Review of The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
MacArthur places a spotlight on Stan Grenz and John Franke’s book (Beyond Foundationalism: Shaping Theology in a Postmodern Context) as well as John Armstrong’s acceptance of the Grenz/Franke view (which irritates MacArthur because Armstrong had once been a strong ally of MacArthur, willing to write polemics in the fight for traditional Calvinist Theology). However, the spotlight only shines where MacArthur wants it to shine, in order to keep what these men believe in the shadows.
“Armstrong, Grenz, Franke, and the Emerging postmodernists have blurred the line between certainty and omniscience. They seem to presume that if we cannot know everything perfectly, we really cannot know anything with any degree of certainty…The fact that our knowledge grows fuller and deeper—and we all therefore change our minds about some things as we gain more and more light—doesn’t mean that everything we know is uncertain, outdated, or in need of an overhaul every few years.” (pp. 21-22)
MacArthur’s presumption is that the Emerging Church is filled with hard postmodernists.
But this is simply not true.
Most of us are either chastened foundationalists or soft postmodernists. We know that it is impossible to separate the "Subject" (the one seeking to "know") from the "Object" (that which we are seeking to "know"). Humans are limited and fallible, which affects everything in our epistemology. Everything we know, and everything that we can say about what we know, is to one degree or another limited and influenced by who we are, what we think, how we communicate, and what we want to be true. In other words, we agree with classic Christian theology that says that since we are fallen human beings, our minds’ ability to think correctly is deeply flawed. This is known as the noetic effect of sin. We are in need of God’s grace so we can “know God” in truth.
So, the question I raise is this: Why does MacArthur insist that the Emerging Church is full of hard postmodernists? Is it because if he builds a straw man out of the Emerging Church by labeling them hard postmodernists, he can easily burn them down?
He too easily dismisses these author's own insistence that Scripture is the normative authority for doctrine and practice. Why? I suspect that it is because it is easier to write a polemic against somebody if you paint them as terrible boogy-men than if you deal honestly with what they really say.
The Entire Series:
1: John MacArthur’s Post-Enlightenment Philosophical Understanding of “Truth”
2: Is Rob Bell a Godless Man, Condemned by God?
3: Is Postmodernism Primarily Concerned with Truth?
4: Straw Men – The Emerging Church is Filled with Hard Postmodernists
5: MacArthur Fits His Own Criteria for an Apostate
technorati: emerging church, postmodernity, postmodernism, theology