Total Truth

Jerram Barrs

I do not have the space in this brief review to give a summary of the content of the whole of this remarkable book; rather I will mention just a couple of highlights. Last year I had the students in my Apologetics and Understanding Contemporary Culture class read Total Truth. Almost without exception they found the book valuable and a pleasure to read. Nancy has a gift for presenting ideas (including some quite complex ones from the history of philosophy, the history of thinking about science, and the history of social and political movements) clearly, succinctly and powerfully. I had already observed this over a period of many years when reading articles she had written on 'Science and Faith' in various settings and in her collaboration with Charles Thaxton on their excellent book The Soul of Science.

As a consequence we invited her several years before the publication of this book to come to St. Louis and lecture for the Francis Schaeffer Institute at Covenant Theological Seminary on issues of Women in Society. The lecture she gave on the subject of changing views on the roles of men and women at home and in society over the past several hundred years was one of the finest I have ever heard on any subject. Several of our students, both women and men, who heard this lecture, said that it was life-changing for them. Much of the material of that lecture is found in chapter 12 of Total Truth. Since that time I have had the opportunity of hearing Nancy Pearcey lecture on several occasions at L'Abri conferences - and again the material of some of those lectures appears in this book - for example Section 2 on the impact of Darwinian Science on society and the Church. In every lecture I have heard her give she is always clear, stimulating and thoughtful - just as she is throughout this book. I count it a rare honor to know her and to have had the privilege of sitting under her teaching.

In Total Truth she recounts her experience, sadly all too common, of growing up as a young person in an educational and church setting where faith in Christ and in God's Word were not brought together with a clear commitment to Christian truth touching every area of life. As a consequence she saw no alternative but to abandon her faith. It was only through the ministry of Francis and Edith Schaeffer and L'Abri Fellowship that she gained the confidence to commit herself to the Gospel of Christ and to devote her considerable talents to the service of God's kingdom. From that point on her passion has been to give herself to bring every thought captive to be obedient to Christ and to destroy every proud obstacle that is set up against the knowledge of God. The Lord has used her to bring encouragement to many believers - helping them to see that they can put their hope in Christ and not be ashamed of the Gospel in their classrooms, their studies and their workplaces. The Lord has also used her as a laborer in his fields as he calls people to his Son. In addition her work has been a great help and spur to many in challenging them and assisting them as they seek to serve Christ in politics, law, education and other spheres of ministry.

The section at the end of the book with its extensive notes and lists of recommended books is itself worth the price of the book. I commend Total Truth without reservation and simply want to thank God for his gift to the Church that is Nancy Pearcey.

Nancy Pearcey - Wheaton: Crossway, 2004
Review by Jerram Barrs