs. Pearcey wrote the book and why it is so important. Many Christians have traded biblical worldviews for humanistic, naturalistic, materialistic, etc. ones. Thus the need for a return to understanding life, the universe, and everything (my apologies to Douglas Adams) from a biblical perspective. A return to filtering our thoughts and conclusions about reality through God’s word rather than through what non-Christians say we should.

  • Mike Toreno

    Rachel, do you know if Philadelphia Bible College is a retard college like Biola?

  • qwe4r5tyuio

    Ex asks: So please explain why a committed evangelical like geneticist Francis Collins says:
    “Yes, evolution by descent from a common ancestor is clearly true. If there was any lingering doubt about the evidence from the fossil record, the study of DNA provides the strongest possible proof of our relatedness to all other living things.”
    The answer is that Dr. Collins is unaware of the immutable fact that it takes DNA to create DNA.
    Horizontal DNA changes occur because they were pre-programed to, but vertical changes never occur in nature. 99999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999. % of all mutations are harmful and the remaining
    0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000.1%
    change little — but perhaps the faith of men who, like you, who would willingingly sell their spiritual birthright for a mess of porriage.

  • http://www.bebo.com/theangelofsadness “A”man

    We made a god out of our fright, a devil out of our cognition and a sin out of our perspicacity.

  • http://www.bebo.com/theangelofsadness “A”man

    We made a god out of our fright, a devil out of our cognition and a sin out of our perspicacity.

  • http://www.bebo.com/theangelofsadness “A”man

    We made a god out of our fright, a devil out of our cognition and a sin out of our perspicacity.

  • http://www.bebo.com/theangelofsadness “A”man

    We made a god out of our fright, a devil out of our cognition and a sin out of our perspicacity.

  • http://www.bebo.com/theangelofsadness “A”man

    We made a god out of our fright, a devil out of our cognition and a sin out of our perspicacity.

  • http://www.bebo.com/theangelofsadness “A”man

    We made a god out of our fright, a devil out of our cognition and a sin out of our perspicacity.

  • http://evangelicalperspective.blogspot.com Collin Brendemuehl

    Philadelphia Biblical University (formerly Philadelphia College of the Bible) has a fine historian in Dr. Wenger. It’s a good school.
    Pearcy is a decent philosopher but a mediocre scientist. She’s good but, imnsho, should stay in her field.
    Motte is out at Biola, founded by (iirc) R A Torrey, who was also a philosopher and expert on Hegel.
    These schools are no slouches. They may not be Notre Dame but they can certainly hold their own.

  • Craiug

    Pearcy’s book is excellent, I would recommned it highly. I would also suggest that her “mentor” Francis Scheaffer is definitely worth a read as well.

  • Jrm

    Nancy Pearcey, Young Earth Creationist.
    Yougn Earth Creationism, condemned by Augustine himself, is the most powerful engine driving Christians into atheisim today.
    Here is her sin against the First Commandment:
    [Nancy Pearcy]argues that Christians must counter the affects of secularism by developing a comprehensive biblical worldview.
    Nancy Pearcy is simply wrong. We combat the errors of secularism not by developing a “biblical” worldview. Instead we combat it by offering a truth woldview.
    “Iam am the Way, the Truth and the Life” said a wise man.
    The Truth, Nancy, is not Young Earth Creationism.

  • smmtheory

    condemned by Augustine himself

    Which Augustine would that be? And as long as you are clarifying which personage, how about also clarifying by at least identifying the writing which you interpret as condemnation?

  • Jrm

    OK, I assumed most people here were familiar with St Augustine, Doctor of the Church, whose work, written in 415 A.D. “On the Literal Meaning of Genesis” treats the Genesis creation story as allegorical.
    The best version is probably the John Hammond translation.
    St. Agustine said:
    Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of the faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men…. Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by these who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.
    A solid Cristian analysis is here:
    http://www.asa3.org/ASA/topics/Bible-Science/PSCF3-88Young.html

  • smmtheory

    Oh, I definitely am familiar with St. Augustine. But you didn’t write St. Augustine, just Augustine as if there were only one in the world. I just wanted to make certain we were on the same page in that regard.
    Now, I haven’t read anything that Pearcy has written, but I fail to see how countering the affects of secularism by developing a comprehensive biblical worldview translates to being a Young Earth Creationist. And if she is challenging the Natural Selection worldview, I don’t believe that translates to Young Earth Creationist either.
    So if you will, pardon me for doubting that St. Augustine himself condemns her work. Never mind that I also fail to see how she would be sinning against the first Commandment even if she were a proponent of Young Earth Creationism. If on the other hand, she is trying to combat the Natural Selection worldview, that would indicate to me that she were in actuality trying to live up to the first Commandment.

