The Nobility And Knowability Of Scripture: Part 2 -- By: David Mappes

Journal: Journal of Ministry and Theology
Volume: JMAT 13:2 (Fall 2009)
Article: The Nobility And Knowability Of Scripture: Part 2
Author: David Mappes


The Nobility And Knowability Of Scripture: Part 2

David Mappes

Associate Professor of Systematic Theology

Baptist Bible Seminary

Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania

Conservative Response To Postconservatism

Ultimately the Scripture must measure any truth claim.1 In many ways post-evangelicals have constructed their argument in such a way that it appears irrefutable. They claim that (1) universal situatedness and non-objectivity must lead to provisionality as the norm and that (2) the conservative evangelicals’ understanding of knowledge is a byproduct of rationalism (Cartesian foundationalism), concluding that their postconservativism is the future of evangelicalism. This argument fortifies their own sense of provisionality. When addressing these issues in the emerging church, Don Closson succinctly articulates this concern:

They set the standard for knowing something to be true unreasonably high. They claim that either we know something exhaustively, even omnisciently as God knows it, or else our partial knowledge can only be personal knowledge, more like an opinion rather than something that can be binding on others as

well. Even worse, they argue that we have no means of testing to see how close what we think is true actually corresponds with reality itself. Since few of us would claim to have God’s perspective or knowledge on an issue, they argue that we must admit that everything we claim to know is only a very limited personal perspective on the truth. In addition, what little we think we know is highly impacted, some say completely constructed, by the social group we participate in as individuals. What this viewpoint does is make it impossible for anyone to claim that he or she knows something objectively, and that this objective knowledge is true or valid for everyone everywhere. If knowledge can only be personal knowledge, then the phrase it might be true for you, but not for me becomes reality for everyone and for every topic.2

The postmodern disdain for certainty is driven by a false dichotomy which says “you must know something omnisciently in order to know something truly …. Aren’t we capable of knowing truth unambiguously without having to know it with invincible certainty?”3 The Scripture authors never claimed exhaustive omniscient knowledge, though they did indeed claim revelatory first-order foundational knowledge from God which is absolute and certain. DeYoung and Kluck write, “Paul did not claim to fully understand the depth...

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