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Monday, August 14, 2023, 16:48


A helpful examination of secular ideology and the biblical response to it. My rating: ★★★★☆

Content warnings: Discussion of gender ideology and other antibiblical beliefs | Bible versions used: NIV, ESV | Click here to read full post


I have always enjoyed books about apologetics. Because of that, parts of this book were fairly familiar to me. Its strength for me was its concise descriptions of the secular humanist philosophy that our world—to say nothing of human nature at its core—is built on. That was a challenge to me: Although I claim the authority of the Word of God for my life, how often do I act as if I’m the ultimate authority? The four-part breakdown of this mindset (feelings are the ultimate guide, happiness is the ultimate goal, judging is the ultimate sin, and God is the ultimate guess) really encapsulated the attitudes we see around us—they’re nothing new and nothing surprising; they’re the natural outpouring of human beings who have rejected God’s authority in favor of their own. And unfortunately, they crop up in my own life far too often.

Crain’s thoughtful examination of issues like cancel culture, deconstructionism, and false ideas of Jesus were helpful and thought-provoking, and I always like delving into the intricacies of moral law and how no society can have a foundation for good or evil without it. I’ve always believed that doctrine divides, and I still believe that, but she made an excellent point that without truth, there can be no unity. Knowing what we stand for as well as what we stand against is vital to our Christian witness, and this book’s ultimate focus on the gospel and how to share it is an excellent balance to its honesty about our broken world. I also found the discussion of critical theory (not just critical race theory) very helpful in understanding the context of today’s hot topics and the biblical approach to those topics. I’m much more aware now of how those theories play out in politics, relationships, education, and so many other spheres of life. That awareness is critical when it comes to addressing the heart of the matter, not just arguing about the symptoms.

As mentioned, some of the content was familiar to me, but it’s a good introduction in those areas as well, and I appreciate Natasha Crain’s honesty in declaring upfront that this book is intended for those who already operate from the belief that God’s Word is the final authority for faith and practice. At the same time, I always find it slightly ironic when authors claim the authority of God’s perfectly preserved Word and then work from the basis that only the original autographs are inerrant and there is no single inerrant translation today. But I do applaud Crain’s willingness to engage with sensitive issues in a gracious, biblical spirit of both grace and truth—a challenge for me to do likewise.

This is a book that deserves rereading.

**One other note from an editor’s perspective: This is probably no fault of the author’s, but I couldn’t help being distracted by the use of themself as the generic singular reflexive pronoun (“13 percent say they rely on themself”). I realize singular they has been in use for quite some time, but themself is still considered nonstandard except when used to refer to a person who does not accept biblical gender distinctions, which I know was not Natasha Crain’s intent. I’m guessing this is a publisher style choice, and I’m also guessing I’m one of few people it bothered, but there you have it.**

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Jayna Baas is the author of Preacher on the Run. She is a member of ACFW and The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network. Sign up for her newsletter and receive a free short story here.

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