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The Advancement: Keeping Faith in an Evolutionary Age, by L. Russ Bush. Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 2003.
L. Russ Bush, The author of The Advancement: Keeping Faith in an Evolutionary Age, has been a notable author, apologist and a teacher, and has been working with students at the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. It was only recently that he decided that the world should have a printed version of the information expounding the superiority of the Christian worldview, when compared to the modern world views that dominate the world today. Bush mentions in the preface that that the Western world has adopted the “naturalistic philosophy in place of a theistic worldview” (ix). The world is in the era of Advancement, where “Traditions are set aside; cultural roots are forgotten” (5) and technology has progressed, however, the chaos resulting from challenging divine authority is evident. Times like these require Christians to be equipped in defending their faith, and this book provides the foundation that can help Christians maintain their ground in the era of intellectual compromise. The purpose of this paper is to examine the main ideas and themes of this book and establish whether The Advancement serves its intended purpose.
Summary of the Book
The book starts With Bush coining the term advancement For the current era as an alternative to modernism and postmodernism as he states that ” modern seems strangely old-fashioned, and postmodern is surely a temporary name” (4). He contrasts the current world view with older Christian worldview, and describes the features of the new world view inclining towards Naturalistic philosophy and Inevitable progress. This worldview emphasizes that because with the advancement of technology, the world is Progressing, the current understanding of the world is superior then the old traditional Christian worldview. However, Bush explains that as a result of this thinking the world is moving more towards chaos. He starts to examine the world views throughout human history in order to understand the current thought process. He examines the philosophical works of Plato, Aristotle, Galileo and continuing till the Enlightenment thinkers Of 19th century. He also compares the differences between the current worldview and Christianity. Bush explains as the society is upgrading towards better technology and there is a rise in uniformitarian and evolutionary worldview, as a result, more people are moving towards scientific mindset. Christians are no longer a majority in the modern society, and the modern thought process has denied the existence of God. As there is no God, therefore there is no sin. There is no meaning of objectivity because mere human existence is the result of random evolutionary process. In such a society, the truth becomes relative and lines of moral standards become blurry. Bush also Points out that the victory of evolutionary thought has given way to the disappearance of humanness.
Bush then examines Process Theology and Open Theism as alternative methods for modern theists. They seem to answer the questions posed by modernism. For example, Open theism answer the dilemma of sin but proposes a God who is not sure of the future. He warns against the consequences of blending these world views with the Christian faith. Bush then presents the Ten Axioms of Modern Scientific Thought to help the reader understand modern Naturalistic worldview and how other world views build on it. These axioms include physics and philosophy and prove in detail that evolution is false. He states, “proving naturalism false is not enough by itself to prove theism is true, but the evidence against naturalism is at least partially the evidence that points to theism” (83). He further explained that advancement philosophy is not only an intellectual failure but is an illusion. In the end, he declares the Authority of the Lord, And states that no freedom comes from naturalism but only from God.
Bush’s purpose of writing this book to help the reader to compare and contrast the current worldview against the Christian worldview and come to the conclusion that Christianity is superior and the only truth. The book covers a lot of topics in 142 pages. He explains that the naturalistic view changes over time and creates instability and chaos. Bush’s comment on The rise of Nazi movement in Germany as the result of belief in evolutionary ethic, helps the reader understand the destructive nature of this idea. The reader is able to then understand that racism was justified because of naturalistic evolution, as humanity loses its humanness and is no longer the intelligently created being after God’s image. Even with all the advancement in technology, science and medicine, Bush points out that humanity is still afflicted with disease and the existence of a utopian society is an illusion.
By using scientific process, Bush attempts to analyze Evolution. The use of 10 axioms of modern scientific thought helps the reader to understand the naturalistic thinking process and how evolutionary theory is built. He builds the case for theism Using the same axioms and states that, “the universe, and in particular life itself, is uniquely and efficiently understood better by the theistic form of intelligent design theory” (83). In the end, Bush states that Jesus Christ is the source of all truth regarding God and the world.
While there are many strengths and the book helps the reader to grasp the basis of Current mindset, Bush fails to fully equip the reader for efficient apologetics. Firstly, Bush creates the term Advancement, which is a conglomerate different world views. Even though, he tries to simplify and break down different world views, his generalized approach in tackling this thought process fails to prepare the reader to answer individualized concerns. For example, postmodernism is adaptable and the ideas vary from person to person. Therefore, reader has to be careful in using Bush’s collective defense to justify his position.
The Advancement is worthy resource to help its reader understand the philosophy and science behind the prevalent worldview, and establishes a sound case for the defense of Christianity. Bush uses Christian worldview in exposing various fallacies that comprises the Advancement worldview. While it gives the Christian reader some insight into the defective thought process and prepares him to defend his belief system, because this is a general rebuttal it fails to train them in the face of its ever changing and unstable nature. Nevertheless, this book creates the groundwork for a an apologetics student to develop an understanding of the deception of the modern worldview.