How Much Do We Know Of The New Birth By Consciousness? And What? -- By: George F. Magoun

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 050:200 (Oct 1893)
Article: How Much Do We Know Of The New Birth By Consciousness? And What?
Author: George F. Magoun


How Much Do We Know Of The New Birth By Consciousness? And What?

George F. Magoun

Grinnell, Iowa

In order to any satisfactory discussion of the questions put to me in the April number of this Review, by Professor Frank Hugh Foster, Ph. D., of Pacific Theological Seminary, it is necessary to restate the main question with more precision and correctness. This I have done above. As drawn up by him1 it implies that I have denied that we “know anything by consciousness” on the subject and related ones to which he refers, by asking: “Do we know anything,” etc. But this is quite wide of the truth. In the Christian Mirror2 my only denial was just this: One “is surely not conscious” in any proper language or correct thinking, of the objective truth of all that ‘system’ which was the instrument of the change.” This followed criticism on his article in this Review,3 that it is “unclear what and how far immediate internal consciousness” is held by him to “know.” This is the question I am to discuss, and not the other, and different, and far broader one substituted by Professor Foster.

He avers that the Christian does know “by immediate consciousness something about the New Birth.” Undoubtedly he does. What Christian would think of denying it? Certainly I have not. All the books of logic teach that while a universal affirmative and a universal negative are contradictories and exclude one another, a particular affirmative and a particular negative are alternate propositions and allow each other. In questioning the assertion that we know some things, one tacitly admits that we know some (other) things. Professor Foster suggested my denial quoted above, as to knowing an objective “system” by consciousness, when he asked: “Is it scientific to throw away what you actually know of it by the testimony of immediate internal consciousness?” It is certainly unscientific to throw away what is really known by any faculty of knowledge, for science just coordinates what is known. But the query seemed inexact. So I raised the other question—as above—of what and how much? Indeed, Professor Foster himself starts by saying that I merely “questioned the assertion that we know some things about Christian doctrine by consciousness,” which is entirely true, and is all that is true.

If I were to restate the main question by substituting a different univer-

sal for Professor Foster’s, thus: “Do we know everything as to ...

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