A Note from Our Editor: “Truth As Correspondence” -- By: John Warwick Montgomery

Journal: Global Journal of Classical Theology
Volume: GJCT 15:2 (Sep 2018)
Article: A Note from Our Editor: “Truth As Correspondence”
Author: John Warwick Montgomery


A Note from Our Editor: “Truth As Correspondence”

John Warwick Montgomery

The lead article in this issue deals with a messy theological situation at, of all places, the Moody Bible Institute. I have been a fan of Moody (Church and Institute) ever since becoming a Christian as an undergraduate at Cornell University. Evangelist Dwight Moody was the Billy Graham of his time (or, rather, Billy Graham was the Dwight Moody of our time). I presented one of my “Defending the Biblical Gospel” seminars at Moody Church, and its just-retired, long-time senior pastor was Erwin Lutzer, my graduate student at the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and later recipient of an honorary doctorate at the Simon Greenleaf School of Law when I was its Dean. In short, theological trouble at Moody really disturbs me—and should be a deep concern to evangelicalism in general.

The issue is—ignoring the politics—whether to tolerate postmodern philosophies of truth that are uncomfortable with “truth as correspondence.” Why a discomfort by evangelicals drinking at the founts of postmodernism? Because if the truth of Scripture entails comparing biblical statements with the facts of the world, then any apparent discrepancies must be resolved or inerrancy goes down the drain. Substituting a non-correspondence view of truth, in postmodern fashion, eliminates the awkward business of factually defending what the Bible asserts and presumably (if one jettisons all common sense) allows a “true” Scripture to contain factual errors.

In Alice in Wonderland, Humpty Dumpty pontificates: “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” responds Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” Of course you can, but you will need to pay extra for doing so. And where truth is concerned, the additional payment to achieve effective communication and a satisfactory view of the world is far too excessive for theology—or society in general—to tolerate. Think of George Orwell’s kakotopian novel, 1984, where the totalitarian Party controls everything by making truth whatever the rulers wish to promote. Truth as correspondence is an underlying assumption of all attempts to understand the external world as it really is and what can be found in it.

Examples:

It is the case that an elephant is sleeping in the bedroom. False—why? We check, even under the bed and in the closets, and find no elephant.

It is the case that light has the properties of both wave and particle. True—why? Because solid physical experiments show this to be the nature of light.

The Genesis flood was an actual event. True, for Jesus, seen to be God incarnate by fulfilled pro...

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