Re: [asa] RE: (fall-away) TE and apologetics

From: Jim Armstrong <>
Date: Wed Sep 23 2009 - 00:02:20 EDT

Christine -
The problem is that what is truth for one may be taken as a godless
heresy to another - e.g., evolution. So absolute Truth is more than a
bit elusive, which you actually [perhaps unwittingly] captured in your
condition, " the best of our ability". Therein lies the problem. We
must virtually always understand that there will be great variation in
the product of " the best of our ability." So we should not get too
hung up on the pejorative use of "relativism". While we may think we
hold the truth, others will predictably take issue with us, and
SOMEBODY's got to be wrong!

In fact, we need to get used to the fact that ALL bodies of human
interpretation, such as those that define "denomination", are all
error-ridden to some degree, even ... [gasp] ... our own! So while
toleration may seem to be a pretext for this apparently undesirable
thing called relativism, I submit that we absolutely must become humble
enough to recognize that there is a very real probability that some
portions of our own understandings are in error, that we may learn from
the perspectives and practices of other persuasions, and that we are
essentially charged to honor the quest for relationship with divinity
underway in that other, less informed person. I would distill this to
say that humility and reality demand a certain relativism.

It seems to me that there are "truths" that are very widely accepted
within the Christian community, but not really tested with steely-eyed
resolve. For instance [and this is by no means a new thought!], consider
these familiar expressions of truth: "God is a God of love. Indeed, God
IS love."

Given that starting point, have you ever found a really satisfying
reconciliation between those statements and the genocides performed or
ordered by the Old Testament God, or a truly satisfying answer to the
disarmingly simple old nagging question, "But what about the African
natives that never had a chance to accept Jesus?"

To be sure, there are ways to respond to this seeming paradox. There are
even ways that do not hand-wavingly appeal to "mystery" or "sovereignty"
of God. But in my experience, the the former to not satisfy, and the
latter do not come without giving up something broadly taught in
mainstream Christianity.

Or so it seemeth to me, at this brief parenthesis in my pilgrimage.

JimA [Friend of ASA]

Christine Smith wrote:

> Jim writes:
> "My guess is that God has no denominational affiliations, and wonders even why we create them and defend them so passionately when we understand so little."
> CHRISTINE: True, I don't think God has a "denominational affiliation" per se, but I do think He cares an awful lot about Truth, and that we follow Truth to the best of our understanding. That is the purpose of revelation - to help us understand truth better. Toleration should never be a pretext for relativism.
[major snip]

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Received on Wed Sep 23 00:03:11 2009

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