My Question to Tony Jones from his conversation on the Al Mohler show.

(To listen to the conversation, click here.)

Tony,

I’m sorry to comment on this post, but I didn’t see opportunity on the latest post. Please accept my apology. Thanks for your appearance on the Al Mohler show. I was really blessed by your humble and conversational demeanor.

I had two questions from the conversation that I wanted to ask you.

1) If Scripture transcends historical and scientific tests, can Scripture be inconsistent with history? I’m sorry if my question is too modernistic, but this is where my mind goes at this point.

2) Is saying truth is local another way of putting an adjective on the word truth, just like saying truth is universal or truth is absolute?

In Christ who is the truth,
PJ Tibayan

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About pjtibayan

I love Jesus Christ and live to share life and share Jesus together with First Southern Baptist Church of Bellflower primarily to Southeast Los Angeles County.
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5 Responses to My Question to Tony Jones from his conversation on the Al Mohler show.

  1. sokho says:

    I love your blog. its like a one stop for all my resources.

  2. Tyler says:

    I like it – if that hated qualifier ‘absolute’ is too modern, isn’t it also unnecessary to say that truth is local?

  3. ryan says:

    To question 1 – Yes scripture can be inconsistent with history and science…they do not necessarily speak on the same terms…and so I agree with Tony that scripture transcendences both (that science and history are but incomplete subsets of ‘truth’ within the greater reality that scripture creates/illuminates). For instance the point of scripture is not to tell us how old the earth is…instead it tells us the ‘who’ and the ‘why’ of our being (creation). Science on the other hand cannot see these things and therefore has no basis for positing moral and ethical ideas. History also needs to be explained further…in our time history is seen as a science, but it is simply our record of the past…men today can and do try to re-write history to their advantage and so ‘history’ may conflict with the story of bible…but once again scripture, in our view, must transcend (inform) history…
    To question 2 – I’m not sure what you are trying to say….but the idea of absolute truth is so over-done. The argument is futile. The relevant issue is that if we cannot know all that is ‘absolute truth’ then what are the consequences…I’m not saying that we cannot know sufficiently, I’m saying what are the consequences to not knowing fully. By Tony suggesting that truth is local he is implying, I believe, that there is something important about the proximity of truth. When Jesus says that he was the truth this is important – there is a personal, relational, communal aspect to truth…the idea of absolute truth carries with it such baggage of a platonic disembodied mental truth that is out there somewhere. God however is ‘knowable’ in more ways then just through the intellect…this is important.

  4. pjtibayan says:

    Ryan,

    In response to question 1, if science and history are incomplete subsets of truth, and if the greater reality is what the Scriptures illuminate, then though Scripture and science or history may not be speaking on the same plane or in the same terms, that DOES NOT MEAN THEY ARE INCONSISTENT. I would draw a distinction between not speaking on the same terms and saying they do not cohere or are not consistent. If Scripture transcends history, it also “informs” (like you said) and tests historical opinions.

    As for your response to questions 2, you didn’t answer the question. To say truth is local is to start defining or describing certain attributes of truth, like the fact that it is proximate. I think defining or describing truth as absolute or universal is important or not overdone. I think it may be over-done to you because you disagree with it. While I disagree that truth itself is only local, I don’t smash it by saying it is “over-done.” I’d prefer to straightforwardly say why I disagree with it. I agree that truth is culturally communicated locally, but the truth that is locally and culturally communicated can and does transcend the culture and location in which it is communicated. So I think Tony and you (Ryan) are right in saying that there is location and proximation wherein truth is communicated, but I disagree if you guys mean that not only the communication but the truth itself is located and not universal.

    In Christ,
    PJ

  5. ryan says:

    PJ,
    Thanks for the responses,

    When I hear the word ‘inconsistent’ I first ask ‘does something here contain incompatible elements?’, and in this case and in my mind science and history do appear very incompatible with one another and limited in scope, and so in my view scripture does transcend (supersede) them both. I’m not suggesting that scripture does not relate to them (as I said above), but simply that we must first determine how this relationship should exist before we argue about the implications. (or else we end up with muddled arguments – like with Kent Hovind absurd version of creationism)
    When you say that scripture ‘tests historical opinion’ I get a little nervous since it starts to sound like history is a science and that scripture is a means of investigation – a tool like a microscope. This could be correct in a sense, but I’d rather state that in a world of competing stories (histories) scripture provides us with a trustworthy tale worth believing in. With the notion that the only certainty in life is uncertainty, scripture does illuminate a way worth putting our hope in…

    To the second item, you are right; I did not answer the question. Perhaps I thought you were posing it merely as rhetorical, I’m not sure. But to say that truth is ‘local’ IS certainly another way of describing truth just as by using the adjectives ‘universal’ or ‘absolute’. So, yes – you are right. I am not going argue against the universality or absolute nature of truth, the danger though is that we objectify truth so that it no longer touches people and real situations – it is no longer ‘local’…we do this because we want security, certainty and order…but this world does not always offer us with these things. personally I am leery of claming Truth as a noun…instead truth is more of an adjective…it’s like arguing for the existence of ‘two’…there is no ‘two’ apart from something else – like in two apples…truth is a quality; statements and stories have elements that are either true or not…I think Tony’s use of the word ‘local’ is an attempt to sink the apparent Titanic nature of ‘truth’…if we can bring this word back down to a quality that is relational then we have something we can talk about…otherwise we end up arguing over pointless things for pointless reasons…

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