Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, & Meaning

Nancy Pearcey, author of the best selling Total Truth, has produced another outstanding and timely book. Don’t let the main title keep you from reading the sub-title which really states the purpose of the book. If you are familiar with Total Truth, you know that Pearcey writes from the same world and life view perspective found in other writers such as Abraham Kuyper, Francis Schaeffer, Chuck Colson and others. She is a prolific writer with an unusual ability to understand the world, its ideologies, challenges, and the kinds of solutions Christians need to consider to have the influence of salt and light desperately needed in today’s world.Her brief introduction really underscores that last statement. The title is ‘Why Americans Hate Politics.’ As she develops this idea, especially reflecting the younger generation and their cynical attitudes about politics, she is most insightful. Her amazing ability to discern and explain the development of politics, especially in America, is merely an illustration or example of her understanding of culture in general. She begins by emphasizing how America is “no longer animated by a moral vision. It became purely pragmatic.”

As she reminds us of the political focus on “the common good,” she also raises a legitimate question of who can define or determine the public good? Therefore, if there is no public good, how can politicians carry out their purpose of doing what is in the best interest of the public good?

The book deals with the antithesis between religion and secularism. For example in the first part of the book, she eloquently explains how secularism has successfully separated facts and faith, thus creating a dualism that puts faith, religion, values, morals, and ethics in one realm and science, reason, facts, and logic in another. Of course this strikes at the heart of a Christian world and life view, a kingdom perspective. She states in the beginning, and demonstrates throughout the book, the two major world views reflected in the Enlightenment with reason, science, fact, and logic and the Romantic movement with its focus on faith and values. The rest of the book really shows how these two schools of thought have formed the foundation for modern secularism, though both go in different directions while operating on the same secularist foundation.

In understanding something of this development, we can better understand how liberalism, and especially liberal churches have and are failing to teach the totality of truth. The Bible as the source of truth and authority has been pushed aside and in some cases removed completely.

After going into depth throughout the book to show the impact and results of secularism and its dualistic approach to life in the area of art, movies, and culture in general, she reminds us of the challenge for Christians, people of the truth, who see Christianity as a total truth system, a way of life, a world view from a kingdom perspective. We must see ourselves as missionaries to our own cultue. Of course the church plays a major role in equipping people to live with a total Christian worldview.She raises an extremely penetrating and thought-provoking question using art as one main example, “How can the church nurture new generations of artist to give visual and verbal expression to a Christian worldview?”Saving Leonardo, like Total Truth, will challenge you to realize that Christianity, while emphasizing the relationship with the Triune God, as a total way of life, there can be no dualism for us.

Charles Dunahoo pastored churches in Georgia and Alabama before being called to his present position as Coordinator for the PCA of Christian Education and Publications (CEP).

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