Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Manifold Witness 5

ManWit.jpgJohn Franke, in his new and exciting book Manifold Witness: The Plurality of Truth (Living Theology) addresses the topic of truth. 

No one speaks entirely for the emerging conversation, but many speak against the emerging conversation as if it can be narrowed to one point of view. This is why it is important for critics to read what John Franke says about truth, ultimate Truth:
“Simply for me… Truth … is a person, Jesus Christ” (43). Thus, “Knowing truth and participating in truth depend … on being properly related to this one person who is divine truth” (44). But, there’s more: Jesus is not alone the truth, he is the Truth in relation to the Father. And he is Truth in relation to the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit. Here John is working with John 14 and John 15. Truth, then, is bound up with and identical to the persons of the Trinity (45). God, for the Christian, is the Triune God.


But some, Franke observes, say the Trinity is not used as a term in the Bible, so Franke observes this in response: “theological teaching which the early Christians understood as defending the central faith convictions of the Bible and the church” (47). It was a “nonnegotiable of the gospel” (47).
Trinitarian thinking preserves the monotheism of the Old Testament and the unmistakable belief of the exalted status of Jesus Christ and the Spirit. The challenge of connecting these two beliefs — God’s oneness and the deity of Christ and the Spirit — led to the Trinity as the only way to make sense of the Christian God.
John tells a story of a conversation with students who knew one had to believe in the Trinity but could neither define it nor show its impact on daily living. John thinks Trinity matters deeply:
God is as God acts, and God’s acts are love. The eternal Trinitarian relationship is one of love. That inner love is a unity-in-plurality and a plurality-in-love. In this (perichoretic) relationship, we learn two things about God — who is Truth:
1. God is Social: three persons in one, one in three.
2. God is missional: the Father “sends” love to the Son and the Son “sends” love to the Spirit” and the Spirit “sends” and … each is missionally related to the other. As one Being, Three Persons. But there’s more: the missional God sends his love to the created world in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. God creates as an extension of love and he redeems in that same love.
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posted October 27, 2009 at 1:56 pm

The image was pointed out to me by my friend Nick. He said it reminded him of my final project for a photo class. It was one to tell Scripture with hands. There are pairs of images meant to convey different Biblical stories. I just found it to be super interesting.
Do you know where your image came from?

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posted October 27, 2009 at 2:51 pm

Truth, then, is bound up with and identical to the persons of the Trinity (45). God, for the Christian, is the Triune God… It was a “nonnegotiable of the gospel” (47)…John thinks Trinity matters deeply…”
But is this emphasized enough in many evangelical churches? Unfortunately, I am not sure it is.

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Dana Ames

posted October 27, 2009 at 6:35 pm

This is the section that resonates with me most out of all you have posted, Scot.
It’s no accident that the Trinity is evoked so often in EO liturgy and prayer. As my priest said to me months ago, our worship is about THIS God, THIS One- the One that is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

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Kevin Cassidy

posted October 27, 2009 at 6:56 pm

The passages you’ve quoted are interesting and contain power and truth. I do not see how they are themselves controversial, nor how they answer any of the critical concerns with the emergent conversation. These passages show where there is agreement, not discord.
Is there something from this basis that is extrapolated with which is disagreed?

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Michael W. Kruse

posted October 27, 2009 at 9:26 pm

Just got the book in the mail today. I’ve got nothing to add to this conversation but I’m looking forward to reading it.

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