One of the most disturbing facets of our theological age arises from our encounter with relativism. Is the Church with its theology affected by the relativity that characterizes almost everything else? Do we have a stable point from which we can resist the corroding influence of a relativism which threatens the very heart of the Gospel and the Christian faith? Are we faced with the threat of relativity in such areas as the relationship between Christianity and the religions of the world (a relativism that takes the name of syncretism), the authority of Holy Scripture, and the confessions of the Church?

Sometimes one could suspect we are confusing the simple truth by making horribly complicated what is revealed to and known by children. Have the many questions that intrigue the theologians slowly created a doubting generation of churchmen? When Calvin was writing on the resurrection, he remarked that he felt ashamed at having to use so many words to discuss so clear a matter. Could we be making matters which have always been hard and fast in our convictions now suddenly problematic? Do we still know what orthodoxy means? Is not the struggle against all the new forms of disbelief not exactly the same as that against the old modernism? Such questions could imply a sharp criticism of today’s theologians.

When Roman Catholicism was engaged in its own fight against modernism, there was a rash of cries against relativism and modernism as these were discovered in almost every corner. A Roman Catholic brand of “heresy hunting” took place out of a deep fear of relativism within the bulwark of Roman orthodoxy. The hunt was over ere long, and it was then admitted that many problems remained for the orthodox, from which ...

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