Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


What is Truth?

posted by xscot mcknight

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.



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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.



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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.



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Anonymous

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. [...]



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anthonye

posted July 15, 2006 at 9:52 am


Very gooood project.



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