Faithfully Different: Regaining Biblical Clarity in a Secular Culture
By Natasha Crain
There is no neutral worldview. Rather, the lens in which every human views the world is shaped and refined by one’s moral, philosophical, and scientific beliefs as well as one’s personal attitudes, values, and experiences. Everyone has a worldview that they use to see the world clearly or blurs them to reality. Because there are many types of worldviews, many people do not share the same worldview and it is even possible for individuals to construct their worldview by picking and choosing various elements from varying sources. (Though, this often leads to contradictory viewpoints, opinions, or beliefs.)
Understanding worldviews and the implications of how one’s outlook on life influences how they perceive the world is something I never considered before reading the first Mama Bear Apologetics book. In that book, author Hillary Morgan Ferrer explained what the most common worldviews are and how they seeped into American culture and flooded nearly every corner of society [from public policy to academia, entertainment to corporations and beyond]. Her straightforward and relatable approach helped me to understand how problematic messaging and secular ideology can be destructive for someone who intends to live a biblically guided life that believes, trusts, and seeks the truth of God’s Word.
Since the founding of the United States, the biblical worldview has been the primary lens used to structure society and consider human nature. Though generations later, that is no longer the case. Mainstream culture has become increasingly hostile towards objective truth and Bible-believing Christians. The pressure to conform to secular ideals and ideologies has led many Christians to deconstruct their beliefs or abandon their faith all together. One look at society today and it should come as no shock to anyone that the biblical worldview is officially a worldview minority.
To assist us in this cultural moment so we can engage in this spiritual war, author and apologist Natasha Crain has written a timely book for Christians who want to stand strong for Christ without compromising their convictions.
Moreover, Faithfully Different will equip readers to identify and respond to the most secular worldview challenges faced today, such as compromising objective truth for subjective feelings, embracing the tenets of Progressive Christianity, kowtowing to cancel culture, answering the call to virtue signal, fighting for social justice rather than pursuing biblical justice, and much more.
Faithfully Different begins with an introduction that addresses the audience this book is intended to serve by calling it an “in-house” discussion directed at Christians who believe the Bible is God’s inerrant Word and the only sufficient and authoritative source for salvation, faith, and godliness. Crain describes this belief as the biblical worldview. I thought this was a wise way to welcome the reader while laying the foundation of what is to be expected and covered throughout the duration of the book.
Faithfully Different is productively divided into four sections:
- The New Normal
- Faithfully Different Believing
- Faithfully Different Thinking
- Faithfully Different Living
“The New Normal” section starts by exposing the problems that arise with existing in a secular-seeped culture while revealing the disheartening statistics of a diminishing biblical worldview. Perhaps what is most shocking in these stats is learning the differing ways in which Christians claim to identify as Christians as well as the ways in which they allow or restrict their faith to influence their life.
Some big takeaways from this section are:
- The dominant worldview of American culture (strident secularism) is fundamentally at odds with the biblical worldview.
- The opposing secularism is often hostile to the point where it is silencing, limiting, or intimidating Christians from publicly acting, speaking, defending, or living out their faith. The extensive pressure has led many Christians to deconstruct their faith, adapt to a more culturally-acceptable “Progressive Christian” faith, or leave the Christian faith completely.
- Learning the myth of secular neutrality.
- Understanding the “marketing” of secularism, its appeal to the greater society, and how Christians are “buying” into it. (Crain uses her background in marketing as a unique approach to describe the secular takeover. It is genius!)
In the “Faithfully Different Believing” section, Crain puts on her apologetics hat to equip the reader to boldly defend their beliefs while outlining the contradictions that often construct the lens of a secularist’s worldview. Additionally in this section Crain discusses the power of doubt and the impact of the deconstruction movement. She explains what deconstructionism is, how it can be both healthy (if reconstructed upon God’s Word) or toxic (if replanted on the sinking sand of the world), why it often begins with a desire for spiritual awakening or self-discovery but then leads many to turn to Progressive Christianity, agnosticism, or atheism. The reader will walk away from this section understanding how an individual is a product of what they believe.
The “Faithfully Different Thinking” sections shows how nearly every secular worldview borrows some influence from Christianity because of the natural moral conviction everyone shares due to their fallen human nature and separation from God. This section tackles some common misunderstandings that produce secular moral criticisms of Christianity while also reaffirming biblical morality under the pressure of secular virtue signaling. Using multiple examples, Crain uncovers the “marketing strategy” behind the redefinition of words (ex. tolerance, inclusion, diversity), the new standards of what is socially (ex. gay marriage) and morally acceptable (ex. abortion as women’s rights), and ultimately, the greater agenda that is at play. This section was really intriguing to me.
The last section of Faithfully Different is the call to action for Christians to rise above the standards of secularism, to remain rooted in their faith and convictions, and to persist against any resistance or threats of persecution. It is a conclusion that offers hope despite feelings of hopelessness and reminds followers of Jesus that they are not alone – the world hated Him first and it will hate us too because we do not belong to the world. Even so, we must not give up nor give in. Rather, we are to live in the world without conforming to it. Be fruitful and multiply. Go out, disciple, and evangelize. Share the Truth and shine the Light. Leave the world brighter, livelier, and more hopeful than when we entered into it.
After every chapter in this book there is a list of questions for discussion and reflection. Every question was thoughtfully curated and is useful for either group or personal discussion. Additionally, some chapters include a list of recommended resources to consult for further study and application. Many of the topical resources listed for more in-depth research were books that I have read, loved, and gained wisdom from, while the books unfamiliar to me I have added to my “future reading” list and look forward to gaining wisdom from someday 🙂
*I personally purchased this book. Any thoughts, opinion, endorsement, or feedback are my very own.