Reymond’s Rejection of Paradox -- By: Christian Cryder

Journal: Trinity Journal
Volume: TRINJ 22:1 (Spring 2001)
Article: Reymond’s Rejection of Paradox
Author: Christian Cryder

Reymond’s Rejection of Paradox

Christian Cryder*

* Christian Cryder is a software engineer for Lutris Technologies, an internet related company.

The purpose of this paper is to critique Robert Reymond’s rejection of paradox as a legitimate hermeneutical category in chap. 4 of A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith.1 To do this we must first understand the context in which Reymond is writing and then look at what he means by the term “paradox.” Once we have nailed down his definition, we can then study the logic of his argument and ultimately evaluate the merits of the case he makes. I hope to show that Reymond fails to demonstrate compellingly the illegitimacy of paradox.

It is best to begin by looking at the context in which Reymond frames his argument by reviewing what he has already stated about the nature and attributes of Holy Scripture. Scripture, he contends, is the product of a single divine mind that cannot lie or contradict itself, and as such we may expect it to be consistent and non-contradictory throughout.2 To hold otherwise is to undermine the very foundations of biblical authority.

Jesus himself regards Scripture as intrinsically authoritative and thus necessarily consistent when he insists that “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).3 He goes on to say that Moses—indeed, all of Scripture—testifies that he is in fact the Christ (cf. John 5:39, 46–67). This cohesiveness in testimony in turn binds us to try to harmonize Scripture, by studying “all relevant passages on any one topic under the methodological duty to avoid contradictions.”4

Anticipating that some might accuse him of demanding more of the text than Scripture itself requires, Reymond strengthens his position by quoting Henri Blocher:

Contradictors are to be refuted (Rom 16:17; Tit 1:9): it could never be done if the standard itself embraced several conflicting theologies. As a matter of fact, the whole logic of our Lord’s appeal to

Scripture in argument (and similarly of his apostles’) would instantly collapse if the presupposition of Scriptural coherence were taken away.5


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