Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Faith the Only Reliable Epistemology: It's Got to Be Faith, pt. 5

Part One     Part Two     Part Three     Part Four

Among other points, I have written in this series that we can't trust sight or evidence, versus faith, for knowledge because of our own depravity, the trampling of "evidence," that is, we don't live in a closed system, and then added the lack of perspective. For the latter reason, with God there "is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17).  You can't count on getting it right if you can't see everything, relating to sight or evidence.  On the other hand, faith is what brings glory and pleasure to God.  "Ye see. . . how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. . . . Your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God" (1 Cor 1:26, 2:5).

I want to take faith as the only reliable epistemology and compare it to sight or "evidence" in order to know that we have every word of scripture available for usage today.  By faith we know that we have every word and that every word is available.  This is the position of premodernism, which is why this is the sole position about preservation of scripture up until modernism.  Premodern epistemology was based upon revealed knowledge from authoritative sources -- the ultimate truth could be known and the way to this knowledge was and is through direct revelation. This direct revelation was assumed to come and to have come from God.  Therefore, the church, being the holder and interpreter of revealed knowledge was also the primary authority source in premodern time -- "the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim 3:15).

The church agreed that it had every word, that every Word of God was generally available to every generation of believer, in the language in which it was written.  Men knew they had every Word by faith.  A new epistemology, a modernistic one, fueled the denial of this revealed knowledge.  The dominant approach of the modern period was empiricism, knowing through the senses, which developed into scientific empiricism or modern science with the diversion into modernist methodology.  Rather than knowledge standing in the Word of God, it stands in the "wisdom of men" or the "wisdom of this world" (1 Cor 1-3, James 3).  "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness" (1 Cor 3:19).

With the new epistemology, the authority shifted from the church to the university as the source of power.  You see this affect everything in the world, let alone the church.  Every field of knowledge has left the church and moved into the university.  Religion on the campus is viewed as art, art something that can't even be known in modernism and now postmodernism, but both religion and art just a matter of personal taste.  Doctrine has left the realm of knowledge and evangelicalism cooperates heavily with this.  They themselves see much of what premoderns believed and knew as only a matter of personal taste.

A major reason you can see a lack of strength in men today, and I'm not just talking about the church, but the church is mainly responsible, is because men don't know anything anymore.  In general their breadth of knowledge stops short of anything more than what entertains them or gratifies them.  This is why we see in James that "this wisdom [that] descendeth not from above . . . is earthly, sensual, devilish" (James 3:15).  Paul describes their philosophy or direction as their "end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things."  The knowledge of God descends to man through supernatural means, acquired by faith.  God expects us to believe what He says and know.

Men very often don't know today.  They know very little.  They have very little certainty.  This has come because of the acceptance of wisdom of men or evidence as the means of knowing.  God intended for us to know Him "in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col 2:3).  We know Him by faith.

For men to lead with authority, they must know.  They need to have certainty to tell those people they lead, that they are right.  They know they are right.  What you can interpret today as the effeminate quality of men looks like a lack of confidence, which is why you might hear the word "like" come out of a mouth again and again.  They "like" know.  They don't know.  Evangelicalism fuels that.  These men who deny preservation of scripture, like a James White, Daniel Wallace, and a large segment of the leaders of fundamentalism, are a major cause of that lack of confidence.

You hear the term "evanjellyfish," which may have been coined by Douglas Wilson (I'm not sure), it comes from this lack of certainty, toward which in fact Douglas Wilson himself contributes.  He adds quite a bit of jelly to the fish with his capitulation to new Calvinism among other weakness.  Nevertheless, the weakness of evangelicals arises from its unwillingness to know by faith.

As this relates to the denial of the preservation of scripture, a modern pendulum swing is one category of King James Onlyism led by such men as Sam Gipp, that says that the Word of God was lost in the original languages.  These men deny preservation too, but their desire for certainty results a kind of double inspiration, where the English translation becomes the new authority.  Many men take this position in the United States, but it is fueled too by doubt and not faith.  They don't get that position from scripture.

Spiritual warfare applies spiritual weaponry.  "The sword of the Spirit . . . is the Word of God" (Eph 6:17).  The "pulling down of strongholds" doesn't come through carnal methods, which include the modernistic ones utilized by James White and other apologists.  The problem is a supernatural problem and the Word of God should be depended upon.

I'm going to explore this further in future posts.


James Bronsveld said...

"For men to lead with authority, they must know. They need to have certainty to tell those people they lead, that they are right." This captures the heart of the matter. Certainty produces authority, and authority is what man desperately seeks to avoid. Thus, the willing ignorance in II Peter 3 allows men plausible deniability regarding submission to God and His Word, since they do not know. The application of this to the fraud of the "reconstructing the text" movement is readily apparent. One cannot know he has reconstructed something, unless he has the pattern present with which to compare the reconstruction. Textual critics know this simple truth (as it pertains to the autographs), yet they continue to promote the fraud because the uncertainty they generate affords them greater liberty to live apart from divine authority while still claiming to be submitted to God's Word.

Kent Brandenburg said...


Thank you. Very good. True.