The Postulate Of Paradox -- By: Vernon C. Grounds

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 07:1 (Winter 1964)
Article: The Postulate Of Paradox
Author: Vernon C. Grounds


The Postulate Of Paradox

Vernon C. Grounds

I.

As evangelicals all of us, I suppose, bristle indignantly if we are charged with adherence to a fideistic irrationalism. A fideistic irrationalism indeed! Our Gospel, we vehemently assert, is the embodiment of reason—belief-ful reason, to be sure, sanctified reason, if one prefers so to characterize it, but reason nevertheless. Intolerant of contradiction and wary of anything akin to a Kantian antinomy, we delight to quote John McTaggert’s dictum: “None ever went about to break logic, but in the end logic broke him.”1 Proclaiming a God Who cannot contradict Himself and Whose very nature therefore supplies the laws of thought, we argue—most of us, at any rate—that our faith ought to be accepted precisely because of its intellectual cogency. Wholeheartedly we endorse what one of my own professors, Edwin Lewis, wrote: Christianity

is capable of being construed into a Weltanschauung—a total view of things —to which there is nowhere any comparison. The Christian view, even when not accepted as “revelation,” but regarded as solely the result of human reflection may still be shown to be infinitely more “reasonable” than anything given us by naturalism, vastly more satisfying, and profoundly congruous with man’s own deepest nature.2

Yet as an evangelical I find myself wondering whether we self-confessed Bibli-cists are unintentionally disloyal to the logic of Biblicism. I wonder whether we are so ensnared by alien principles that we refuse to take seriously the postulate of paradox, a postulate without which evangelicalism ceases to have an evangel. I wonder again and again whether we are prepared to follow out—shall I say logically? —the consequences of Paul’s avowal:

The preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness; but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:18-24).

Yes, I seriously wonder whether we had bett...

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