Truthfulness

We have set out to possess what we should have patiently positioned ourselves to receive. We have lunged at faith and lost faithfulness; we have fought for truth and martyred truthfulness.

In a sense, the ‘authority’ to which every theological worker must bow the knee is single and all-commanding: it is the authority of truth, and with it is coupled the moral demand of courageous personal truthfulness. Truthfulness, though, must be self-enforced; it is a skill to acquire; thus it cannot be the gift of a denominational cattle prod, or of cultural brainwashing however well-intended, or of persecution claimed to be ‘for the cause of [the persecutor’s] conscience (Williams, 1644b), either by foe or friend. And for anyone who wonders if the pattern of authority has been rightly grasped by the present writer or any other theologian, there is the enduring encouragement of Balthasier Hubmaier’s motto—“Truth is immortal”; I may sometimes fail and I shall die; the truth is God’s and will not. (James McClendon, Jr. in Ethics)

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