John Franke, in his new and exciting book Manifold Witness: The Plurality of Truth (Living Theology)
takes on the central issue of our age: the plurality of truth.
It doesn’t take long in this world to realize that most people in this world don’t believe what “I”/”We” believe.
Some, of course, opt for cultural relativism, that “you have your truth and I have mine.” Truth is, in other words, purely local, and irreconciliable, and pluralistic and this is the postmodern condition. Furthermore, many would say all truth claims are interpretation — and we can’t penetrate behind the veil of interpretation. That is, the truth is that there is no Truth.
Franke, though, argues with many that cultural relativism is not the result of the interpretive nature of knowledge but from the assumption that there is no comprehensive knower whose knowledge is the truth. In fact,
“From the perspective of the Christian faith, with its conviction that God has been revealed in the person of Jesus Christ, we can affirm the reality of ultimate or transcendent truth even as we acknowledge the interpretive character of human knowledge” (15). Because of God’s grace, we can know things truly even though not exhaustively. Only God can do that. Christians cannot fall prey to cultural relativism.
Others, though, don’t recognize any interpretation or any context. My way or the highway is the approach. God must accommodate to speak to us because God is that transcendent. God’s means of revelation “bear inherent limitations in spite of the use God makes of them in revelation” (17). This leads to Christian plurality — it reminds of us our limitation.
Plurality arises out of God. God is triune. That is, the Truth is characterized by plurality.
“Truth is a reality to which we must continually aspire through the commitment of our entire being to the love of the triune God revealed in Jesus Christ through the power of the Spirit” (18). This leads to a bold humility or what Newbigin called a proper confidence.