I received and read a review copy of Saving Truth by Abdu Murray back in the summer (2018). Saving Truth is published by Zondervan. The website for Mr. Murray and this book can be found here. Murray is the North American Director with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. A lawyer by profession, he also teaches and lectures on apologetics and Christian thought.
After reading the book in the summer, I neglected to get a review written of it. I will blame it on the adventures of the past summer, including vacation trips to…well, actually, we had no vacation trips and I spent most of the summer at home or at work. So, not getting a review done was no one’s fault but my own. But, in recent weeks the issue of truth came up with the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, the need to revisit this book came up. So I read it a second time.
Truth is a simple concept. In an unfallen world, it would be the guiding, the only, the unfailing mechanism that got things done. But in a fallen world, not only do what know what the truth is in many cases, but we have great battles of what “Truth” is. For that reason, Francis Schaeffer used the catchy term “true truth” in his day. Fake news, skepticism about truth, redefining truth, distorting truth, and denying truth are all ongoing battles in this world. Granted, on many issues and many situations, one can despair of knowing what the truth really is. (Do you know why the Crimean War was really fought?)
Murray is a cultural apologete for Christianity. Apparently, he lectures, debates, and discusses the Christian faith and Christian-centered issues on college campuses and in various forums, often including many varieties of non-Christian presenters. His first concern in this book is to awaken Christians to the dangerous concept of “post-truth.” We have experienced cases where agendas and beliefs have trumped any quest for truth. This becomes front and center in political debates. In fact, one Senator suggested that Judge Kavanaugh be dropped as a candidate for the SCOTUS simply because of allegations. Another senator whose career was advanced by a false narrative of military service vehemently attacked the judge for not being truthful.
What has happened in our day is that the whole world has become a political campaign. Or better, the whole world seems to be under the guidance of the WWE–World Wrestling Entertainment. No need to think that college campuses are places where concerned teachers and students are in a search for the truth either. Truth has and is being pushed the way of the old rotary telephones. Truth then becomes a nice exhibit in a museum, a reminder of a more simplistic and maybe naïve past.
Needless to say, Christianity has lots of stock invested in the concept of truth. If truth cannot be known, can not be certain, can not be attained, or does not really exist, the whole fabric of the Faith is ripped to shreds. After all, Jesus declared Himself to be the Truth. From beginning to end, the Bible claims what men like Gordon Clark, Cornelius Van Til, Francis Schaeffer, R, J. Rushdoony, and others have affirmed: In it, God has spoken and the Bible is true.
The need of our age and the bulk of this book is toward “clarity in a post-truth world,” as the subtitle indicates. The areas that Murray seeks to bring clarity to are freedom, human dignity, sexuality (and gender and identity), science and faith, and religious pluralism. In many of these areas, Christians can often be harsh in giving answers and/or not know what answers to give. This book is instructive in reminding them of basic Gospel truths and Christian civility. But the contents would also address the unbeliever who might be willing to listen to or, more obviously, read this book.
Christianity has answers. A Biblical worldview provides a way of searching out and dealing with life questions, whether they be in the philosophical realm or in deeply personal areas. One part of this book I particularly appreciated was Murray’s discussion of sexuality and gender. I confess that my more instinctive approach to the LGBT people and gender confused people is one of crying, “Repent.” Granted, the Christian message is one of repentance, but it also involves lots of listening and understanding. Jesus addressed all manner of people and did so perfectly. But I need the wisdom and insights of people who have themselves experienced Christ’s changing power over sins and life patterns alien to my own.
In his own life experiences, Murray was raised Muslim and embraced that religion. Conversion to Christ was not a quick or overnight matter, but involved a period of nine years. Along with people who are Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and other religions, many people hold to varying forms of spirituality or materialism or hodge-podge religious beliefs. Again, Murray provides calm and clear counsel (both for the believing and non-believing reader) that points the way to Christ.
We live in difficult times. I could have written those same words at any point in any century. Christians can sometimes be as much of the problem as the solution. Murray cites a case where Christian folk helped make a fear go viral that concerned the Bible being outlawed after the Obergefell court ruling. The basis in fact was a case brought to a Michigan court some years before Obergefell that was thrown out. But Christians were quick to “like and share” the news of this looming threat. Christians can lack understanding of the struggles people go through whose religions are different, whose sexual struggles are different, and whose science-related presuppositions are different. Battering rams are not the preferred Gospel method, however.
Along with reading this book, it is profitable to read Rosaria Butterfield’s The Gospel Comes With a House Key. I will soon be reviewing Louis Markos’ Atheism on Trial. Many other books addressing science, gender issues, religious plurality, and other battleground topics could be added to the list. We are blessed with having so many who are gifted and apt at engaging the culture with Christian answers. Saving Truth is well worthy of a spot on the reading list and bookshelf to be read and consulted for help and encouragement in these matters.