Books I've Worked On Recently – Part Three

John Franke

The last book to mention in this little series is Manifold Witness: The Plurality of Truth (Living Theology) by John Franke.  John has been a long-time friend, and a thought leader in the emergent/-ing/missional church movement.

John is the professor of missional theology at Biblical Seminary in Pennsylvania, and, it should be noted, an insanely committed Vikings fan.

His book is the latest in the “Living Theology” series that Abingdon Press publishes in partnership with Emergent Village, for which I have served as the general editor. (You can read the first chapter of the book here.)

What John’s book does, and does convincingly, is argue that Christian truth is, by its very nature, pluriform.  He goes to great lengths to show that the Bible is pluriform, the history of Christian theology is pluriform, and even the nature of the Godhead is pluriform.  Scot McKnight has written a six-part series on the book, which he reviews favorably.

It’s a book that, if the thinking behind much of the emergent/missional conversation is of interest to you, I highly recommend.

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  • Manifold Witness was a very good book. His argument was quite convincing, but he seems to place the boundaries of plurality at the borders of the church, and I don’t really see how you can keep from extending his argument to cover other religions and world-views. Could it be that even atheists have something to show us about God?

  • Tony,

    Thanks for providing the link to John Franke’s new book. However, the first chapter, dealing with the plurality found in the Christian world, failed to offer enough clarity regarding his position. He writes:

    “The diversity of the Christian faith is not…a problem that needs to be overcome. Instead, this diversity is part of the divine design…What I am suggesting is not that anything goes but rather that Christian witness that is pleasing to the Lord will be characterized by irreducible plurality (‘the plurality of truth’).”

    Here’s my problem: While Franke is clear that there are certain things that Emergent Village will not accept – racism, discrimination – there are other things about which we should be pluralistic – something that all churches would agree with (Romans 14:1-5 for example). However, he gave the reader no idea regarding what to be pluralistic about and what to not tolerate and why.