Today’s world is a place where ultimate truth is too often disparaged and minimalized. In fact, many skeptics belittle the idea that there is such a thing as exclusive truth, especially when it comes to religion. In Things That Cannot Be Shaken, Reformed thinkers K. Scott Oliphint and Rod Mays use the Bible as the central foundational source to show that there are certain things we can know for sure, including God’s blueprint for life.
Basing each chapter on stanzas from the 1779 John Newton hymn, “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken,” the authors begin their work by stressing the overall authority of the written Scripture. Utilizing a presuppositional apologetic viewpoint, they propose that the Bible—“not our senses and our mental faculties”—should be the ultimate authority or “we will be forever confused and confounded with the issues that press in on us every day” (p. 32).
Once the Scripture is accepted as the foundation, the believer must understand that fulfillment in life only comes through following God. Those desiring the things contrary to God end up resorting to sins such as using drugs, drinking to excess, and even cutting parts of one’s own body with razor blades. “We must worship something,” the authors write on page 54. “And if our misdiagnosis of our felt needs leads us to pursue something created rather than the Creator, then we will attach ourselves to that created thing religiously. We will, in fact, worship it.”
One of the more challenging chapters of the book was titled, “We are not alone.” The authors believe there are too many distractions in life, including “time-saving technology” that ends up eating up more time rather than conserving it. Even too many church activities can get in the way. “Could it be that the church is no less guilty than the culture in its attempts to entice us into the programming whirlwind?” they ask on page 96. The result of a hurried lifestyle? Missing the opportunity to properly sit at the feet of the Savior and meditate on God’s truth.
In Chapter 4, a Calvinistic view of salvation is stressed because the work of Christ “was planned and agreed upon before time began.” When the Holy Spirit comes into the lives of the sheep (John 10), a struggle for holiness ensues. Two words are used—mortification and vivification—to explain how Christians live their lives warring against sin while partaking in life with the Holy Spirit.
The final chapter compares this world to C. S. Lewis’s Narnia, a place where Lucy and her siblings were not destined to spend the rest of their lives. The authors write on page 151: “As we know Christ here, more and more, we are preparing ourselves to know him better there, where he will have a new name. There we will see him face to face, and his presence, now invisible to us, will be visible in all its glory.”
Praise God for those things of God that cannot be shaken!