  • phasespace

    I only have one question. What is to be gained by interpreting the germ theory of disease via a “Biblical Worldview?” What new insights to disease transmission will this give us? What cures for disease will such a view yield? And perhaps most importantly, what the heck does such a “worldview” even look like in this context?
    Honestly, we’ve been down this road before and we know where it leads. Those that ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

  • qwer5t6yu

    Jrm concludes his rant against young earth creationism thusly . . .
    “I am am the Way, the Truth and the Life” said a wise man.
    This wise man also said:
    “. . . from the BEGINNING of creation, `God made them male and female.
    (Mark 10:6) (emphasis mine)
    Who are you to contradict the creator and Lord of the universe?

  • Ric

    It’s pretty inconvienient when facts and reality contradict everything you believe. I can see why Nancy Percey wants to create her own facts and reality and ignore the real ones.

  • DOUGLAS FIELD

    WHERE ALSO ARE AMERICA’S RELIGIOUS LEADERS ??
    SENATOR OBAMA, PLEASE GIVE AMERICA ~ A DOSE OF REALITY ON THIS HORROR !!! THIS JUDICIAL INJUSTICE HAS BECOME AN AMERICAN ART FORM,AND NO LONGER CAN BE KEPT HIDDEN OR SECRET FROM THE AMERICAN PEOPLE !!!
    LETS ALL HOPE OUR MEDIA FRIENDS CONTINUE TO SHOW AN INTEREST IN REPORTING ON THIS AMERICAN HORROR FACING THESE (TENS OF THOUSANDS) FORGOTTEN AND TRAPPED POORER AMERICANS, AND HOW THIS PRESIDENTIAL CONTENDER HANDLES THIS VERY SERIOUS ISSUE FACING AMERICA’S LATINO AND BLACK AMERICAN COMMUNITIES ??
    WITH 80% OF THE BLACK AMERICAN VOTERS SAYING THEY SUPPORT SENATOR OBAMA IN THIS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, IT IS ONLY FAIR FOR EVERYONE TO KNOW PRIOR BEING ELECTED OUR NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES HOW THIS DEMOCRATIC SENATOR TRULY FEELS ABOUT THIS AMERICAN JUDICIAL INJUSTICE CONTINUING TO INFLICT GRAVE HARM ON THE BLACK & LATINO AMERICAN FAMILIES AND THEIR COMMUNITIES NATIONWIDE ???
    *** WHEN GOD’S FACE BECAME VERY RED ***
    THE US SUPREME COURT GAVE ENEMY COMBATANTS FEDERAL APPEAL HC RIGHTS LAWYERS AND PROPER ACCESS TO US FEDERAL COURTS,AND POORER AMERICANS (MANY EVEN ON DEATH ROW) ARE DENIED PROPER FEDERAL APPEAL LEGAL REPRESENTATION TO OUR US FEDERAL COURTS OF APPEAL, AND ROTTING IN AMERICAN PRISONS NATIONWIDE ????
    **** INNOCENT AMERICANS ARE DENIED REAL HC RIGHTS WITH THEIR FEDERAL APPEALS !
    THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE $LOWLY FINDING OUT HOW EA$Y IT I$ FOR MIDDLE CLA$$ AND WORKING POOR AMERICAN$ TO FALL VICTIM TO OUR U$ MONETARY JUDICIAL $Y$TEM.
    ****WHEN THE US INNOCENT WERE ABANDONED BY THE GUILTY ****
    The prison experts have reported that there are 100,000 innocent Americans currently being falsely imprisoned along with the 2,300,000 total US prison population nationwide.
    Since our US Congress has never afforded poor prison inmates federal appeal legal counsel for their federal retrials,they have effectively closed the doors on these tens of thousands of innocent citizens ever being capable of possibly exonerating themselves to regain their freedom through being granted new retrials.
    This same exact unjust situation was happening in our Southern States when poor and mostly uneducated Black Americans were being falsely imprisoned for endless decades without the needed educational skills to properly submit their own written federal trial appeals.
    This devious and deceptive judicial process of making our poor and innocent prison inmates formulate and write their own federal appeal legal cases for possible retrials on their state criminal cases,is still in effect today even though everyone in our US judicial system knows that without proper legal representation, these tens of thousands of innocent prison inmates will be denied their rightful opportunities of ever being granted new trials from our federal appeal judges!!
    Sadly, the true US *legal* Federal Appeal situation that occurs when any of our uneducated American prison inmates are forced to attempt to submit their own written Federal Appeals (from our prisons nationwide) without the assistance of proper legal counsel, is that they all are in reality being denied their legitimate rights for Habeas Corpus and will win any future Supreme Court Case concerning this injustice!
    For our judicial system and our US Congressional Leaders Of The Free World to continue to pretend that this is a real and fair opportunity for our American Middle Class and Working Poor Citizens, only delays the very needed future change of Federal Financing of all these Federal appeals becoming a normal formula of Our American judicial system.
    It was not so very long ago that Public Defenders became a Reality in this country.Prior that legal reality taking place, their were also some who thought giving anyone charged with a crime a free lawyer was a waste of taxpayers $$.
    This FACADE and HORROR of our Federal Appeal proce$$ is not worthy of the Greatest Country In The World!
    ***GREAT SOCIETIES THAT DO NOT PROTECT EVEN THEIR INNOCENT, BECOME THE GUILTY!
    A MUST READ ABOUT AMERICAN INJUSTICE:
    1) YAHOO AND 2) GOOGLE
    MANNY GONZALES THE KID THAT EVERYONE FORGOT IN THE CA PRISON SYSTEM.
    ** A JUDICIAL RIDE OF ONES LIFE !
    lawyersforpooramericans@yahoo.com
    (424-247-2013)

