Understanding the Times

A valuable resource that will greatly aid any layman hoping to understand the competing worldviews of our day.

The benefits of this book are many. First, it is comprehensive but not overwhelming. Covering Islam, 
Christianity, postmodernism, New Age, and Marxism, Noebel looks into ten different worldview categories 
for each of these six worldviews. The addition of Islam and Postmodernism in this version makes it leaps 
and bounds beyond the first edition. Furthermore, each chapter provides what you need to know in the very
words of the proponents of that worldview.

Many in the emergent church or "liberal" crowd will balk at the idea of "the" Christian worldview, but Noebel 
makes a good case from scripture in sticky areas like economics and sociology. He also refrains from 
bashing the other worldviews---he remains unemotional, although he admits from the start that he is hoping 
that the truth of the Christian worldview is illuminated throughout the book.

The section on postmodernism is particularly valuable. This is a difficult area of thinking to understand but 
one that is extremely pervasive and MUST be understood by Christians today. He explains at length how 
postmodernism has affected our legal system as well as social justice. He also covers "postmodern 
Christianity" as popularized by the emergent church (e.g., Brian McLaren).

My complaints? Noebel is an evidentialist, sadly. His section on Christian epistemology is abysmal. 
At one point he says that revelation is the foundation of our worldview, but then says that revelation is 
verified by science and archaeology! (p. 87) Well, which is it? Other strange statements include, "The basic 
tenets of Christian philosophy are rational because they are held by average rational men and women." (p. 88)
No, Christianity is rational because it was revealed to us by a rational God (John 17:17, 1 John 5:9). 
Consequently, Noebel's evidentialism plays out especially loud in the section on biology, which is nothing 
more than a teleological argument---a very overrated argument that's still managed to become a staple in 
the arsenal of many apologists.

The above paragraph sounds harsh. Realize, however, that one can still draw a tremendous amount from 
this resource while recognizing its shortcomings. Though Noebel's evidentialism seeps into the rest of the 
book, it still deserves 4 stars and a place on the shelf of any Christian who would like a concise, 
cut-to-the-chase guide on the worldviews of our age. Thank you, Dr. Noebel, for helping us "understand 
the times."