Book Review: Saving Truth, out June 2018
About the Book
Increasingly Western culture embraces confusion as a virtue and decries certainty as a sin. Those who are confused about sexuality and identity are viewed as heroes. Those who are confused about morality are progressive pioneers. Those who are confused about spirituality are praised as tolerant. Conversely, those who express certainty about any of these issues are seen as bigoted, oppressive, arrogant or intolerant. This cultural phenomenon led the compilers of the Oxford English Dictionary to name “post-truth” their word of the year in 2016.
Saving Truth provides arguments from a Christian perspective for the foundations of truth and how those foundations apply to many issues facing us today. For those enmeshed in the Culture of Confusion, Saving Truth offers a way to untangle oneself and find hope and meaning in the clarity that Christ offers.
Author: Abdu Murray
Abdu Murray is the North American director of Ravi Zacharias Ministries. He’s a regular speaker at churches and on college campuses and also hosts the radio program and podcast Embrace the Truth with Adbu Murray. A scholar in residence at the Josh McDowell Institue of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, he is the author of many articles and two books, including Grand Central Question.
Publication Date: May 2018
After setting up the premise for this book, Abdu Murray then declares in Chapter Two of Saving Truth:
“Who I want to address here are practicing Christians – men and women for whom Christianity is a way of life, regular church attendance is their practice, and devotion to Jesus is their ultimate aim. Although practicing Christians are less influenced by the Culture of Confusion, the influence is significant enough that we have to address it” (Page 27).
It is no secret we live in a volatile world where truth seems irrelevant. Instead of truth, even when faced with facts backing up such truth, many focus more on emotions than fact. Hence the phrase “post-truth”, or what Murray refers to as the Culture of Confusion. Murray does his best to unpack a complicated – and yes – confusing aspect of society. When describing what he refers to as The Seduction of a Post-Truth Mindset Murray writes:
“The post-truth Culture of Confusion elevates preferences and feelings over facts and truth. By elevating our preferences to be liked and feel accepted, Christians have misapplied the plain truth of Jesus’ words and exchanged them for pleasant cultural comforts. Christians conveniently forget the fact that like everyone else, they need a Savior. When Christians forget that, they create an ‘us versus them’ paradigm” (Page 29).
While Murray’s book is informative and helpful for believers trying to sort out the Culture of Confusion, I believe the true gems are found in the simplicity of his descriptions when it comes to key differences among world religions. One such gem comes in chapter five when discussing the differences between various religions and what we call the Golden Rule. In one sentence Murray equips believers with a simple response to those trying to say all religions abide by The Golden Rule. Murray writes; “Where others advise self-preservation, Jesus encourages self-sacrifice” (Page 113). Simple, to the point, and concise. This is just one example of what makes the reading of Saving Truth worthwhile.
However, after pointing out the value of this book, there are a couple issues. While Murray clearly states he is addressing “practicing Christians” and then defines who they are, some might find themselves confused, in the midst of the Culture of Confusion. While I won’t go as far as to say this book is a hard read, I will say it’s a heady read. On more than one occasion I found myself re-reading sentences, and sometimes entire paragraphs, in an effort to figure out what Murray was trying to say. If I found it heady, I’m sure others will find it difficult and in turn, possibly put the book down. It’s sad to say, many practicing Christians these days, are not reading Christians. As a result, some of the more scholarly writing passages might be passed by.
Even after outlining where I see the book falling short, all is not lost. Maybe the target audience is better identified as leaders of practicing Christians. If you’re a Christian leader helping believers navigate their way through the Culture of Confusion, Saving Truth is a must have book. As a matter of fact, some of the concepts I picked up in this book, I quickly shared with a Thursday morning group I lead at our church. Confusion abounds, and – as Murray accurately points out in Saving Truth – it’s time the church become less anti everything and more grounded in the truth. When equipped with the right information, we will move from a body of believers screaming, to a body of believers encouraging those around us with the hope of the Gospel. In this post-truth world the church has been accused of intolerance. While those inside the church say we are tolerant, to the world, often times our anti stance is nothing more than intolerance.
Another saving factor for Saving Truth revolves around the June release of a Study Guide and Video Study. With the release of these additional resources, I believe Saving Truth then moves firmly into the category of a must have for leaders equipping the saints for ministry. Where the stand-alone book is heady, now the leader will have the proper resources to better teach believers – or what Murray refers to as “practicing Christians” – the essential lessons from the book.
Enjoy the read!
Special thanks to Graf-Martin Communications for supplying review copy.