Os Guinness reflects on his friendship with Francis Schaeffer and the influence that Schaeffer has had on his life and thinking, especially concerning the nature of 'Truth'.
Os believes that Schaeffer was the best one-to-one apologist there has ever been, with a passion for truth and a huge compassion for people. Os argues that truth is still a huge issue for the world today and speaks about the challenge for Christians "to stand for truth and to be people of truth where telling the truth is becoming a revolutionary act".
Os maintains that truth is being eroded in the area of ideas due to postmodernism and the heritage of Nietzsche. A further erosion of truth is in "the social and cultural influence of our world", with its pluralization and consequent relativizing of how we view the world (the sociology of knowledge). People therefore become 'conversion prone'.
History demonstrates that scepticism is the fruit of the overreach of rationalism, but although scepticism keeps recurring, it never lasts. Many of the recent criticisms of Christian belief (fideism, Mark) are best met by emphasising the truth of Christianity. Ultimately, however, truth is a matter of theology, not philosophy, for Christianity recognises that Jesus is the Truth.
The impact of these ideas on society and the West is that if there is no truth, there are no inalienable human rights and no true freedom.
A response can come in two ways: relativize the relativizer and seek signals of transcendence.
There is a moral challenge to truth. People can be truth seekers but it is also easy to be truth twisters (as with Aldous Huxley).
Schaeffer described coming to faith as a double bow: we can't think our way to God, but he has revealed himself to us and we bow before his revelation.
© 2014 Christian Heritage