The Problem with Truth

Truth is a subject that has been tackled and debated for a long time, and in recent years Truth has become an important talking point in the Emergence of A new kind of Christianity. For the evangelical community, Truth is ultimately revealed through the Christian Scriptures in their original form. This belief is based on the theory of foundationalism and a certain theory of justification. Foundationalism based on reason promises that absolute, self-evident truths exist which transcend all situations and contexts - something that people wishing to revere the bible find easy to latch on to.

The problem with this philosophy of truth is that it is possible to twist foundational truths into un-truths depending on the context with which the truth is lived out. Here is a scenario to highlight this tension:

If I tell my brother that I love him, and back this statement up by showing him kindness, generosity and sacrifice, then I reinforce a way of truth that transcends the statement "I love you". However, if I tell my brother "I love you" and back up the statement by showing him contempt and selfishness, never helping him when he is in need, and always expecting him to serve me, then I back up the timeless truth of "I love you" with a fundamental lie - and I thus create a worse lie than the actions themselves, because the actions twist and mar the truth of Love.

Jesus highlights this in his parable about the son who says he will go into the field but then doesn't. The one who does the will of the Father is not the one who says all the right things, but the one who does what is right. According to God, what is right is caring for the poor, orphans and widows, and sharing out of our abundance with those who are in need. If we are not doing this in combination with the message of salvation through Christ, then we turn salvation into a contextual lie, despite it being propositionally and actually true.

So context is important to truth, but perhaps in ways we evangelicals aren't considering.

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