A Review of “The Trouble with the Truth: Balancing Truth and Grace”

by Rod Groom

Rev. Rob Renfroe’s book calls us to the full gospel treatment of balancing truth and grace. We all have preferences one way or another. Some of us prefer to tell the truth of the Gospel, no matter how bad that might make one feel. Some of us would rather err on the side of grace, even if that conflicts with the truth of the Gospel. As Rob tells us, we must balance these. Like God, we must have a heart of holiness as well as a heart of love. “Grace is essential and truth matters!”

For several decades, we have been fighting what some call “culture wars” in this country. We cannot agree on what is right and what isn’t. Not only do we no longer agree on the truth, we cannot even agree on where to look for it. Both in the culture and in the church, some believe that “the truth is out there,” that there really is objective truth, real truth, the way things actually are. Many others see the truth as a matter of opinion, that the truth is individual, subjective, whatever you want it to be. As a matter of act, many today are offended if you say there is only one way to God, and that is through Jesus.

Many of us were raised to believe there is one factual way of looking at the world, the scientific, fact-finding, logical, analytical, truth-seeking way. This is Modernism. Modernism opposed what Renfroe calls the Scriptural Worldview, where God determines and reveals to us what is real and what is not. Modernism excluded God from the equation, and tended towards atheism.

Postmodernism came along and said since we cannot really prove what is objectively true, then it is a matter of personal preference, and that whatever you choose to believe is a truth and not necessarily the truth. This is the relativism of the Postmodern worldview. No matter what you believe in the area of morals, it is relative and subjective.

Renfroe talks of speaking on separate occasions to a young postmodern atheist and to a young postmodern Christian about why Hitler was wrong for killing six million Jews. Neither one of them could agree with that. The Christian said he did not know what was in Hitler’s heart. The atheist said everyone has a right to fight for what they believe, and while he would have fought against Hitler, he could not say he was wrong!

Renfroe does a very good job at explaining and differentiating these different ways of looking at the world. He explains that it boils down to a Scriptural versus a Cultural worldview, to objective versus subjective truth. Essentially, “Who determines reality— God or you? Does God determine who we are, or do we determine who God is?” (Kindle Locations 923-924). Renfroe goes on to discuss some of the “New Absolutes” in our postmodern culture, such as Openness, Tolerance, Pluralism, Being Nonjudgmental, and analyzes the many inconsistencies in each.

In his final, beautiful chapter, Rob reminds us all that love requires salt and light, truth and grace. We must tell the truth, but we must do it with love. The Trouble with the Truth is an important book to help us understand the many inconsistencies we find in our politically correct culture, and how we may begin to deal with them in truth and in love.

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