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Evangelical scholars address ‘Whatever Happened to Truth?’


WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–The assault on truth -– being fought today on the fronts of biblical authority, culture, philosophy and hermeneutics -– has evoked a hearty response from a team of leading evangelicals led by New Testament scholar Andreas Köstenberger.

Their book, titled “Whatever Happened to Truth?” published by Crossway Books, contends for the existence of truth — a truth that can be known in God’s written Word, the Bible, and God’s incarnate Word, Jesus Christ.

Edited by Köstenberger, the book is a compilation of addresses from the 2004 meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, featuring chapters by such scholars as R. Albert Mohler Jr., J.P. Moreland and Kevin J. Vanhoozer who join Köstenberger in setting forth the battle for truth on a variety of levels.

Köstenberger, professor of New Testament and Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., and editor of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, said the book is designed to equip college students, laypeople and ministers alike to contend confidently for the truth of Scripture in a postmodern world.

“Truth is under siege in our society on several levels,” Köstenberger said. “It is under attack at the level of biblical authority. People scoff at the notion of scriptural inerrancy or inspiration. Truth is also under attack in our culture, as Al Mohler amply demonstrates in his superb piece in this volume. The most concerted effort to replace the notion of absolute truth in recent years has come from a movement called ‘postmodernism,’ which contends that subjective experience, not divine revelation, inevitably governs human perception.

“Truth has also suffered greatly in the area of hermeneutics, where individual interpretation and communal experience have replaced the notion of truth as sustaining an existence independent from a given interpreter.”

Both the urgency and importance of the topic at hand led Köstenberger to conclude that Whatever Happened to Truth? “may be one of the most important books I ever had a part in writing.”

“The book is supremely significant for several reasons,” he said. “First, there could be no more important subject than truth. Second, with the notion of truth slipping in recent public discourse, truth needs a robust, competent defense. Third, the book’s essays were written by scholars and evangelical leaders who are the most competent on this topic.”

While relevant and important reading for all Christians today, Köstenberger noted that the book can be especially helpful to college students and young people facing an assault on truth from within their schools and campuses.

“This is a book that articulates an intelligent response to the recent rejection of truth in our culture yet does so in a highly accessible and succinct way,” Köstenberger said. “People can pick up this book and read it or parts of it in a short time. I believe many will be gripped by the truth of Scripture, Christ and Christianity and be re-energized to bear witness in our pluralistic, relativistic and postmodern world.”

Köstenberger said he hopes the book will find an entrance not only into college campuses but also the workplace, where it will serve as a tool to be used by defenders of the truth in their witness to unbelievers.

“I hope [the book] will also boost the confidence of those who already believe but who are intimidated by the prevailing confusion and attack upon truth in our culture,” Köstenberger added. “I hope Whatever Happened to Truth? will embolden Christians to stand up and witness to the Truth, the Way and the Life, fully convinced that the Lord Jesus Christ, and He alone, is the way to God and the one who can save us from our sinful, rebellious condition. I hope the book will serve as a prophetic denunciation of the demise of truth in our increasingly pagan culture and as a wakeup call to God’s people to share the truth with others.”
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  • Kyle Smith