Knowing the Truth -- By: L. Russ Bush III

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 11:2 (Spring 1994)
Article: Knowing the Truth
Author: L. Russ Bush III

Knowing the Truth

L. Russ Bush III

Professor of Philosophy of Religion
Vice President for Academic Affairs/Dean of the Faculty
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, NC 27587

[Faculty lecture presented January 25, 1994]

In 1978, apparently at the suggestion of Dr. James Blackmore, a faculty lecture series was begun at Southeastern. I am the thirty-third elected professor to have been invited to participate in this lecture series. It is a great honor to join that company of scholars.

My presentation is a brief summary of some ideas about missiology, exegesis, and philosophical theology as I have formulated them in the winter of 1994. I must date this lecture, for in it I take positions that I would not have taken even one year ago.

My faith is fixed upon Christ Jesus, and that faith is not subject to change for it is a gift of God’s irrevocable grace. But my understanding, my verbal expression, and my mental organization is not fixed. I am constantly flooded with new insights and new ideas. I hope that my ideas will not be as transient as Heraclitean flux, but I do not yet claim to have resolved the Platonic forms.

The title of the lecture is “Knowing the Truth.” I have developed this presentation in three parts. The first part is entitled:

Who Needs to Know?

World population (1994) now stands at 5.4 billion and growing. There are more lost people in the world today than there were people in the world in Jesus’ day. What happened to the Great Commission? Perhaps we should have suspected that the twenty-ninth chapter of Acts would find more of the world to be like the Athens of Acts 17 than like the Jerusalem of the second chapter.

Countries generally located between the North latitudes of 10° and 40° (Northern Africa, the Near East, and across to Asia) are today called “World A” by missiologists. These countries contain over two hundred megapeoples’ groups, but they are the least evangelized people in the world. As far as we know, these people have never heard the name of Jesus from a Christian witness. We rejoice that in mid-1993 the United Bible Societies published a portion of Scripture in the two-thousandth language of the global community, but we must take pause

to learn that there are 6,528 languages in the world. Of these 4,528 languages without even a portion of the Scripture, 336 are nearly extinct, some 266 are bilingual groups, and there are other categories, but at the end of the analysis we still find 925 languages with a definite need for Scripture tra...

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