Tuesday, February 15, 2005

I don't feel good about this

I read some more of the Zondervan article. It doesn't look good.

Zondervan: Why the TNIV Bible is Important: "Part of the reason for this mass exodus is that today's generation thinks differently than previous generation. For example, they're more likely to relate to stories and personal experiences than to traditional expressions of propositional truth. For them, authentic religion is a much about HOW they live as WHAT they believe."

First of all, if postmodern existentialism is the cause of young people leaving the church, I fail to see how catering to it can be the solution. The Christian gospel is communicated in "traditional expressions of propositional truth". The gospel isn't merely "true for us" because we choose to believe it or because it "works" pragmatically (although if it is true, it should work). It is objectively true whether we believe it or not. It is existentialism, not historic Christianity, that needs to be rethought.

Also, the above quote proposes a false dilemma: On the one hand we have propositional truth and on the other hand we have "authentic religion" with integrity. This forgets the "traditional expression of propositional truth" taught in James 2: that the propositional truth must be lived out to be genuine.

We can't get the cart before the horse. Personal experience should agree with the propositional truth of the gospel, but truth is not determined by experience. I am sure that someone who doubts this would quickly resort to propositional truth if someone claimed, for instance, that their "experience with God" had led them to become a murderer or misogynist. And if ever an airline pilot taxiing to a takeoff decided to announce that he would rely on experience rather than navigational computers, I wonder how many people would choose to remain aboard. Existentialism is a cute parlor game played when the stakes are not perceived to be high.

Intentionally or not, Zondervan seems to be coming dangerously close to implying that "the faith once for all entrusted to the saints" (Jude 2) is epistemologically deficient and must embrace existentialism to remain relevant. I don't think I'll be buying a TNIV.