The truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth


Those of us involved with Emergent, have been regularly, and increasingly accused of 'playing fast and loose' with the truth, and the unsubstantiated spin is 'those emerging people don't believe in the truth any more'. Which is so untrue!

My common reply is that I/we still believe in the truth, in fact we take it more seriously than ever and have a higher view of it. The problem is that we have had too low a view of truth, not too high.

Many people still seem to think that unless you approach the issue of 'Truth' as an absolute, that you have to be a raving liberal, and relativist. And in doing so, I think many misunderstand the nature of truth. The fact that we have to put the word 'absolute' in front of the word truth, begins to shows us that we have different ways of approaching truth.

Here is an approach to truth that I have found helpful:

1. Absolute:There is absolute truth, and it is Jesus. He is the location of absolute truth. Some of the things I believe about him might be absolutes, but I do not possess, complete absolute truth about him, or I wouldn't need him. Then I have my theories about that truth, but they are theories, subject to doubt, and question, and are not all absolute. Jesus is the way the truth and the life, and I confirm that absolutely! I don't follow Jesus because I posses the truth about him, I pursue Jesus because he is the truth, and the one who leads me into truth

2. Relative:Some truth is always relative. Some truth is subject time, place and context. This isn't contradictory at all to absolute truth. This also doesn't mean any truth is valid. There is another option to being a fundamentalist about absolute truth, or a relativist who sees all truth as relative. Len Sweet describes this as being a 'relative absolutist'. This means that absolute truth has to become incarnate in relative time. Absolute truth, has to be made relative to our context, and culture.

3. Relational:And what brings absolute and relative truth together, is relational truth. The idea of knowing truths about Jesus but not living in relationship with him, is nonsense. If Jesus is the absolute truth, and he incarnates the truth of who he is into my relative context, there is only one way that happens, relationally. I can only know about Jesus by knowing him, and by knowing others who know him, and others who knew him.

Brian McLaren in an open letter to Chuck Colson, make some great suggestion about we approach and handle truth.

So how do you see truth, what is helping you, what is troubling you? Does the suggestion above, help ore make things worse?