Whatever Happened to Truth? Paperback – November 8, 2005
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"Here is an anomaly: Christians outside the West dying because they believe their faith is true and Christians inside the West doffing their hats to the idea and then looking the other way! This book explores what it should mean to say that Christians know the truth, doing so in ways that are searching, sure-footed, biblically convincing, and intellectually satisfying."
—David F. Wells, Distinguished Senior Research Professor, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
"Truly a treatise for our times! Not only do we learn where contemporary discourse is truthless, we are given tools to reclaim true understanding to redeem our minds and our age. In the end this book points to God's Word of truth, the Scriptures, and God's incarnate truth, his Son. Read, and be renewed in hope and wisdom for the holy and fruitful pursuit of truth to which all who know Christ are called."
—Robert W. Yarbrough, Professor of New Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary
"Four widely read evangelical scholars have crafted a superb exposé and antidote to the mind-set and cultural ills of postmodernism and those who accommodate it, while issuing a clarion call to remain vitally committed to the truth of God's revelation in Christ and the Bible. The original lectures, both stimulating and refreshing, were masterfully delivered to large audiences. Now, having them in hand allows even greater reflection and absorption of the truths they expound."
—James A. Borland, Professor of Biblical Studies & Theology, Liberty University, Secretary-Treasurer, Evangelical Theological Society
From the Back Cover
"Truly a treatise for our times! Not only do we learn where contemporary discourse is truthless, we are given tools to reclaim true understanding to redeem our minds and our age. In the end this book points to Gods Word of truth, the Scriptures, and Gods incarnate truth, his Son. Read, and be renewed in hope and wisdom for the holy and fruitful pursuit of truth to which all who know Christ are called." Robert W. Yarbrough, Associate Professor of New Testament, New Testament Department Chair, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
"Four widely read evangelical scholars have crafted a superb exposé and antidote to the mind-set and cultural ills of postmodernism and those who accommodate it, while issuing a clarion call to remain vitally committed to the truth of Gods revelation in Christ and the Bible. The original lectures, both stimulating and refreshing, were masterfully delivered to large audiences. Now, having them in hand allows even greater reflection and absorption of the truths they expound." James A. Borland, Professor of Biblical Studies & Theology, Liberty University, Secretary-Treasurer, Evangelical Theological Society
- Publisher : Crossway (November 8, 2005)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 173 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1581347723
- ISBN-13 : 978-1581347722
- Item Weight : 7.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.25 x 0.25 x 8.25 inches
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#1,851,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #3,914 in Christian Apologetics (Books)
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The four authors represented in this book, a book of essays, each take a look at the concept and importance of truth from a different angle. Each of these authors will, on their own, be recognized by anyone deeply involved in the modern theological world. Each of them has a unique contribution to make to the conversation, as well. As collections of essays go, this is perhaps one of the few in the species in which every essay is nearly as good as any of the others.
Köstenberger begins the book by examining the concept of truth in the Gospel of John. While we often recognize the many patterns John used in his description of the life of Christ -seven signs, seven I AMs, an arrangement around the various Feasts, and others--we don't often think through John's opening statement, which makes a claim of truth about Jesus of Nazareth, and consider how that truth claim works its way through the trial of Jesus. The Truth is crucified by a man who asks what the Truth is -an irony of grand proportions that has lessons for all of us.
Mohler is next in line, with a discussion of the truth in contemporary culture. This is a chapter that challenges assumptions and undermines many modern arguments from a strictly worldview perspective. The main line of thinking here is that if there is no truth, then there is no way to know that post-modern thought, itself, is true in any meaningful sense.
"The problem with the Enlightenment was the totalitarian imposition of the scientific model of rationality upon all truth, the claim that only scientific data can be objectively understood, objectively defined, and objectively defended. The loss in the wake of this modernist agenda was huge. It left Western culture with little more than a materialist worldview. However, in such a world of mere naturalistic materialism, what can truth possibly mean?" -Page 55
Moreland is next up with a discussion of truth in modern philosophy, primarily dealing with the correspondence theory of truth, and it's importance in the way we think. This is an important and interesting topic, explained in a way that even the average reader will "get it."
Finally, we have VanHooser, one of the great modern thinkers in the realm of hermeneutics. He lays out the connection between our concept of truth and our understanding -or lack of understanding--of God's Word.
"For example, does the author of Joshua 9:13 intend his statement about the sun standing still to contradict a heliocentric worldview? Was Melanchthon right to attack Copernicus for suggesting that it is the earth, not the sun, that moves? Everything hinges on the notion of "affirming" and "addressing." Joshua mentions the sun standing still; but is this what the narrative affirms? Is not Joshua rather affirming, in a manner that his readers could understand, that God supernaturally intervened on behalf of Israel? The point is that he is employing phenomenal language (e.g., everyday language about the everyday world) in order to communicate. To press Joshua 9 into the service of Ptolemaic science would be an odd use indeed of the passage. Why? Because the point of the passage lies elsewhere. To be precise, it is a theological and, yes, historical (but not astronomical) point." -Page 117
VanHooser does carry his thinking on these lines farther than most conservative scholars would, perhaps even draining the Scriptures of any scientifically verifiable information at all, but his essay is well worth reading and understanding.
Overall, this is a well written treatise on an important topic that impacts virtually every Christian in the world today. It's well worth reading.
Köstenberger begins the anthology with his essay "'What is Truth?' Pilate's Question in Its Johannine and Larger Biblical Context." He gives a defense of the historicity of the Johannine account, and then examines the role of the characters involved in the trial (the Jewish leaders, Pilate, and Jesus). While being a well-written and intriguing essay, it felt out of place. The study and conclusions reached have more to do with the historical issues related to John 18:38 than they do with `truth' as such.
The second essay, "What is Truth? Truth and Contemporary Culture," was written by Albert Mohler. Mohler suggests that postmodernism supplies six challenges for Christians. I found the most interesting to be `the dominion of therapy.' According to Mohler, "The critical epistemological questioned is shifted from `What is true?' to `What makes me feel good?'" (61) As usual, Mohler provides insightful points regarding culture and challenges Christians to stand firm in light of them.
J.P. Moreland contributes the third essay, "Truth, Contemporary Philosophy, and the Postmodern Turn." His paper caused the most reaction due to his claim that "postmodernism is an immoral and cowardly viewpoint." (76) After defending the correspondence view of truth, he maintains that postmodernism (especially in its Christian manifestations) is confused on at least five points, primarily epistemological. Though a bit sensational, Moreland does a superb job of showing where postmodernism has gone wrong in regards to truth.
The final essay is "Lost in Interpretation? Truth, Scripture, and Hermeneutics," authored by Kevin Vanhoozer. Vanhoozer makes many points, including: textual meaning cannot be reduced to propositions, inerrancy is not really a hermeneutic, and hermeneutics should be theodramatic. While he makes several good points, Vanhoozer's contribution is mostly a rambling mesh of independent points having no direct relation to one another. He covers so many different areas that each of the summaries of his essay at the beginning and back of the book are at least twice as long as the other summaries.
Each author offers a unique contribution to the question, Whatever Happened to Truth? While some are stronger than others, it is a valuable book in that it engages truth on several fronts from diverse perspectives.