P.E.A.R.s™ Periodic Encouragement And Reminders
“The Truth War” – Book Review ©
Robert E. Alderman, Jr.
The Truth War addresses the constant battle in our minds between true or false, right or wrong, good or evil, our way or God’s way, and God or Satan. It’s a war that has been raging openly and subtly since the Garden of Eden in churches and every realm of secular life.
A concise statement of the substance of this war is found in the book’s subtitle: FIGHTING for CERTAINTY in an AGE of DECEPTION.
The author is John MacArthur – host of Grace to You radio, senior pastor/teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, a frequent guest on both secular and Christian talk shows, a speaker at national and international conferences and summits (including the annual Shepherds’ Conference he oversees at Grace Community Church for thousands of pastors who attend from all over the world) and author of more than fifty books – including a Study Bible and Commentary. This particular book was published in 2007.
What I personally like about John MacArthur’s books and other teaching is he never engages in euphemisms; is clear on what he is trying to share and always provides substantive support for his position. In The Truth War, he does not deviate from that approach.
In the introduction and first chapter, he lays a brief, historical back-drop to this war and summary descriptions of the three primary, present day combatants against the Christian faith – which are:
Modernity: primarily the belief that truth is a phenomenon defined by science and human reason as the final arbiter without supernatural basis. Such is the secular religion/faith upon which Darwinism, Humanism, Marxism, etc. and theological liberalism are based.
Postmodernism: somewhat of a one-eighty turn away from modernity in the sense that its basic position is that absolute truth in any form is an impossibility – meaning it does not exist at all or at least cannot be known by the human mind. Thus, its faith system claims nothing is true, false, good, bad, right, wrong or subject to certainty in and of itself, but rather everyone is entitled to his or her own determination of truth according to their individual feelings.
The Emerging Church movement: is the “religious” application of postmodernism in that it asserts truth, at best, is a hazy and uncertain concept, with the additional caveat that the inability to know truth in any form is equally applicable against knowing even somethings absolutely as it is to knowing everything completely.
All three, the author points out, are simply the most recent atheist, agnostic, false prophet and apostate attempts to discredit the existence of an eternal, completely sovereign, divine Being as the creator and overseer of all that exists and occurs.
Although not in The Truth War itself, the following statement by C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity is a quick peek at what is ultimately the central issue in this war:
God designed the human machine [and all of creation] to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. [John 6:53-58] There is no other. That is why it is just no good [seeking] to make ourselves happy in our own way. [There is no] happiness and peace apart from Himself because it is not there. There is no such thing.
The need for advocates who understand that application is the bottom line discussion in The Truth War. In other words, ambassadors to carry forward the reality of God as the ultimate source of all Truth and soldiers to defend against those who attack that Truth are urgently needed. Too many Christians have already been deceived and taken captive to the point of being apathetic toward and/or unprepared to engage in this battle.
The springboard exhortation of the book (or re-exhortation) is Jude 3-4 with an emphasis on this statement:
I felt I had to write [a sense of compulsion] and urge you to contend for the faith that was once and for all-entrusted to the saints.
This, John explains, was and is a battle cry – an unequivocal Paul Revere the-British-are coming-the-British-are-coming kind of warning and call to action as a life and death issue.
If I had more space than is available in a blog, I would share similar warnings expressed by many other godly authors – including the consequences if we jointly or individually ignore it. However, this one from John Piper in Don’t Waste Your Life will need to suffice for now:
The phase [wartime mentality] tells me there is a war going on in the world between Christ and Satan, truth and falsehood, belief and unbelief…that the stakes of this conflict are higher than any other war in history; they are eternal and infinite; heaven or hell; eternal joy or eternal torment. I need to hear this message again and again [else] I drift into a false, peace-time mindset…
John MacArthur’s admonishments in The Truth War with respect to our churches, politics, social culture, business and family are similar as illustrated in these excerpts:
The Bible sets forth two, and only two ways: God’s way, and all others…people are said to be saved or lost…belong to God’s people or the world…there is the narrow way and the wide way…truth and falsehood, good and bad; light and darkness. [Quoting Jay Adams on what he terms the principle of antithesis]
There is no third option between true and false – [with that fantasy option being described in the field of logic as the “excluded middle”].
[This war] has happened in every major era of church history…we cannot afford to be apathetic about the truth…[and] the reality of the battle raging all around us.
...reality is created and truth is defined by God...[and]...what is true is true for everyone regardless of anyone’s personal perspective and individual preference…it’s the way things really are...[and]…is what is consistent with the mind, will, character, glory and being of God.
There is nothing passive, peaceful or easy about it. Jude’s exhortation [is] to wage a mighty battle.
Unfortunately, the visible church today is filled with people who have decided that biblical discernment and divinely reveled truth…are warn-out relics…They are weary of the battle for truth, and in effect have already unilaterally ceased resistance...[and] often seem more distressed about believers who think the Truth War is still worth fighting about.
Lest we think this book and its message have only abstract or academic application in our lives, the following words written in it ten years ago are directly pertinent to the current rioting related to Donald Trump’s election as President; the overall decay of our country in recent decades, and the increased violence throughout the world against Christianity.
I see a close analogy [says MacArthur referring to his discussion of the postmodern spiritual war] in the political situation that dominates the secular Western world today. The West loves openness, tolerance, freedom, and acceptance. That is understandable on a certain level, of course.
But, abandon moral values, throw a few lawless terrorists in the mix, and the situation changes. Terrorists don’t yield to any law. They hide by simply mixing into a free society, pretending to be other than they really are, taking advantage of society’s openness in order to gain access to places where they can attack the very foundations of society that grants them such freedom.
Western society, by and large, [however] does not have the will or the inclination to construct boundaries for its own self-defense. Years after the terror war supposedly got serious, America’s borders are still basically open to all comers.
Much of European society still opposes the idea of any military response to the terrorist threat. Postmodern values and political correctness rule out profiling, monitoring the conversations of suspicious people, targeting illegal residents, and other means that would help identify who the terrorists are.
Analysts in the media perform all sorts of intellectual gymnastics to avoid saying that the roots of terrorism have anything to do with a particular culture or religion.
[Remember, this was written ten years ago with the situation being even worse today because the writing that has long been on the walls of history, reality and in God’s Word have been ignored by the titled leaders of America and elsewhere around the world .]
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In closing this book review, I say simply this:
Of all the books I’ve read, studied and considered on the subject of Truth (of which many will be reviewed in this blog, time and God willing), The Truth War by John MacArthur is the best, single overview of this battle and its eventual consequences – if the warnings and call to action are not heeded.
Thus, if you are looking for just one book that addresses the ultimate issue in this war and gives a sufficient overview of its history and the basic substance of the attacks against all-encompassing, divine Truth – this is the book I recommend you read.
Have a great week!
Bob Alderman (and to my family: Love Dad!)
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