Tearing Down Strongholds

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Tearing Down Strongholds begins with a whirlwind tour of the history of modern thinking. In twelve short pages you'll learn all that you need to know (and more than you'll probably want to know) about the sources and trajectories of the bankrupt philosophies spawned by the Enlightenment. By the end of the first chapter you'll be wondering why would anyone who prides themselves on clear thinking continue to embrace these worldviews which, regardless of their validity, have so clearly led to disaster after historical disaster.

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The book moves on to consider in turn what might be called the empirical or scientific worldviews, namely positivism, naturalism, and behaviorism. R.C. shows not only that each worldview is inconsistent at a fundamental level, but that each worldview is motivated by a fundamental desire to deny our need to understand a transcendent God as we strive to understand His creation. We are entering Romans 1 territory, where the thinking is darkened for eternal purposes…and yet it is necessary that we understand such thinking so that we might search it out and destroy it in our own minds.

Next up are what might be called the skeptical worldviews, namely pragmatism, skepticism, relativism, existentialism, and nihilism. Each of these not only denies the need to understand a transcendent God, it either ignores or denies His very existence. As each successive worldview spirals ever deeper into this denial, we find that any concept that our existence might have a purpose slips ever further from our grasp, with only increasing despair to take its place. In these chapters R.C. patiently and straightforwardly continues his work of demonstrating that each of these worldviews is not only bankrupt but fundamentally flawed.

In some limited sense, this is enough. The alternatives to the Christian worldview have been demolished, and so we might simply expect that their adherents will turn to embrace the only worldview left standing. Yet the attractiveness of such a thought only demonstrates how deeply we are all infected with pragmatism. Perhaps we have dispatched the enemies of the moment, but new ones are sure to come along. It is necessary not only to clear the battlefield, but to establish that our worldview has triumphed because it is undeniably and exclusively true.

And so R.C. devotes the remainder of this book to meticulously constructing a positive case for the truth of Christianity. It requires some work at the very lowest levels of our thinking. The questions that must be asked and answered include: Can I be certain that I exist? Can I know that logical reasoning leads to the truth? Can I trust my senses? Do words communicate reliably? Can I know that God is there? R.C. answers them all, and we are left knowing that our worldview is built upon a Rock that cannot be shaken.

The reader of Tearing Down Strongholds must be cautious that the silliness of the worldviews that are examined does not lead him to hold them in contempt. They may be intellectually contemptible, but as social forces they are not only powerful but dominant, controlling the secular culture and making subtle but significant inroads into the life of the church. The understanding that this book can provide will equip you to withstand those influences.

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