Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


Manifold Witness 6

posted by Scot McKnight

ManWit.jpgJohn Franke, in his new and exciting book Manifold Witness: The Plurality of Truth (Living Theology)  discusses a major Christian claim: God speaks (chp. 7) and Scripture is God’s Word (chp 8).

Thus, God is Truth and God communicates Truth to humans and God communicates Truth in order to draw humans into relationship with this God who is Truth.
Jesus is one person with two natures; the precise relationship is not spelled out at Chalcedon but they two are affirmed — in Jesus, then, there is unity in diversity. There is incarnation and transcendence. 
Scripture too: 

But Franke won’t give in here to the temptation to pretend Scripture does not partake of the created, finite condition. 
So, here’s his point: God chooses to break through to humans by entering into the human condition and accommodating God’s Truth to the human condition of finitude. He appeals here to Calvin who speaks of God “descending” to human levels in order to communicate. All revelation is therefore indirect (because humans can’t contain the absoluteness of direct communication). Yet, God is truly revealed. And grace is needed to comprehend the unveiling in a veiled manner.
Thus he affirms nonfoundationalism: apart from the grace of God, humans cannot know the Truth.
“Truth is identical with God, and revelation is the entrance of God into the created order” (71).
Scripture is bound up with the Word of God in Jesus Christ and the Spirit who witnesses to Jesus Christ through the Word of Scripture. Thus, Word and Spirit have always been entwined in Christian theology. Some are tempted to a Word without Spirit and others to Spirit without Word — but the best is to see the Spirit speaking in the Word. The Spirit’s speaking in and through the Word is normative.
Scripture therefore norms the Christian’s perception of the world. And the Spirit guides the Church to live that Word in our world. But the world that the Word creates is yet to come — it is eschatological. The Word creates a world today that may be called eschatological realism.


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Ted M. Gossard

posted October 29, 2009 at 5:55 am


Good thoughts. Not sure what is meant at the end. An eschatological realism evidently means something of God’s kingdom in Jesus breaking in and forth in a world in which the full realization won’t occur until Jesus returns and with that comes the fulfillment and completion of redemption and the new creation.



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RJS

posted October 29, 2009 at 8:02 am


No question – so I will bring up one that comes to mind.
Not knowing what “nonfoundationalism” is, I googled it (the solution my students also have to every question) – and found notes by LeRon Shults on foundationalism, nonfoundationalism, and post foundationalism. But I don’t see what nonfoundationalism has to do with the idea that apart from the grace of God, humans cannot know the Truth. Is the idea simply that truth comes through relationship with Father, Son, Spirit – so that the truth in the Word is revealed in a coherent fashion in the community and relationship?
The last comment on Word creating “a world today that may be called eschatological realism” is interesting in the light of some of Tuesday’s discussion of evangelicals and evolution. The purpose of the Word – as it seems to me – is to tell the story of God’s interaction with his people, and even more importantly to paint a vision of the ultimate purpose and goal – eschatology. The purpose of Word is to provide a functional, not a detailed description of origins.



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Scot McKnight

posted October 29, 2009 at 8:28 am


RJS, foundationalism is indubitable empirical truths on which, by reason, we construct truth. Nonfoundationalism doesn’t approach truth apart from faith seeking understanding, and that it is God’s grace that gives us a point of view that permits all things to be discerned. I hope this represents John accurately … more could be said.



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John Franke

posted October 29, 2009 at 9:19 am


For a more detailed, but still brief discussion of nonfoundationalism and my reason for holding it see: ?Nonfoundationalism, Truth, and the Knowledge of God,? Philosophia Christi 8/2 (2006): 295-303. A response from J.P. Moreland of Biola University follows my essay and should give folks a good sense of the issues involved.



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Jason Powell

posted October 29, 2009 at 10:16 am


John, or Scott….or whoever….
Could you please create a live link to the article John mentioned in #4? Thanks!



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Scot McKnight

posted October 29, 2009 at 10:31 am


Jason, I don’t think it is online, but here’s the link:
http://www.epsociety.org/store/backissues.asp?issue=16&mode=detail



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Craig V.

posted October 29, 2009 at 3:50 pm


I’m still a little concerned that ‘fallen’ has dropped out of what delimits our knowledge. Why do we need an eschatological Word if our condition is limited to being finite?



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RJS

posted October 29, 2009 at 4:03 pm


John,
Ah well – the library here has volumes 1-7…and then stopped. Just my luck.



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Travis Greene

posted October 29, 2009 at 4:28 pm


Craig V,
Are you saying that if the plurality of knowledge is an intrinsic fact of our limited creaturely existence and therefore will continue even after the full consummation of God’s kingdom, then the eschaton will have no real effect on our knowledge?
I think we can acknowledge sin as part of what limits our knowledge while believing that our inherent finitude is also part of what limits our knowledge. Because I think we can hold that “we will know fully, even as we are fully known” and yet still know in a pluralistic way. Our full knowledge will be because we are part of a perichoretic community telling each other their own vision of God (as the angels say “Holy, Holy, Holy” to each other in Isaiah 6).



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Craig V.

posted October 29, 2009 at 4:40 pm


Travis Greene,
I like your speculation of a perichoretic community. At the risk of over simplifying, I suppose I’m arguing that what keeps us from being that perichoretic community right now has at least as much (possibly more) to do with sin as it does with our being finite.



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Travis Greene

posted October 30, 2009 at 9:26 am


Craig,
I’d probably agree. Or maybe it’s more complicated than that; part of what sin does is twist our God-given diversity into division.



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