Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
TRINJ 28:1 (Spring 2007) p. 141
Andreas Köstenberger. Whatever Happened to Truth? Wheaton: Crossway, 2005. 173 pp. $15.99.
In the tradition of classic evangelical treatises like Francis Schaeffer’s Escape From Reason and Carl F. H. Henry’s Twilight of Great Civilization, the essays collected in Whatever Happened to Truth? seek to catalog and expose the cultural, ethical, and spiritual vagaries of an age under the spell of alternatives to Truth. Looking in turn at matters concerning truth and knowledge in biblical theology, society, epistemology, and hermeneutics, the book covers a lot of territory in a relatively short amount of time. First presented as four plenary addresses at the Fifty-Sixth Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in 2004, it places an informed finger on the pulse of the life of contemporary evangelicalism and the ominous world at its doorstep.
In the first essay, “What is Truth? Pilate’s Question in Its Johannine and Larger Biblical Context,” Andreas Köstenberger reflects on the significance of Pilate in the Gospel of John. Far from playing a minor role in the gospel, Pilate’s questioning attempt to evade the truth of Jesus parallels the Jewish rejection of Jesus that occupies the breadth of John’s narrative. Truth is not an abstraction in John but a christological concept linked to Jesus’ presence in the world. Köstenberger exposes this exchange between Jesus and Pilate, a brief conflict between truth and power, as paradigmatic for our present times. Albert Mohler’s essay, “What Is Truth? Truth and Contemporary Culture,” is a pastoral look at the pressing practical issues of our day such as stem-cell research, cloning, and same-sex marriage. He looks at these hot-button issues for what they actually are, questions about the nature of truth, and establishes six points that characterize our age, including the deconstruction of truth, the dominion of therapy, and the displacement of morality. Next, in “Truth, Contemporary Philosophy, and the Postmodern Turn,” J. P. Moreland conducts a full-scale analytical assault on the epistemology inherent to postmodern thought. With characteristic rigor, Moreland leads the reader through five confusions that plague postmodernism. These confusions involve misunderstandings of the origins of rationality, the nature of rational objectivity, the hasty abandonment of even a modest foundationalism, the relationship of language to truth, and a rejection of critical realism. Moreland concludes this survey by depicting postmodernism as an “intellectual pacifism,” and even an immoral, unethical alternative to the pursuit of truth.
Vanhoozer’s essay, “Lost in Interpretation: Truth, Scripture, and Hermeneutics,” finishes the volume with his characteristic theoret...
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