Following a stimulating discussion in our church staff meeting this week, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the place of pragmatism in the church. Pragmatism is a philosophical theory that determines truth by observing what works. A pragmatist sees truth not in “terms of correspondence with reality or in terms of coherence,” but “holds that truth is to be found in the process of verification.”[1] The question I’m wrestling with is, does pragmatism have a place in biblical Christianity? Complicating the situation, however, is the related idea of pragmatic thinking or a mental striving to find more efficient and effective methods to fulfill our work. We tend to think of “pragmatism” as simply practical thinking. So we must be clear to differentiate between the philosophy and instances of resourcefulness. The lines are little blurry, which makes the situation complex.

In the course of daily life, pragmatic thinking can…

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