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ISBN/ASIN : 1581347723
Manufacturer : Crossway Books|
Release data : 08 November, 2005
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Truth At Large
Truth is a very difficult axiom to pen. Although I emphatically agree that given today's tendency to reject biblical truth, we need to unwaveringly defend and 'apologia' our Christ-given calling. So many times in the bible GOSPEL truth overruled personal views of truth when being questioned by the Sanhedrin or Roman authorities. Even Stephen, when before the Sanhedrin, did not declare: 'Well, you see, last night an angel of the Lord appeared to me and told me not to be afraid and to inform you of the TRUTH. Ask Mary, she saw how pale I was and handed me some sugar water!' Neither did Peter and John who this actually happened to, as recorded in Acts 5. They only preached the content of the Gospel.
Justifying our positions is not what is done primarily and exclusively, for the content of the debate changes with each wayward generation. By all means continue to preach the Gospel TRUTH (as Peter and John were when re-arrested in the Colonnade the next morning), and compete with the LIE through this means of grace.
Whatever Happened to Truth is a compilation of four plenary addresses given at the 56th Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theology Society. Each essay approaches the issue of truth from a different vantage point. Andreas Kostenberger offers a biblical exposition of Pilate's question to Jesus, "What is truth?"; Albert Mohler provides a cultural commentary, warning evangelicals to avoid the postmodern mood and its effects; J. P. Moreland provides a philosophical defense of a modest foundationalism and a correspondence theory of truth; and Kevin Vanhoozer concludes with a hermeneutical-theological essay on truth. These four essays are framed by Kostenberger's clear and helpful introductory and concluding essays.
Overall, I found the book extremely satisfying, bringing together as it does four distinguished and staunch defenders of conservative evangelicalism. Kostenberger's essay "What is Truth? Pilate's Question in Its Johannine and Larger Biblical Context" is a scholarly and thoughtful exegesis of Jesus and Pilate's exchange, though his excessive footnotes were a distraction. J. P. Moreland's essay "Truth, Contemporary Philosophy, and the Postmodern Turn" is thoughtful and clear as usual, though there's certainly nothing new here. The essays by both Mohler and Vanhoozer, however, deserve further comment...
Taking a stand for truth
These are not good days for truth. Truth has taken a hammering for several centuries now, and the attacks seem to intensify with each passing age. Modernism of course offered a reductionistic view of truth, arguing that only the empirically verifiable could pass the truth test.
And postmodernism has come along, declaring that there is no such thing as truth. All of which sits nicely with a largely hedonistic and relativistic West, in which individuals are quite happy to justify their selfishness by a shrug of the shoulders and the reply, "Whatever".
In such a poisoned environment, this volume offers a much-needed antidote. Truth exists. Truth matters. And truth must be affirmed. Thus assert the authors found in this helpful volume
This book actually comprises four separate essays, not necessarily of equal value or uniform consistency, but all of worth in the current debate.
The opening essay by Kostenberger focuses on truth as found in John's gospel, especially in relation to the appearance of Jesus before Pilate. As Kostenberger has recently written a helpful commentary on John (in the Baker series, 2004), this is the most biblical-based of the essays, and reads much like an excursion from his commentary.
The second essay, by R. Albert Mohler, is an overview of the cultural trends that have arisen out the modern and postmodern assaults on the biblical view of truth. After providing a readable, non-technical survey of the last several centuries, Mohler reminds us that a recovery of the biblical doctrine of revelation is needed to restore truth to its proper place.
Philosopher and apologist J.P. Moreland examines the philosophical assault on truth, especially the attack on the correspondence theory of truth. He critiques the confusions of postmodernism, and offers helpful distinctions and conceptual clarity in our understanding of truth. He demonstrates how a modest version of foundationalism is still defensible and worth promoting.
Finally Kevin Vanhoozer offers what may be the most important and detailed discussion of this book. He explores the related concerns of doctrine, hermeneutics, truth and understanding. He offers nuanced discussions on how we should understand concepts such as inerrancy, the role and meaning of propositional truth, and the phenomenon of Scripture. Those familiar with his earlier works, especially Is There a Meaning in the Text (1998), First Theology (2002), and The Drama of Doctrine (2005) will finds similar themes here, and will enjoy the complexity and sensitivity of his argumentation.
Being a collection of diverse essays, which tend to go off in different trajectories, this volume can appear to be slightly disjointed. But the four authors all share common concern over the war on truth, and the need for biblical Christians to once again stand up for truth when it is no longer popular to do so, even within sections of the church. As such, this is a valuable set of articles that deserve a wide reading.