Perhaps the central issue for the emerging movement is the issue of truth, and at the core of the issue is what John Franke, in his new and exciting book Manifold Witness: The Plurality of Truth (Living Theology)
, calls “the sheer, existential reality of Christian plurality” (3).
Emerging folks are often asked “Do you believe in truth?” and John’s book addresses that question. Those who have criticized the emerging folks for their stance on truth are obligated to listen to John’s voice. He represents the best among the emerging voices.
Here’s one way that many of us believe has to be dealt with: Which truth? or Whose truth? The Reformed, the Lutheran, the Catholic, the Orthodox, the low-church evangelical?
More: “If the Bible is the Word of God … and if God gives liberally to those who ask, and if the Holy Spirit is at work guiding the church into all truth, how are we to account for and make sense of the plurality of the church?” (6). These differences are over important matters and they can’t be denied, and anyone who cares about truth must deal with plurality. John believes in the inspiration of Scripture, the generosity of God in providing wisdom and in the guidance of the Spirit and in the plurality of truth. How so?
“… the expression of biblical and orthodox Christian faith is inherently and irreducibly pluralistic” (7). That is, “diversity is part of the divine design” (7).
This does not open Pandora’s box of relativity; truth must be declared and defended. Some ideas are wrong; some are right. But still “Christian witness that is pleasing to the Lord” is a “manifold witness” (8). Thus, the “plurality of the Christian community constitutes a faithful witness to God’s intentions for the church” (8).
John gives a credible witness: “I believe that Jesus Christ is the revelation of God in the flesh and that, as such, he is the way, the truth, and the life” (9).