Friday, September 12, 2008

"The Truth War"

I highly recommend almost every book I read. This book, however, does not fall into that category.

John MacArthur, in The Truth War, certainly has much good to say. As is typical with MacArthur, he doesn't pull any punches. MacArthur stresses the importance of biblical truth being objective as opposed to subjective. Biblical truth is determined by God, not by human feelings.

MacArthur rightly criticizes the postmodern view of truth, which suggests that truth is ultimately unknowable. Postmoderns, instead of seeking truth, stress a warped humility that suggests that truth is beyond us. What this leads to is relativism and subjectivism.

In talking about postmodernism's seeping into churches, MacArthur speaks out against the false teachings of Brian McLaren. McLaren has written several books from a theologically postmodern view. His most well-known work is entitled A Generous Orthodoxy. MacArthur correctly criticizes McLaren for his refusal to stand up for the truth of the core doctrines of the Christian faith.

MacArthur also describes emerging churches, which are generally churches that adhere to postmodern thought.

Most of what MacArthuer writes needs to be said. For that, I appreciate this book.

The problem with The Truth War is that it seems somewhat repetitive and redundant. I could have read the first two chapters and that would have been enough. The remainder of the book seems to rehash what has already been said, while adding a few more details.

If you have studied postmodernism before, then don't bother with this book. If you have not looked into the problems with postmodern thought, then I recommend that you check this book out of your local library and read the first two chapters. That will be enough.


Eric said...


I accidentally rejected your comment after I read it. Sorry about that. I would be interested in reading a good book on the emerging church.

As for McLaren, Although I have not read of his books all the way through, I have read enough to question whether or not he is even a Christian. I don't see how someone can doubt what he doubts and not do damage to the church.

Alan Knox said...


I would recommend that you begin with Scot McKnight's lecture "What is the Emerging Church?" The lecture was given in October 2006 at Westminster Theological Seminary. The link above is to a transcript.

Like I said, I do not agree with everything that McLaren says. However, he's asking some questions that Evangelicalism is ignoring - for the most part. Instead of addressing his questions and concerning, he is labelled a heretic or a postmodern and readily dismissed.

As McKnight explains, McLaren does not represent the "emerging church". In fact, he stands at one extreme of the "emerging church".

Specifically, McKnight begins by saying that we must let a "movement" define itself. Instead of listening to how the "emerging church" defines itself, many Evangelicals define the "emerging church" using terms that the "emerging churches" would not agree with. That is very unhelpful - a straw man fallacy. (By the way, MacArthur is not the only author to do this.)

I hope you find McKnight's speech informative.


Eric said...


I'm glad to hear you say that McLaren is on the extreme of the emerging church.

I agree with you about the danger of any straw man fallacy. How do those in the mainstream of the emerging church movement define themselves?

Alan Knox said...


First, read McKnight's lecture. Its 30 pages (double spaced), so it won't take long to read. Primarily, he's reacting against Carson's book about the "emerging church".

He gives this definition (taken from Gibb's and Bloger's book - which I also highly recommend for info about "emerging churches"):

"Emerging churches are communities that practice the way of Jesus
within postmodern cultures. This definition encompasses the nine practices.
Emerging churches (1) identify with the life of Jesus, (2) transform the
secular realm, and (3) live highly communal lives. Because of these three
activities, they (4) welcome the stranger, (5) serve with generosity, (6)
participate as producers, (7) create as created beings, (8) lead as a body,
and (9) take part in spiritual activities."


Eric said...


Thanks for the definition. I have to admit that I don't know what numbers 6 and 7 are referring to, but I'm still glad you gave me the definition.

Aussie John said...


I'm grateful for Alan's response to your article.

I haven't read a lot of emerging writers, but, during my lifetime there have been quite a few "emerging" (for the want of a better description)writers and speakers. I am personally aware of ones who are derogatorily labelled as emerging, who are devoted to the great doctrines of grace, but, as I do, question the ecclesiology of the reformers.

I hope you don't join with those who have labelled me 'apostate' and 'heretic' because of that.

I have learned, much to my shame, that we need to know much, much more about what someone believes, than we generally conclude from the relatively small amount of reading, or even listening from which we draw our conclusions.

By the way, just as an explanation, my questioning of the ecclesiology of the reformers came from my own study of the Scriptures, not from reading books,or listening to others.

I trust my words don't come across as condescending old timer who thinks he knows everything. I appreciate you too much to do that.

Eric said...


I always appreciate your comments. If I ever come to a point of ceasing to learn, that will indeed be a dangerous place to be.

It appears that the emerging church is composed of a wider variety of beliefs and practices than I realized. I will say, however, that McLaren concerns me because of his statements that call into doubt some of the core doctrines of Christianity. Just as an example, his writing suggests that there may be some merit in other religions. This I cannot agree with in any way. I'm glad that Alan said that McLaren is on the extreme of the movement.

Thanks again, Eric