  • DOUGLAS FIELD

    WHERE ALSO ARE AMERICA’S RELIGIOUS LEADERS ??
    SENATOR OBAMA, PLEASE GIVE AMERICA ~ A DOSE OF REALITY ON THIS HORROR !!!
    SENATOR OBAMA,THIS JUDICIAL INJUSTICE HAS BECOME AN AMERICAN ART FORM,AND NO LONGER CAN BE KEPT HIDDEN OR SECRET FROM THE AMERICAN PEOPLE !!!
    LETS ALL HOPE OUR MEDIA FRIENDS CONTINUE TO SHOW AN INTEREST IN REPORTING ON THIS AMERICAN HORROR FACING THESE (TENS OF THOUSANDS) FORGOTTEN AND TRAPPED POORER AMERICANS, AND HOW THIS PRESIDENTIAL CONTENDER HANDLES THIS VERY SERIOUS ISSUE FACING AMERICA’S LATINO AND BLACK AMERICAN COMMUNITIES ??
    WITH 80% OF THE BLACK AMERICAN VOTERS SAYING THEY SUPPORT SENATOR OBAMA IN THIS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, IT IS ONLY FAIR FOR EVERYONE TO KNOW PRIOR BEING ELECTED OUR NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES HOW THIS DEMOCRATIC SENATOR TRULY FEELS ABOUT THIS AMERICAN JUDICIAL INJUSTICE CONTINUING TO INFLICT GRAVE HARM ON THE BLACK & LATINO AMERICAN FAMILIES AND THEIR COMMUNITIES NATIONWIDE ???
    *** WHEN GOD’S FACE BECAME VERY RED ***
    THE US SUPREME COURT GAVE ENEMY COMBATANTS FEDERAL APPEAL HC RIGHTS LAWYERS AND PROPER ACCESS TO US FEDERAL COURTS,AND POORER AMERICANS (MANY EVEN ON DEATH ROW) ARE DENIED PROPER FEDERAL APPEAL LEGAL REPRESENTATION TO OUR US FEDERAL COURTS OF APPEAL, AND ROTTING IN AMERICAN PRISONS NATIONWIDE ????
    **** INNOCENT AMERICANS ARE DENIED REAL HC RIGHTS WITH THEIR FEDERAL APPEALS !
    THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE $LOWLY FINDING OUT HOW EA$Y IT I$ FOR MIDDLE CLA$$ AND WORKING POOR AMERICAN$ TO FALL VICTIM TO OUR U$ MONETARY JUDICIAL $Y$TEM.
    ****WHEN THE US INNOCENT WERE ABANDONED BY THE GUILTY ****
    The prison experts have reported that there are 100,000 innocent Americans currently being falsely imprisoned along with the 2,300,000 total US prison population nationwide.
    Since our US Congress has never afforded poor prison inmates federal appeal legal counsel for their federal retrials,they have effectively closed the doors on these tens of thousands of innocent citizens ever being capable of possibly exonerating themselves to regain their freedom through being granted new retrials.
    This same exact unjust situation was happening in our Southern States when poor and mostly uneducated Black Americans were being falsely imprisoned for endless decades without the needed educational skills to properly submit their own written federal trial appeals.
    This devious and deceptive judicial process of making our poor and innocent prison inmates formulate and write their own federal appeal legal cases for possible retrials on their state criminal cases,is still in effect today even though everyone in our US judicial system knows that without proper legal representation, these tens of thousands of innocent prison inmates will be denied their rightful opportunities of ever being granted new trials from our federal appeal judges!!
    Sadly, the true US *legal* Federal Appeal situation that occurs when any of our uneducated American prison inmates are forced to attempt to submit their own written Federal Appeals (from our prisons nationwide) without the assistance of proper legal counsel, is that they all are in reality being denied their legitimate rights for Habeas Corpus and will win any future Supreme Court Case concerning this injustice!
