Friday, September 12, 2008

John Elevensies

Millinerd (est. 2003), is now 678 posts strong (I was going to alert readers at 666, but I didn't want to curse you). We've covered a lot over the years. As I reminisce, I see in hindsight, 20/20. That was a self-link inter-blog pun you just witnessed.

I'd like to return to the resurrection subject. Pavel Florenksy famously remarked that the icon of the Trinity by Andrei Rublev exists, therefore God exists. Fair enough. It is equally true, however, that John chapter eleven exists, therefore God exists. There at Bethany, Martha - through the haze of grief - confesses her orthodox belief in the resurrection. Christ answers that he is the resurrection. Enter trendy theologian who says "See, it's not about abstract obtuse dry dull dogmatic doctrine folks, it's about a totally post-foundational personal encounter!"

Wrong wrong wrong. It's about both. It was Martha's confidence in the orthodox doctrine of the Pharisees that led her to Christ who is, she then discovered, that doctrine's content. Read it. Furthermore, Christ does not then suggest Martha give up on doctrine. He gives her yet another, more resplendent dogma (the Christian doctrine of the resurrection). And there at the funeral parlor, he even tests her on it! How "unpastoral." His question is not do you believe me, but do you believe this. That's right, a (brace yourself) prop-- No. I can't say it. A propo... A propositi.... Courage. Focus.

Christ actually suggests a grieving woman assent to a propositional truth: "Everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die." A proposition, but one that is infused with a person ("believes in me"). Mary's answer to Christ's test? Yet another personified proposition. It's doctrine, albeit personified doctrine, all the way down.

A proposition: Christians who propose they can transcend "propositional truth" are only digging themselves deeper into the Enlightenment's epistemological pit. They need the ladder of Bethany, not the shovel of trend.