A New Old Friend

I’ve spent the last few days reading a book from some in the Emergent Church conversation. I’ll identify and comment on this book over the next few weeks, but I did want to record a strong negative impression I have on my first skim of the book. I am becoming convinced that, no matter how strongly they say otherwise, many who identify themselves with emergent deny that propositional truth can be expressed and communicated with words.

Of course, they are using words and sentences to explain their views while they are saying words and sentences don't work. This makes their assertions questionable upfront. But the implications of this line of thinking are massive.

The gospel is by definition good news. If it’s good news, then it is news. News is made up of facts. Facts are propositions, where we link nouns and verbs with objects to convey information about reality. I hope we are not working ourselves into a mental condition such that we are becoming so mentally allergic to propositional truth that we are becoming immune to the gospel itself. Let's be reminded of the gospel.

1Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. - 1 Corinthians 15:1-7 (ESV)

And what is this word?

3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more
than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. - 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 (ESV)
The Greek word translated “word” in verse two is λόγος [logos /log·os/]. It means, as well as an engineering graduate can determine: “1b what someone has said. 1b1 a word ... 1b6 what is declared, a thought, declaration, aphorism, a weighty saying, a dictum, a maxim.” (Strong, J. (1996). The exhaustive concordance of the Bible (electronic ed.) (G3056). Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship.)

1 Corinthians 15 has long been one of my favorite texts because it notes Christ’s appearance to many different witnesses who were alive at the time of Paul’s writing. It is now one of my favorite texts because it calls us to believe the facts (revealed, propositional truth) of the gospel. This truth is expressed in words. My prayer for us today is that we “hold fast to the word.”

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