Book Review: Truth Standing on its Head

What is truth? For the Christian, that answer is easy. Truth is found in God’s word, the Bible, and speaks specifically of Jesus who said of Himself, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” John 14:6

Sadly, the words of Jesus are not heeded by most people in the world, but that is to be expected given our free will nature. Perhaps most telling is how professed Christians handle truth and whether they truly apply what Jesus says to their own lives or merely give these words some “lip service.”

Sermon on the Mount

Dr. John N. Day, a Presbyterian Church of America pastor who oversees a church in Bellevue, Washington, tackles biblical truth in his book, “Truth Standing on its Head.” Subtitled, “Insight for an extraordinary Christian walk from the Sermon on the Mount,” Day takes the reader through the most well known sermon uttered by Jesus and explains what this means to those who say they follow Jesus Christ. Day addresses the words of Jesus Christ as found in the Gospel of Matthew, chapters 5, 6 and 7.

And it is the Sermon on the Mount which is the heart of the matter for every believer offering what Day recognizes as a paradox: “blessed be are the happy for they shall be humble, hungry, harassed…,” not the promising carefree life many of today’s prosperity preachers say is rightfully ours, rather lives which are being pressed down, squeezed together and stretched out as followers seek to enter the narrow gate and travel down the road less traveled. Yes, the poor in spirit will most definitely enter heaven and the meek shall inherit the earth, people who have long since given up their rights and claims here to lay up their treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not corrupt.

Brief, Effectual Chapters

Day offers 22 short, but power-packed chapters to help the reader consider his or her place in this life. There is much to ponder therein, but there are a few points Day made which stood out for me including:

There are many false religions in this world, but only Jesus offers the doorway leading to heaven. Islam, which means “submission,” is full of external rules and outward appearances. If you are an enemy of this religion, then its holy book calls you to kill your neighbor. Fully opposite to that is Christianity which can be summed up in one word: “love”. Love from a God who sent His son to die for the sins of the world, taking the penalty of death due us and instructing His followers to love their enemies. Starkly different belief systems, yet people today who lack a moral compass dismiss the dangers of Islam (let’s negotiate!) and attack the truth espoused by Christians.

Many people, particularly in America, call themselves Christians but are, in fact, not. In the next to last chapter, Day examined Matthew 7 — verses 15 to 23 – where Jesus warned the church of false prophets and the damage they do. At first glance, we may not see them, but we’re told to inspect their fruit. A blackberry bush cannot produce grapes and an apple tree’s fruit will not make you sick. Following that inspection, the false teachers become evident – we would do well to avoid such people!

Personal Heart Examination

Perhaps the most introspective part of the chapter was the second part – our self examination. We may think that we’re fine with God and do all the Christian things and we may pray with fervency, “Lord, Lord,” but for some Jesus will say that He never knew them. That pronouncement will be a tremendous shock to many including some who we think are followers of Jesus.

But, Day doesn’t have the reader looking at everyone else. Instead, he encourages every one of us to examine our own hearts to make sure that we’re in the Way. Moral equivocacy is rampant in the American church today – do we truly hate our sin or do we dismiss that which grieves the Holy Spirit?

Publisher Notes

“Truth Standing on its Head” (2009) is distributed by Nordskog Publishing Inc. This hard cover book retails for $18.95 and is 162 pages long. NPI is knew to the Christian publishing industry having distributed books only since November 2007. Nordskog previously published Powerboat magazine; the company sold the periodical in 2005.

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