Re: truth debate

John P. McKiness (
Tue, 10 Jun 1997 21:02:11 -0500

At 09:52 AM 6/5/97 -0500, Paul wrote:

>. . . there is one point that has not been discussed in much in the debate
>so far, and that is this: John seems to assume, as in the quotes above,
>that God is God, and God's Statements are God's Statements. It would be
>nice, and perhaps valid, if there were no alternative revelations. But
>in fact there are numerous claims throughout history that 'this is God's
>Word'. Some such scriptures antedate the OT by thousands of years. Some
>are brand new. If there is no element of reason (including evidence)
>involved in Christian faith, then to identify one of these revelations
>as the only true one is a purely arbitrary decision. John may thus
>consider himself 'lucky' to have chosen the right one, but that is all
>he can say about it.

Yes, Paul , I do consider myself "lucky" but I also believe luck had nothing
to do with it (with God there is no such thing as luck, His die are loaded).
I never had a consious conversion experience. I was baptized when I was 2
weeks old. I grew up in a Christian home and always believed that I belong
to Jesus and that He was with me and was to be trusted. Yes I am "lucky," I
have had trials I didn't want to go through and life can be "the pits" at
times. At times I have even wished He'd leave me alone and other time I
have been terrified that He was gone, but I do not doubt His Presence,
Faithfulness, Truthfullness, or Love and that Knowledge has always gotten me
through. I have never felt hounded by Him, but I have watched the Hound of
Heaven go out of His way for other people.

Yes, there is a delima here, how are we to decide which is the right
revelation? As I remember, C.S. Lewis said something to the effect that all
other religions contain some of the mysteries but the fulfillment of the
mysteries comes only in Christ. If reason gets in the way of Christ there
is no hope and I believe the existance of Christ is beyond reason itself.

I believe it is only through prayer and sharing our faith that the Holy
Spirit can do the work of conversion. The Holy Spirit must prepare the soil
of the soul, plant the seed of faith, and water and feed the faith that
sprouts. Can forgiveness of sins be found anywhere besides in Christ? The
Bible says no, I have to accept that and leave the problem of those who have
not heard the Word to Him while I pray for them. In the end, I have to
accept that the faith I have is on the right track to God and I pray that if
I am wrong that He will do the appropriate switching (I believe prayer is
also beyond reason).

> I urge John to read Schaeffer's 'Escape from Reason' or Sproul's book on
this subject.

I have read Schaeffer's works (as far as I know all of them), and some of
Sproul's works (to which are you referring?). I have also read M. Polanyi's
_Personal Knowledge_ and I believe the unknown basic assumptions we all make
and on which we build our "personal knowledge" challeges the faith some
Christians (including some theologians) have placed on reason. I do not
remember Schaeffer and Sproul placing as much faith in reason as I have seen
in some on this list over the past year, I know Luther didn't.

I do not denigh that there is power in reason, and the Spirit can use and
does use human reason to reach people, but if they are going to grow in the
faith they will have to lay reason aside and walk in faith. Faith does not
come in what we can prove or know, it comes in trusting God and in the blind
leap that must result from that trust.

Remember the parable of the sower and the various soil types, the over
application of reason and proof leads to very thin soil for faith to grow in.

> Gary's point about the unity of truth is of utmost importance, and
>it is certainly consistent with the Biblical God, who is both our Creator
>and Redeemer. As theologians have said for centuries, there are TWO
>books of God, the General and Special Revelations. They may be different
>in many ways, but ultimately truth is one because both come from the
>same Source. And therefore we can expect to find some coherence between

There may be "TWO books of God, but they are not equally interpretable in
the City of Man. One book we are left to figure out on our own using our
reason, however, in the end we interprete data (which we select by our
questions, current hypothotheses, observation skills, private motives, etc.)
in terms of reality as we see it (this also includes math). The only help
we have is God's consistancy which permeates creation. Just think of the
evil we could do if God gave us the same level of knowledge concerning how
creation works has He has given us about Himself through history, Jesus
Christ, and the workings of the Holy Spirit.

I repeat in a different way: the Holy Spirit guides us to the Truth God has
revealed to His people through time, through Jesus Christ, Scripture, and
Church tradition. I find no place where we are given similar assurance of
His guidance with any human discipline.

Both books point to the same author if the reader is reading in faith that
there is an author.

Both books are rediculus to the reader who has faith that there is no author.

I do not claim that there is no element of reason in the Christianity, what
I claim is that it is subserviant to faith. I also believe that if we have
evidence there is no need for faith and that using science to prove faith is
simply wrong headed. God is excluded from science and science can say
nothing about God, or God activity, or God Statements.

Likewise God has said nothing scientific. From my understanding of
Scripture, God is concerned about our relationship to Him and each other not
about our understanding of the workings of or history of His creation.

I believe also that science is a powerful tool which we have created to
learn about and manipulate the cosmos around us. We need it now and it
provides us with the best approximation of how creation works that is
presently available to us, and it proves this in its fruitfullness.
However, it originated with us and it measures a reality which we create in
a feedback loop as we apply science.

> . . .
> Paul Arveson, Code 724, Signatures Directorate, NSWC
> (301) 227-3831 (W) (301) 816-9459 (H) (301) 227-4511 (FAX)

In His Love,


John P. McKiness
P.O. Box 5666
Coralville, Iowa (U.S.A.) 52241