BOOK REVIEWS

Scientism and Secularism – J.P. Moreland (2018)

scJ.P. Moreland, Scientism and Secularism (Wheaton: Crossway, 2018), 210 pp.

When Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, the intellectual tectonic plates shifted with a force that continues to reverberate to this day. One of the tragic consequences (among many) that the book helped spawn was the philosophical notion of scientism. While this trendy worldview looks and sounds scientific, it is anything but. On the contrary, scientism aggressively advances the idea “that the hard sciences alone have the intellectual authority to give us knowledge of reality.” Stated another way, the other disciplines (theology and philosophy, for example) which have long sought to provide epistemological answers are no longer valid and offer no new insight when it comes to truth claims.

Scientism and Secularism by J.P. Moreland explores the themes of scientism in particular and helps readers uncover the diabolic implications of this school of thought. Dr. Moreland offers a comprehensive explanation of scientism and provides several examples of how it is influencing students in a postmodern age. He pulls the curtain back on scientism and helps the unsuspecting see that it is, in the final analysis, the enemy of science and as a result, is at odds with the historic Christian faith.

Moreland is typically fair and even-handed in his treatment of scientism. but ultimately argues that scientism has nothing in the way of explanatory power and should be rejected.

Science and Secularism is a readable and winsome book. It should be carefully read by university students, Christian and non-Christian alike. Christians will be better equipped to respond to typical arguments posited by scientism and non-Christians will be challenged to reconsider their presuppositions.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

BOOK REVIEWS

Scientism and Secularism – J.P. Moreland (2018)

scJ.P. Moreland, Scientism and Secularism (Wheaton: Crossway, 2018), 210 pp.

When Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, the intellectual tectonic plates shifted with a force that continues to reverberate to this day. One of the tragic consequences (among many) that the book helped spawn was the philosophical notion of scientism. While this trendy worldview looks and sounds scientific, it is anything but. On the contrary, scientism aggressively advances the idea “that the hard sciences alone have the intellectual authority to give us knowledge of reality.” Stated another way, the other disciplines (theology and philosophy, for example) which have long sought to provide epistemological answers are no longer valid and offer no new insight when it comes to truth claims.

Scientism and Secularism by J.P. Moreland explores the themes of scientism in particular and helps readers uncover the diabolic implications of this school of thought. Dr. Moreland offers a comprehensive explanation of scientism and provides several examples of how it is influencing students in a postmodern age. He pulls the curtain back on scientism and helps the unsuspecting see that it is, in the final analysis, the enemy of science and as a result, is at odds with the historic Christian faith.

Moreland is typically fair and even-handed in his treatment of scientism. but ultimately argues that scientism has nothing in the way of explanatory power and should be rejected.

Science and Secularism is a readable and winsome book. It should be carefully read by university students, Christian and non-Christian alike. Christians will be better equipped to respond to typical arguments posited by scientism and non-Christians will be challenged to reconsider their presuppositions.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

BOOK REVIEWS

The Gospel According to Paul

paulJohn MacArthur, The Gospel According to Paul, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2017, 256 pp. $13.20

Nearly thirty years ago, Dr. John MacArthur wrote The Gospel According to Jesus. The book was a clear articulation of the gospel and a sharp repudiation of antinomianism and other views that failed to affirm the lordship of Jesus Christ in salvation. A firestorm erupted and sparked heated debate among evangelicals as a result of the book. Since that time, MacArthur has written several books that articulated the gospel and defended it from attacks, most of which were coming from professing evangelicals leaders.

MacArthur’s latest offering, The Gospel According to Paul, is less polemical in tone but no less powerful than his previous works. His intent is to survey the gospel through the eyes of Paul the apostle and consider several questions that are of utmost importance:

What is the gospel?

What are the essential elements of the gospel?

How can we be certain we have it right?

How should Christians be proclaiming the gospel to the world?

MacArthur adds, “The gospel was no sideline for the apostle Paul. ‘Jesus Christ and Him crucified’ was the principle theme of everything the apostle taught or preached” (129). So with passion and biblical precision, the author showcases the gospel according to Paul.

A wonderful summary of the book may be found in MacArthur’s explanation of Philippians 3:4-11:

“That is a remarkable testimony because of the way Paul weaves in several of his favorite gospel themes: the worthlessness of human works as a means of gaining merit with God; the pivotal role of faith; the principles of grace and imputed righteousness; the death and resurrection of the Savior; and above all the supreme value of knowing Christ over any earthly benefit, privilege, or treasure.”

MacArthur not only provides a masterful articulation of the gospel and penal substitutionary atonement; he defends it against the pernicious threat of antinomians, Pharisees, and other dangerous heretics.

The Gospel According to Paul is a clear explanation of the most important reality in the universe, namely, that “in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor. 5:19). It unfolds the gospel with a decisively Reformed framework and rightly points readers to the magisterial Reformers and the truths they unearthed in the sixteenth century. And it is basic enough for new believers but also contains a treasure chest of Christ-glorifying truths that are guaranteed to encourage and equip longtime followers of Jesus.

Highly recommended!

BOOK REVIEWS · Theology

THE SEARCHERS: A Quest for Faith in the Valley of Doubt – Joseph Loconte (2012)

Joseph Laconte’s book, The Searchers takes readers on a journey of faith and doubt.  The author utilizes the travelers on the road to Emmaus to make a thought-provoking point – people long for home, a place of “belonging, meaning, and love.”  But Laconte doesn’t build his case on false pretenses.  He admits that the notion of a happy home “can be a distraction, something that keeps us from fulfilling a great task or obligation set before us.”  The Searchers probes where some people seem unwilling to go.

The author utilizes literature and film to drive home the aforementioned point.  He interacts with conservatives and liberals, yet he comes across with a sense of cynicism toward anything or anyone who is sympathetic to the doctrines of grace.  Some of his criticism is helpful; some of it is unwarranted.

Laconte spends too much time interacting with the zeitgest in order to get to the central notion in the book.  But once he lands, his thoughts are worth reading.  He summarizes the essence of Christ’s message to the travelers on the road to Emmaus: “The message from Jesus … is that God sent His Son to rescue people from the curse of sin and death.  It is the news that this Rescuer, Jesus, gave his life in exchange for ours – and then rose from the dead to offer us new life, an incorruptible life, with God.  It was love that sent the Rescuer to his death and love that raised him to life again.”

The insight in The Searchers is commendable.  Loconte has surfaced some important principles that are helpful in the Christian pilgrimage.

3 stars

Disclaimer: I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.