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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Taking a stand for truth, April 21, 2006
This review is from: Whatever Happened to Truth? (Paperback)
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.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 17, 2007 4:47:57 AM PST
I find your position to be a bit limp wristed and simply misinformed. There is no significant "attack" on truth, as you suggest. Rather, there are thinkers applying the force of their philosophical powers to question a major philosophical issue that so-called scholars like J.P. Moreland grossly oversimplify. There is real debate on these issues, not a calculated plot to destroy truth, the foundations of Christianity, and all of western culture.

Please understand the nature of the debate before you surrender to the hysteria that Moreland creates in his essay of this volume. For example, you say that "postmodernism has come along, declaring that there is no such thing as truth." This is folly for two reasons: First, there is no such thing as one, uniform postmodern philosophy. It doesn't exist. It is a fallacy that conservatives create so that they can have something to fight against (without actually having to do much research and thinking). Second, please cite one philosopher in the postmodern era (postmodern = time period, not a philosophy) that asserts that there is no such thing as truth. When you do this, then we can have a discussion based on fact and not hysteria.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 29, 2012 1:32:42 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 29, 2012 2:33:50 PM PST
J. Erdman, there is no need to take such an unkind and uncharitable posture toward a reviewer who is simply attempting to tell us what the book is about. "Limp wristed"? Really? And does J.P. Moreland become a "so-called scholar" just because you disagree with him? Have you ever read his magisterial work "Scaling the Secular City"? He may be wrong but that does not give you license to call his academic credentials into question.

I am intrigued by your comment that "there is no such thing as one, uniform postmodern philosophy." Does that mean that there are no positive affirmations that can be made about "postmodernism"? If not, does the word have any meaning? My understanding is that postmodernism denies truth in the sense of truth as correspondence to reality, that it denies the possibility of a metanarrative, and that it denies that texts have objective meaning.

Now, this is difficult stuff for a lot of us, and if we get it wrong, that doesn't necessarily mean that we are all "conservatives" who are just looking for something to fight against "without actually having to do much research and thinking". I'm sure those people exist, but there are many others who are truth-seekers, who spend long hours honestly wrestling with difficult issues for the purpose of honoring God not only with their hearts but also with their minds.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2012 9:21:12 AM PST
Well said Randy!
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