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Speaking Truth to Skepticism

April 16, 2019
First Step to Truth

Every once in a while I run into a person (such as student) who confidently and proudly offers the following philosophical aphorism: “Your truth is true for you, and my truth is true for me.”
My first reaction, when I hear this, is to ask myself whether any real communication is possible if this statement is, um, true.
I know that folks who are followers of Christ run into this sometimes, and feel frustrated … again, because it is a conversation-stopper.
Now, the standard Christian apologetics response might be to ask, “Is that statement just true for you, or are you insisting that it is also true for me?”
Or something along those lines.
But that’s an unfair response, or at least an unhelpful one. That’s because it’s likely that this person is so steeped in “postmodernism” (or late modernism, or post-postmodernism, or whatever label you like), that categories such as moral truth and metaphysical truth have no meaning. So, to hold up a mirror and show the incoherence and inherent falsehood of their claim will likely just confuse them.
No progress is being made.
So if we want to eventually have an opportunity to present the Gospel in a way that can actually make sense to that person, it helpful to at least try to understand the philosophical foundations (such as they are) on which they stand — even if they do not realize it. This requires, among other things, at least some working knowledge of the ideas generally clustered around the notion of postmodernism. It also requires attentiveness, empathy, and, frankly, love.
There are many ways to accomplish the first requirement, but one of the easiest and most accessible, in my opinion, would be to view the lectures presented at a 2007 Ligonier conference with the theme “Contending for the Truth.”
The topics at that conference included:

Tim Keller has also offered some thoughts and tools. Chapter 5 of his book, Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism, is particularly informative and helpful. I will have more to say about the content of that chapter in a future blog post.
Meanwhile, the question on the table is this: How do we better prepare ourselves in order to communicate the truth of the Gospel to those who resist the notion of truth itself?
Understanding the postmodernism is a first step.

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