Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Truth, by Randy Alcorn

Truth.  Sometimes it seems like a fluid concept.  We might hear about "alternative truth."  A politician's spokesperson might respond to criticism of her boss by talking about "her truth."  Randy Alcorn not only wants to make the case that truth is unchangeable and discoverable, but also that it is rooted in "the eternal, all-powerful, and unchangeable God."  In Truth: A Bigger View of God's Word, Alcorn gives us 200 short selections to help us understand and apply God's truth.

Following the pattern of his earlier book Grace, each selection includes a scripture, a couple of paragraphs of Alcorn's insights, and a quotation from another writer or pastor.  He covers a wide gamut of the Christian life, and draws quotes from a wide variety of the Christian tradition. 

The strength of these selections is two-fold.  First of all, Alcorn reminds us that God and his word are arbiters of truth, not us.  Christians should be looking to the authority of scripture, not their own feelings.  He writes, "The test of whether Scripture is my authority is this: Do I allow God's Word to convince me to believe what I don't like, what's contrary to what I've always believed and wanted to believe?  Do I believe it even when it offends me?"  We should believe what the Bible teaches, not "whatever makes us feel better about ourselves or justifies our actions."

Second, the truth of scripture should guide our lives.  Christians ignore or are ignorant of so much of what scripture teaches about the Christian life.  The Christian is a new creation.  We are saved by grace.  The gospel is good news.  (How about this quote: "A good test of whether you believe the true gospel is if it makes you happy.")  So much truth in the gospel, so many Christians who live like they don't believe it.

This is not a book to read straight through.  If you do, like I did, you will be frustrated by the lack of continuity or structure.  Take these short chapters a bite at a time, chew on them, and let God's truth inform your life and transform your thinking.  Truth is unchanging.  That is important to acknowledge.  But even more importantly, Christians need to acknowledge the power of truth to change them.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

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