Total Truth, Divided Concept of Truth Introduction

I began reading Total Truth by Nancy Pearcy over a year ago. Full of wonderfully-enlightening earth-shattering truth, the book somehow still ended up on a bookshelf collecting dust.

I’ve decided it is time to dive in again. To make sure that I can wrap my mind around what I am reading, I plan to summarize bits and pieces of my readings here on One Beggar’s Bread. I hope dropping these few crumbs of Total Truth will whet your appetite for more!

Nancy Pearcey says the first step toward developing a Christian worldview is to overcome the sharp divide between heart and brain. She says the dichotomy in our minds that separates certain things into a sacred realm and a secular realm is the greatest barrier to liberating the power of the gospel across the whole of culture today.

With modernization has come this separation of ideas into the private sphere of personal preferences (family, church, relationships, sex) and the public sphere of “scientific” knowledge and “value-free” institutions (the state, academia, large corporations). Another way to explain this is thinking of a separation of everything into either a values sector of individual choices or a facts sector that is binding on everyone.

Religion is no longer considered an objective truth to submit to, no longer belonging to the “facts” or “public” sector, but is only a matter of personal taste left to our own choice. Because religion has been relegated to the value sphere, it is completely removed from the realm of true and false. Where many people would never attack religion directly or try to prove it wrong, they use this incredibly powerful weapon to de-legitimize the biblical perspective. The biblical perspective has been rendered impotent.

As a Christian, you may have wondered why when you intend to assert an objective moral truth important to the health of society (regarding abortion, bioethics, homosexuality etc.), the secularist friend you are speaking with thinks you are merely revealing your subjective bias. The secularist mindset sees your assertion as a “power grab.” How dare you try to push your subjective ideas on to me?

Lesslie Newbigin, author of A Word in Season: Perspectives on Christian World Missions and missionary to India for 40 years states that the divided concept of truth is the number one factor in “the cultural captivity of the gospel.” Upon Mr. Newbigin’s return to the West, he was able to see clearly the way Christian truth has become marginalized. Newbigin noticed that ANY position labeled religion is placed in the values sector — where it is no longer regarded as objective knowledge.

We need to liberate the gospel from its cultural captivity, restoring it to the status of public truth (TT, p22) The church has accommodated this fact-value dichotomy, sitting idly by while the gospel is put into a cage. Michael Goheen says, “Only by recovering a holistic view of total truth can we set the gospel free to become a redemptive force across all of life.”


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