Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

What is Truth?

Issue #3: What is Truth and how do we put it together?

Furthermore, DA Carson’s book fails to deal with what “truth” means. It regularly tells us that we can know truth, that we find it everywhere in the Bible, but he doesn’t really define it and expound it at length. I think we could benefit from that, and I think the Emergent movement would like to see what he means by Truth to see if they agree, if they don’t, and why and that sort of thing.

It seems to me that we are dealing with something that is rarely discussed but is everywhere present. Namely: DA Carson and classical systematic theologians see the Bible as Revelation; they see it as susceptible to propositional revelation (and they don’t necessarily thereby deny narrative truth); and they see the need to do everything we can to exegete Scripture in order to find the “underlying systemic truth” of the Bible.


Emergents, so far as I can tell, think that this underlying systemic truth is to be found in something other than a systematic theology. They see it in a fundamental relationship with God through Christ as revealed in history and the Scripture and therefore they would see the “unity” of the Scripture in this personal relationship. Call it a story or a narrative.

Comments read comments(4)
post a comment
Jeremy Pierce

posted April 20, 2005 at 5:52 am

Carson does emphasize biblical theology over systematic theology. He accepts the hermeneutical spiral, according to which we do our reading of the text, we form a biblical theology of the units of the text and put it together with other units of text, contributing to an overall biblical theology as we begin to ask systematic questions, which might then reinform our biblical theology of the smaller units. It doesn’t seem accurate to describe him in the same terms you might use to describe some of the classic systematic theologians who don’t use this spiral of each informing the other back and forth until you more closely approximate the truth. It seems to me that the classic foundationalist epistemology of starting from certain propositions and building up is pretty far from his methodology, and therefore he stands more as a happy medium between those who refuse to ask systematic questions and those who think that’s the fundamental methodology to the abandonment of biblical theology.

report abuse

Scot McKnight

posted April 20, 2005 at 6:03 am

Indeed, I do not mean to suggest that DA Carson is simply a systematic theologian; in the second comment I say he is “altogether biblical” and I mean that before anything else someone says about his method it has to begin with that. He is a biblical theologian. Having said that, and in that sense he is not simply a foundationalist and accepting that he uses the hermeneutical spiral and knowing that he does not begin the Creeds, the “context” DA Carson (and many of us Evangelicals) is a systematic world that thinks the Bible can be put together into a systematic theology.I’m not sure the Emergent movement thinks we can do that: this is why they are so attracted to NT Wright’s proposals about “story” and “narrative,” and that the way to put the Bible together is that way. The Unity of the Scripture, therefore, is not to be found in some extra-textual (however one gets there) systematic theology but in another way altogether — and here, brother, we are standing face to face with what it means to be Emergent.

report abuse


posted April 3, 2006 at 10:22 am

impleri » Archives » “Emergent” epistemology

[…] This may be one of the biggest parts in the emerging church movement. Scot deals with it in multiple posts, namely: truth and epistemology. To see where “Emergent” epistemology comes from, we must first go back to the primart start of the question.  That, for the most part, is Modernism through (German) Idealism.  Early modern philosophy (that is, Western philosophy since Descartes) has worked from the positions of foundationalism and correspondence.  Later modern philosophy (particularly that of Idealism, especially German) took an opposite stance of subjectivism and coherentism.  Postmodern philosophy has generally disregarded these two as being exclusive theories. […]

report abuse


posted July 15, 2006 at 9:52 am

Very gooood project.

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

More Blogs To Enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Jesus Creed. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Red Letters with Tom Davis Recent prayer post on Prayables Most Recent Inspiration blog ...

posted 11:15:58am Aug. 16, 2012 | read full post »

Our Common Prayerbook 30 - 3
Psalm 30 thanks God (vv. 1-3, 11-12) and exhorts others to thank God (vv. 4-5). Both emerge from the concrete reality of David's own experience. Here is what that experience looks like:Step one: David was set on high and was flourishing at the ...

posted 12:15:30pm Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Theology After Darwin 1 (RJS)
One of the more important and more difficult pieces of the puzzle as we feel our way forward at the interface of science and faith is the theological implications of discoveries in modern science. A comment on my post Evolution in the Key of D: ...

posted 6:01:52am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Almost Christian 4
Who does well when it comes to passing on the faith to the youth? Studies show two groups do really well: conservative Protestants and Mormons; two groups that don't do well are mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics. Kenda Dean's ...

posted 12:01:53am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Let's Get Neanderthal!
The Cave Man Diet, or Paleo Diet, is getting attention. (Nothing is said about Culver's at all.) The big omission, I have to admit, is that those folks were hunters -- using spears or smacking some rabbit upside the conk or grabbing a fish or ...

posted 2:05:48pm Aug. 30, 2010 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.