    For our judicial system and our US Congressional Leaders Of The Free World to continue to pretend that this is a real and fair opportunity for our American Middle Class and Working Poor Citizens, only delays the very needed future change of Federal Financing of all these Federal appeals becoming a normal formula of Our American judicial system.
    It was not so very long ago that Public Defenders became a Reality in this country.Prior that legal reality taking place, their were also some who thought giving anyone charged with a crime a free lawyer was a waste of taxpayers $$.
    This FACADE and HORROR of our Federal Appeal proce$$ is not worthy of the Greatest Country In The World!
    ***GREAT SOCIETIES THAT DO NOT PROTECT EVEN THEIR INNOCENT, BECOME THE GUILTY!
    A MUST READ ABOUT AMERICAN INJUSTICE:
    1) YAHOO AND 2) GOOGLE
    MANNY GONZALES THE KID THAT EVERYONE FORGOT IN THE CA PRISON SYSTEM.
    ** A JUDICIAL RIDE OF ONES LIFE !
    lawyersforpooramericans@yahoo.com
    (424-247-2013)

  • http://howgoodisthat.wordpress.com Jim Gardner

    I find it utterly terrifying that in a day and age in which it has never been more important for the survival of the human race to embrace rational logic, people who not only feel that it is acceptable to ignore it but actively preach against it aren’t locked up – let alone free to publish their nonsense as if it is based on fact.
    Anyone who disputes Charles Darwin’s ability to draw together the science gathered by generations of observation and formulate an unfalsifiable theory so solid, it is corroborated by two distinct sets of empirical evidence, one of which was an area of science that didn’t even exist when the Origin of Species was first published, is the last person to be taking advice from on any subject, let alone one they have demonstrably failed to understand.

  • Thomas S

    I’m wondering what you think about this. I came across this interesting site, opposingviews.com the other day while doing some research on religion and its place in politics. It’s a site where there are numerous interesting debates on all sorts of subjects that are on everyone’s mind.
    The debate that specifically captured my attention is the one asking whether Intelligent Design has merit. I do like the idea that their debaters are not simply average people giving their opinions, but all are experts in their chosen fields. The point of view that really got to me though, is the one from the Ayn Rand Institute in which they call ID a supposedly non-religious theory, and a crusade to peddle religion by giving it the veneer of science.
    They use words like it is metaphysical marijuana intended to draw students away from scientific explanations and get them hooked on the supernatural. I’d like to place my comment there, but I’d really like to get some input from you before doing so. Here’s the specific debate I’d like to comment on. http://www.opposingviews.com/arguments/it-s-bait-and-switch Thanks so much.

  • http://link VanDenn

    Good time. And ,