Right From Wrong by Josh McDowell & Bob Hostetler (Dallas, TX: Word Publishing, 1994), 332pp, paperback, $10.99.
This book is based on a Churched Youth Survey performed in 1994 involving 3,795 youth from thirteen denominations. The eight-page survey questionnaire included 193 questions spread across four categories: Love and Sex; Marriage and Family; Faith and Religion; and Attitudes and Lifestyles. While there is no statistical weighting of the data, the results are weighted according to the responsiveness of the denomination’s churches, which the authors’ believe reflects a good cross-section of evangelical churches.
A discussion of truth proceeds from the halls of history beginning in “the Garden of Eden, when the serpent induced our first parents to trust their own reason instead of simply obeying God’s command” up to this present day. In the Renaissance, man (not God) became central, the Enlightenment found man’s reason to be transcendent, the Industrial Revolution caused man to think of himself as self-sufficient, and Darwin’s theory of evolution provided an alternative to a theistic understanding of origins. “God was no longer ‘needed’ to explain or understand how the worldand mancame to be.” The result is that man believes himself “free to reach his own conclusions about right and wrong independent of God and His decrees.”
Truth as God defines it in Scripture is radically different from what many define truth to be today. “Absolute truththat is, that which is true for all people, for all times, for all places” is no longer consistently believed, defended, and applied in the lives of people. This book examines why this crisis exists in each of these three areas in detail.
Be aware that realistic, hard-hitting anecdotes provide illustrative examples of the topics discussed. While many are fictional and some are drawn from factual personal experience, the authors’ selections of these accounts are true-to-life and some readers may find them disturbing.
This volume also offers chapters which deal with truth as it specifically relates to sex, honesty, family, love, justice, mercy, respect, and self-control. Truth is defined for each topic, a test for truth is given, and evidence for that truth. A full chapter is dedicated to recovering truth in the home, church, and community.
In addition, data from the survey upon which this text was written are included in tables with summary statements and comprise the latter third of the book. Following is a section of additional resources for adults as well as youth. Included are listings of ministries that can also be enlisted to help.
While providing specific information and instruction to parents and Christian leaders, this book is also valuable to all those who want to understand why and how biblical truth has become irrelevant to people today. For this reason, steps are given which can be taken to restore belief in absolute truth in the lives of all people of all ages in this generation.
Reviewed by Deb Garland, www.spiritandtruth.org