Jack Nicholson was probably right. Tom Cruise couldn’t handle the truth.

Can you? Can I? Can we?

Claims about truth get thrown around like scud missiles.

Some in the church lament the loss of the day when we believed there was absolute truth (or should I say “Absolute Truth”) and that we (the church) had it.

Some in the church are glad that imperialistic and xenophobic presumption to Truth have gone the way of the slide rule.

But what about truth?

Ryan Kiblinger lent me his copy of the book, Why we’re not emergent: by two guys who should be while we were at Annual Conference last week. I perused it and came across, among other things, their concern that “emergent” Christians deny “propositional truth.”

I don’t make such a denial; I am, however very concerned that most of the people who have argued in favor of “propositional truth” are, in the next breath, trying to tell me that the United States is the New Israel.

It isn’t.

Knowing that my brother Richard, who blogs at Bandits No More, is smart, better read, and much more articulate on such matters than I, I asked for his insight on the “truth” thing.

With his permission (suggesting I head it as “provisional thoughts on Propositional Truth,” I give you what he shared with me:

1. Some propositions are true.

2. “Is true,” is an evaluative phrase used with propositions.

3. There are non-propositional uses of “is true.” There are forms of truth that are not propositional.

4. There are things that are the way they are regardless of our desires or perceptions.

5. While we always experience and interpret what we run into in terms of our previous experience, we always – when we’re sane – are impacted and affected by that which we run into.

6. Some true propositions are important. Some are really unimportant.

7. Some true propositions deal with theology.

8. It is possible for a proposition about God and God-things to be true.

9. Propositions are not “out there” somewhere for us to find.

Propositions are linguistic constructions used as tools to interact with reality, usually with other people in mind.

10. Some true propositions are true timelessly. Some true propositions are only true at certain times.

11. No amount of true propositions will enable us to be sure about everything we could possibly want to be sure about.

Has this cleared up the debate/discussion on truth?

Good, I thought so.

4 thoughts on “Truth

  1. Imperialistic and xenophobic presumption?

    Is that something I can catch?

    If I catch it, is there a medication I can take?

    I get the imperialistic metaphor . . . not quite sure I get the “xenophobic” part.

    Funny thing though, the older I get, the less I care about “truth” as I do about being a more committed disciple of Christ.

    Action in life speaks louder than words.

    I appreciate you.

  2. Hmmm … perhaps I haven’t totally embraced postmodernism if I still believe in propositional truth. I thought postmodernism was about emphasis … emphasizing narrative truth, not eliminating everything but.

    I haven’t read the book you referred to either, but I also think it’s not fair to judge the emergent/emerging church according to what those outside the Body write/say. Foucault/Derrida etc. would say “there is no God’s-eye view” and I can only partially endorse that … I think there is a God’s eye view, sort of like the slogan, “Two things I know … There is a God and I’m not HIm.” So … I do endorse the idea of a God’s eye view, just that I don’t get to see the world that way.

    I’m interested to hear from you and Richard on a point that has been buzzing around in my head for a couple weeks. It stems from the juxtaposition of the idea of the “construction of meaning” and Dr. Spellman’s neo-orthodox take on revelation … I remember him saying that revelation is/was filtered by people … that revelation was not some kind of “tickertape” writing down of God’s words. However, working from the idea that we don’t get a “God’s eye view” of the world, isn’t that why we need/needed revelation? Because it’s unique … it’s an invasion of our world. With Jesus as the Ultimate Revelation … an invasion of the God’s-eye view, so to speak.

    So, do you think that the direction I’m going with this is consistent or at odds with the postmodernist/emergent church viewpoint?

  3. Proposition 1: God is Holy.
    Proposition 2: Man is sinful.
    Proposition 3: The wages of sin is death.
    Proposition 4: Jesus is the only begotten Son of God.
    Proposition 5: Jesus is raised from the dead.
    Proposition 6: Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

    Call on Jesus!

    In the love of Christ,

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