As I have mentioned before, I am listening to N.T. Wright’s very fine lectures on Jesus and the victory of God. In these lectures, as in much of his writing, Wright rarely misses an opportunity to take a swing at “timeless truths.” He does this, not because he is a relativist, but because he is leaning against the temptations of Christians influenced by the Enlightenment, who want a system of dogma as inflexible as Al Gore on a chilly day.
Just today I got Al Mohler’s new book, which looks quite promising. The book is called Culture Shift, and the subtitle is “Engaging Current Issues With Timeless Truth.” And he says that like it’s a good thing. He is doing this because he is aware (more than Wright is, in my view) that we are confronting a culture that is radically relativistic, and which will take any opportunity to try to relativize our proclamation of the Christian gospel. These relativists won’t have the patience or integrity to find out what Wright means.
Wright is against decontextualized abstractions, as he should be. Mohler is against gumby truth, truth which can be stretched to accomodate pretty much any faith community, especially if homosex is involved, or is waiting eagerly in the wings. Wright calls decontextualized abstractions “timeless truth.” Mohler calls the gospel once delivered to the saints “timeless truth.”
Here is my proposal. Let’s reject relativism with transcendent truth. Let’s reject impersonal theological Euclidianism with triune and living truth. No arid detachment truth, and no shifting winds of doctrine truth.