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December 21, 2004

Comments

timsamoff

Good letter. Let's see if he listens. :)

will

I am very interested to see where this goes...

dave paisley

Wow, they were two long replies at each other. Interesting how they kind of talk 90 degrees to each other. I'm impressed that Colson took that much time to respond, and somewhat thoughtfully, too, although it seems his thinking is too closely a knee-jerk reaction to secular postmodern philosophers.

Also interesting that he acknowledges that modernity is dead (or at least on life support) but has no alternative to offer other than even more propositional modernist thinking.

I'll be watching this with bated breath, too :)

Patrick

Yes, right on, Bill! I definitly think a response from Brian is in order... just to echo what has already been said, Colson did make an attempt, and took time, to respond.... out of kindness and respect (which McLaren talks alot about!) there should be a response! Let's pray it happens!

millinerd

Thanks for the link, I had thought Colson surrendered by forfeit.... guess not.

Goyo

Thanks for this Bill...you're really moving this thing forward. Behold the power of the blog!

My 2 centavos here is that BOTH McLaren's and Colson's views are crucial to the evangelical church right now. Both have men have their respective "constituencies" and realms of influence. My hope here is that a synthesis will emerge from a continued dialoguing between these two men I deeply respect. In any case, I have an intuition that once the crap hits the fan in the conservative evangelical churches against the emergent thing (which, as I've said, has already started) Colson will be a voice of calm and restraint from that wing.

Bill

One of Colson's responses, whether warranted or not, was:

"I must say at the outset that the four points you stated in your opening paragraph as to why you normally wouldn’t try to respond to a piece like mine smack of postmodern despair. We should not say it’s “fruitless to even try to dialogue” or that people can’t understand things and it doesn’t make any difference. In my view misunderstandings matter greatly because there are consequences to ideas. As has been true from the time of the Greeks till today, vigorous healthy debate is vital as all of us search for truth. Our differences – yours and mine – need to be discussed in the service of Truth."

Now in my book, "Them's fighting words!" No, seriously, it just shows that he is willing to dialogue. So why not do it?

Karen H.

Speaking as one who would be categorized as post-modern, but who wouldn't identify herself that way, I'd say that Mr. Colson completely missed Mr. McLaren's point. His smugness was almost palpable. It seemed like he was saying, "I get ultimate truth, Brian and you don't." Whereas, I read Mr. McLaren to say that we must always question, we must always be humble and open to whatever the Lord may want to teach us. That truth isn't static. Plus, it's just hilarious as hell to read "Christian brothers" slugging it out. Thanks for summarizing all of this Bill.

Robert

will said:
Wow, they were two long replies at each other. Interesting how they kind of talk 90 degrees to each other. I'm impressed that Colson took that much time to respond, and somewhat thoughtfully, too, although it seems his thinking is too closely a knee-jerk reaction to secular postmodern philosophers.

Also interesting that he acknowledges that modernity is dead (or at least on life support) but has no alternative to offer other than even more propositional modernist thinking.

I'll be watching this with bated breath, too :)


Robert replies:
Shall we make an absolute that forbids "propositional modernist thinking"? If not, what is the problem?
I don't remember a Word from Jesus that tells us to avoid "propositional modernist" thinking?
Seems like you have a new form of it!
Robert
Robert

Bill

Robert,

Point well taken, but can we agree that there are some crucially negative aspects of both Modernism and its overabundant reliance on propositional truth?

Robert

I am not sure, since there are many questions that remain as to what is meant by "propositional truth". I don't feel that this has been exhausted yet as to its meaning.

Bill

Questions by whom? I admit that I sometimes get confused when talking about this subject, but here's what I understand:

Merriam Webster says a proposition is "a statement of something to be discussed, proved, or explained." I think perhaps the distaste people have for the propositional outlook is that the Bible does not beg to be proved or explained. I think it gives us God's "story," if you will. It teaches us how to think about God and his desire for our lives.

When people reduce the Bible to propositional truth it's as if God just set out to give us an encyclopedia or a rulebook. I don't think the Bible is either of these. The OT provided rules for the nation of Israel, but the Law was fulfilled in Christ. We may take principles from the Law, but we aren't "under" the Law.

This is some of what I understand to be at stake. Perhaps there is more to it than that.

Robert

Can you give me an example of Colson using "propositional truth"? The definition seems a bit foggy to me.

Bill

I haven't read what Colson wrote in a while. If I get a chance, I'll take a look at it again.

In the meantime, you might read this conversation:

http://ekhardt.com/fresno.dome/blog_detail.php?id=176

This person writes:

"The definition I am using for a propositional statement is a sentence that modifies a subject by a predicate, such as 'God is loving'..."

The basic point he makes is that you can make propositional statements, but you can't necessarily convey truth in the same way that you can with a narrative. Thus, when Jesus taught about the kingdom, he didn't teach people a formula, he told a story.

Robert

Jesus did not *always* teach with story. Sometimes He interprets the Law, as in Sermon on the Mount.

Bill

True.

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