Published on March 25, 2024 by Eugene Ho

10Publishing, 2023 | 160 pages

A Book Review from Books At a Glance 

by Seth E. Porch 


The author of Hebrews warns against the hardening effect deceitful sin has on the heart (Heb 3:13). Gripped by darkness, people reject the light, preferring to wallow in the little make-believe worlds they construct for themselves. And the prince of the power of the air, the deceitful, ancient serpent, seeks constantly to reinforce those lies. The great hope Christians have to offer the world is the good news of our Savior, the True Light who offers forgiveness, redemption, and hope. 

This is the simple and profound message which J. Mack Stiles, long-time pastor and missionary, offers in, The Truth About Lies: Why Jesus is More Relevant than You Think. Confronting the darkness of the world, Stiles wields the sword of the Spirit with pen and ink, calling unbelievers to forsake the palatable, poisonous lies which plague our minds and media. He aims “to persuade [readers] that Jesus is who he said he was and that he has enormous relevance for [each] life” (p. 1). 


Waking from Darkness

There are countless ways to present this good news. Stiles’ particular approach is a strategic counter-offensive against the relentless waves of lies that daily wash over the world. Walking through various episodes in Jesus’s life, Stiles names the lie, demonstrates why it is false, and with pastoral wisdom explains how Truth himself sets people free from that lie. As he points out, there is no other way. While apart from the gracious work of Christ people may be able to modify their behavior, they cannot escape deceit. We do not need to be convinced of the lies that pervade our thinking; they run so deep in us that we believe them to be self-evident truth (p. 3). 

We often imbibe the culture’s lies without noticing them. They come to us in many forms: movies, music, social media, corporate memos, judicial rulings, governing mandates, and commercials. Waking the dead from their deceit-laden dream world requires more than a gentle pat. With a disarming and winsome confidence, Stiles calls readers to repent, embrace true life in Christ, and walk in the light. 


Lies We Believe

While the forms of lies proliferate until their number is legion, their origins are more modest in number. Stiles tackles some of the more prevalent ones which stand in the way of belief and discourage the children of God. These include such lies as “I Don’t Matter to God” (ch. 1), “Being Good Is Good Enough” (ch. 2), “Jesus Is an Inspiration” (ch. 3), “I’ve Got to Look Out for Number One” (ch. 4), “I’ve Got My Truth, You’ve Got Yours” (ch. 5), “Death Is the End” (ch. 6), “Everyone Goes to Heaven” (ch. 7), and “I Can’t Change” (ch. 8). 

Of these lies, perhaps one of the most easily digestible is Lie #4 which tells us truth is malleable. As his starting point for tackling this lie, Stiles takes Jesus’s interaction with Pilate’s famous query, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). Drawing readers into the story, Stiles points out the simple fact that no one really follows the logic of this lie in every area of life. People tend to seek flexibility in truth when it most conveniences them. Pilate’s convenient ignoring of truth cost Jesus his and, as far as we know, cost Pilate his own soul. The truth does matter, Stiles claims, and “if you go against the grain [of the universe] like Pilate, you will get splinters” (p. 46). Truth, he explains, is not an object we manipulate but a person who confronts us. Pilate’s question began with the wrong interrogative: not what but who? By his confronting us, that Person seeks to open our eyes, release our bonds, and lead us forth in true life (p. 75).


Walking in Light

Stiles’ pastoral burden is that people would embrace the truth of Christ. This book is not designed as an academic exploration of the deceit that characterizes the present age but a straightforward call to repent and believe. With clarity and conviction, he briefly exposes falsehood, presents truth, and offers the hope of restored relationship with the living God. The book will be useful in a variety of contexts including (but not limited to) conversations with unbelievers, discipling young believers, providing conversation material with children, and presenting an opportunity for all believers to assess the messages they imbibe. 


Seth E. Porch
Minneapolis, MN

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10Publishing, 2023 | 160 pages

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