For Chuck Colson, Truth Was Truth

For Chuck Colson, Truth Was Truth April 23, 2012

Chuck Colson (1931-2012)

The recently deceased Chuck Colson was among the first heavyweight evangelicals to speak out against the emerging church movement, in this 2006 column in Christianity Today, “Emerging Confusion“:

For evangelicalism (let alone emerging churches) to buy into that would undermine the very foundation of our faith. Theologian Donald A. Carson puts his finger precisely on the epistemological problem: Of course, truth is relational, Carson writes. But before it can be relational, it has to be understood as objective. Truth is truth. It is, in short, ultimate reality. Fortunately, Jim came to see this.

The emerging church can offer a healthy corrective if it encourages us to more winsomely draw postmodern seekers to Christ wherever we find them—including coffee houses and pubs. And yes, worship styles need to be more inviting, and the strength of relationship and community experienced. But these must not deter us from making a solid apologetic defense of the knowability of truth.

Ah, yes, “truth is truth.” The world will miss that airtight logic.

I responded to Colson’s column at Out of Ur:

In his penultimate paragraph, Colson refers to D.A. Carson, fellow critic of Emergent, who argues that objective truth precedes relational truth. Colson then weighs in with this philosophical doozy: “Truth is truth.” (Why don’t you read that again.)

You see, by saying that “truth is truth,” Colson is essentially saying…well, nothing. That’s called a “self-referential argument,” or a “circular reference” and it’s non-sensical; it doesn’t say anything, and it doesn’t mean anything. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been speaking and heard similar statements. I’ll spend a couple hours doing my best to lay out a rather intricate understanding of truth and interpretation, only to be told by an audience member that some things are “really, really true,” “true with a capital ‘T'” or my personal favorite, “true truth.”

I never met Colson, and he never responded to my writings. But, I suppose I should thank him. Colson was for emergent what John Piper’s tweet was for Rob Bell’s book.

Also, this from Slacktivist.

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