Maintaining the uniqueness of the Christian truths

“In days of pressure from so many new theologies and the resurgence of old faiths, it is a battle with the enemy to maintain the uniqueness of the Christian truths as one seeks to present the Saviour to an unbelieving society. “God is dead” is the tenet of the majority, and by life and lip it is the duty of the believer to show that Jesus is very much alive, and is still fulfilling the promise made by Isaiah [61: 12] so long ago. God give us grace not to sink into the quagmire of humanism, but to remain firm and alive in him, for Jesus says, “Today, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Alan Redpath, The Life of Victory, 19)

Read this after our recent street outreaches during which quite a few people said they don’t believe in God and that there is no afterlife. Oftentimes they’re just fed up with (state) religion, but inside there is still an understanding that there must be more to life after all. I was encouraged by this devotion from Redpath to “maintain the uniqueness of the Christian truths”.

I’d like to link the first quote to the following one from N.L.Geisler: “The objectivity of truth that Christianity embraces is based on the premise that meaning is objective. This objectivity in meaning is rejected by much of contemporary linguistics; the prevailing conventionalist theory of meaning is a form of semantical relativism. However, in addition to being an overreaction to platonic essentialism, conventionalism is self-defeating, for, as we have seen, the very theory of conventionalism that “all meaning is relative” is itself a nonrelative statement. “All meaning is relative” is a meaningful statement intended to apply to all meaningful statements; it is a nonconventional statement claiming that all statement are conventional. As such, it self-destructs, for in the very process of expressing itself it implies a theory of meaning that is contrary to the one it claims is true of all meaningful statements. The usages of symbols and words do change, but the meaning properly expressed by them does not.” (Systematic Theology, Vol 1, 108)

4 thoughts on “Maintaining the uniqueness of the Christian truths

  1. Wow, that last quote is not for the fainthearted :). But even within Christian Theology there’s movement, change. It developed, matured. In the process sometimes things were added that we now can safely say were not completely correct. The meaning of some verses changed the more we understood the context and history of first century. Even in systematic theology there are some that would disagree with Geisler on some issues.
    So the question one might ask is which Christian truths do we have to maintain?

    1. You are right, it’s a serious quote 🙂 I agree that there is change and development in Christian Theology as a study, but what Geisler was talking about in the chapter the quote comes from, is that truth doesn’t change. Many people in our age believe that “all meaning is relative”, and Norman Geisler explains that’s not true. Over time the way we formulate things (truth statements, doctrine) does change and our understanding on a subject can change, but truth (and therefore essential doctrines of the Christian faith) can’t change.

      The question you asked is a very important one. Which Christian truths we have to maintain? Somewhere else Geisler summarizes what he believes to be the essentials of the Christian faith:
      I. Essential to Justification:

      1. Human depravity
      2. Mary’s virginity
      3. Christ’s purity
      4. Christ’s deity
      5. Christ’s humanity
      6. God’s unity
      7. God’s tri-unity
      8. The necessity of God’s grace
      9. The necessity of our Faith
      10. Christ’s atoning death
      11. Christ’s bodily resurrection

      II. Essentials to Sanctification

      12. Christ’s bodily ascension
      13. Christ present session

      III. Essentials to Glorification
      14. Christ’s bodily return

      Historically we see the same reflected in the Bible and the Creeds (Apostles’, Nicene, Chalcedon). That’s why to me that ‘list’ of essentials seems very solid.

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