Is Truth Really Plural? Postmodernism in Full Flower – Albert Mohler (A Review of John R. Franke’s new book, Manifold Witness)
UPDATE (11/05/2009): [I do want to make clear that I have not read the book yet and so I am not authoritative as a source at all of anything that is contained within the book, nor would I presume to be anyway. My interest has definitely been peaked though and I will be reading it shortly. Looks like a great read and will give quite a bit of insight into this perspective I believe. I agree with and trust Mohler's analysis on a host of other things (including that of the emerging/emergent church, since I as well believe it to be a repeat of the same errors from 100 to 200 years ago) and I wholeheartedly agree with his contentions with the ideas presented in this book, since I agree with his analysis of postmodernism in this review and elsewhere.]
Once again, as the case has been time and again, I agree with many of the critiques and assessments of the emerging/emergent movement concerning where modern American, Western Christianity has fallen short. The Reformed faith shares many of the those same concerns. But, once again, as the case has been time and again, I disagree with the conclusions and solutions to those problems offered by emergents. Albert Mohler’s review of John R. Franke’s new book, Manifold Witness, captures those concerns quite eloquently.
Mohler agrees with Franke where there is agreement, but offers differing points of view on many of Franke’s key arguments asserted in his book. The theological arguments put forward by Franke are concisely and forcefully written, which presents an even greater challenge to those of us who hold to historic evangelicalism: more people will read this and be convinced of the “plurality of truth” assumed to be inherent within Christianty, which will open the floodgates for a dead, theological, postmodern liberalism to creep into more evangelical churches. (To be clear, theological liberalism is not equal to modern political liberalism, they are two separate categories.)
It is one thing when theologically illiterate pastors offer up their thoughts in the church’s discourse on these matters (thought certainly some have been quite influential despite that). Yet it is quite another when very learned, smart and knowledgeable theologians offer their ideas up. But it is an even greater challenge then especially when they do so in a way that lay people can understand. John R. Franke is exactly one of those people and Manifold Witness is precisely one of those works that offers such a challenge. Eventually those ideas trickle down from theologians to pastors and then to lay people. And it is for these reasons that Mohler confronts this head-on. It really does present a challenge to historic Protestant evangelicalism now and in the future.
Keep in mind, this is about debating ideas, not going after people, per se. I’m sure John Franke is a great guy. Arguments and words have consequences though. To sit idly by while ideas inherently hostile to Christianity slip in amongst us without a word of critique or disagreement is to (frankly, no pun intended) be unfaithful to Christ and His church and to go against conscience.
(It is sad I even have to say that. Maybe this has to do with the fact that most, having assumed and accepted postmodern views on tolerance, are now unable to distinguish between debating ideas (called public discourse) and attacking people? This was certainly the case with comments made on my reviews of The Shack. Good grief. It seems most believe these to be one in the same category and therefore we’re being “judgmental” in disagreeing with ideas argued so as to be accepted by the majority. For such people, this is true “for them, “at least in our postmodern context with an idea of tolerance that is really no tolerance at all, since the idea of tolerance assumes disagreement and a belief that others are entitled to disagree. But I digress.)
This is a great review of the book by Albert Mohler. Highly recommend it.