January 13, 2008

Johnannes Stolz - “Pluralism and the revealed truth”

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Johannes Stolz asked, "How do we handle the apparent tension between absolute truth and pluralism?" He proposed that one way is to seek to destroy pluralism, thereby denying people freedom. This method has been tried repeatedly by both Christianity (Crusades) and Islam (particularly during its years of rapid expansion), but it does not seem to be in harmony with the Creator, who gave us choice and free volition - all the while (we believe) - also giving us revealed truth. A second way to deal with this tension might be to deny that there is transcendent truth. This option would allow each individual to establish private choices and standards. However, this option can result in a total loss of orientation, in providing no useful ways to evaluate our choices. This option does not appear to be in harmony with our understanding of our Creator's essence, for we seem to be made for such transcendent truths as love and moral behaviour. While we are able to make wrong choices, we also seem to understand innately that we must pay the price for wrong moral choices. Johannes proposed a third solution, that of allowing these two concepts to be in tension, allowing both to work. While we do this, we should be aware that even though we firmly believe in truth as revealed in scripture, Christians have an amazing ability to turn truly minor questions into major questions, splitting churches over them (while ignoring the world's major questions). Christians (and others) have also demonstrated that we are not always Christ-like when confronting other faith systems. We should keep in mind John 1.14: "the Word became flesh . . . full of grace and truth." While seeking truth and seeking to promote our understanding of truth, we must never forget the element of grace. [JEK]


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Speaker: Johnannes Stolz
Worship Leader: Rosie Perera
Song Leader: Edwin Hintz
Pianist: Deberah Shears
Usher: Hilda Unger
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