From the very beginning, the Christian faith has proclaimed and defended the position that it is a revealed religion. Never has it declared itself to be a speculative philosophy. It has always submitted to a higher, self-disclosing authority. Ronald Nash says that Christianity’s “touchstone proposition” is that “Human beings and the universe in which they reside are the creation of the God who has revealed himself in Scripture. The basic presupposition of the Christian world-view is the existence of the God revealed in Scripture.” This is both the ontological and epistemological foundation for the Christian faith. An appeal to any other authority than the living God, is an appeal to human speculation and vain autonomy. Carl Henry correctly observes that:
“All merely human affirmations about God curl into a question mark. We cannot spy out the secrets of God by obtrusive curiosity. …Apart from God’s initiative, God’s act, God’s revelation, no confident basis exists for God-talk. …If we are authorized to say anything at all about the living God, it is only because of God’s initiative and revelation. God’s disclosure alone can transform our wavering questions concerning ultimate reality into confident exclamations!”
Christians are therefore not arrogant because they claim to “know” the truth. Instead, Christians confess to be humble servants of the one true God who has graciously revealed the truth to them and has called them to be witnesses in the world to that truth. Furthermore, this same God has given Christians his Spirit so that they might have eyes to see and ears to hear what he has revealed. I hasten to add that it is not simply by “revelation-in-general,” that human beings come to this epistemological foundation.
Instead, it is the Old and New Testaments of the Christian Bible through which God has specifically revealed himself, and not simply “in Christ.” Francis Schaeffer has brought attention to the fact that “the Reformation said ‘Scripture Alone’ and not ‘the Revelation of God in Christ Alone.’ If you do not have the view of the Scriptures that the Reformers had, you really have no content in the word ‘Christ’…” This is important to point out, because without the proper epistemological foundation, truth shifts to preference and utter subjectivity. Indeed this is what has happened in far too many quarters. To be sure, God was most fully revealed in and through his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. And yet, without the proper authoritative source and correct interpretive lens, we cannot know or understand anything meaningful about him.
Grace and Truth,