Right from Wrong book cover.

Right from Wrong,

What you need to know to help youth make right choices

By Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler

The authors, Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler, ask in Right from Wrong, “What is causing mere children to be so coarse, so brutal? What has happened to our society that teenagers can be so violent, so callous, so unmindful of right and wrong?”

Can’t we ask the same question of adults in today’s society as well? Coarse, brutal, violent, callous and amoral behavior is a current that has always run through our world. Sometimes, though, it does seem that the current of evil has broadened and deepened like swollen flood waters. The most distressing reality is how pervasive the ignorance of God’s standard of right and wrong is among church going people, especially young people who have absorbed a philosophy that is in opposition to God’s standard.

Right from Wrong is divided into four parts.
1. The Crisis of Truth
2. The Defense of Truth
3. The Application of Truth
4. The Research Analysis.

The authors use fictional characters and realistic situations to illustrate the problems, the causes, and the solutions. After each vignette, the authors give explanations and statistics.

In one situation, church-going parents find a boy in their teenage daughter’s bed. Her reasoning: “I love Matt, and you can’t tell me that’s wrong.” The authors wrote, “…kids from Christian homes and good churches--are also crumbling under the constant pressures of a sex-crazed society.” They go on to say: “…the most important thing we can do for our children…is to find a way to equip them with a bedrock of biblical values, to establish in them a conviction regarding objective standards of truth and morality.”

In Part 2, The Defense of Truth, the authors provide a chart that shows the progress from “precept” (God’s law) to “principle” (the why) to the Person (God.) They state, “To know what we believe about God’s precepts (and even the principles of truth that lie behind those precepts), and not know the Person from whom they derive, is worthless. Too many times we focus on God’s law, and never see its extensions--what it teaches us about the character of God.” They quoted Exodus 33:11-12 where Moses prayed, “…teach me your ways so I may know you….”

Another useful chart they provide in Part 3 is The Evidence of Truth in which the rewards of obedience to God’s precepts are described as “Protects From” and “Provides For.” For example, when we obey God’s command to “Flee sexual immorality” (I Corinthians 6:18), we are protected from “guilt, sexual insecurity, and emotional distress.” God provides “spiritual rewards, optimum atmosphere for child rearing, peace of mind, trust, and true intimacy.”

They also give suggestions for how to teach truth in various situations in everyday life. Sexual right and wrong is only one of the precepts that are covered in Right from Wrong. The authors also deal with the issues of tolerance, personal rights, and opposition to absolute truth.

In Part 4, the authors ask, “What Difference Does Truth Make?” Our young people’s acceptance or rejection of absolute truth greatly affects how they view life and decisions--a more distinctive effect, in fact, than whether they testified to a personal commitment to Christ.” And they go on to say, “Our study reveals that youth who lack strong convictions of biblical truth are three times more likely to say that ‘the only intelligent way to live is to make the best choice you can in every situation, based on your feelings at the moment,’ and six times more likely to believe that the best philosophy for life is to ‘do whatever feels or seems right, as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else.’”

Right from Wrong is a strong exhortation to find out what our children know and believe and to begin to actively teach God’s standard of right conduct. The book also gives good suggestions about how to accomplish this duty.


Book Review
By Scarlett Stough
Title: Right from Wrong, What you need to know to help youth make right choices
Author: Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler
Publisher: W Publishing Group, A Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc.
ISBN: 0-8499-1079-X (hardcover)
ISBN-10: 10: 0-8499-3604-7 (trade paper)
ISBN-13: 978-0-8499-3604-3 (trade paper)