<< Not all revealed truth is propositional and abstract. Jesus Christ, the Word made Flesh, is not a proposition nor an abstraction. But that's an easy one that nobody would even think of disputing. For more examples of non-propositional, non-abstract revealed truth, see the historical and poetical books of the Old Testament, or the apocalyptic of the prophetic books. There are propositions contained in these books, but the form of the revelation in these books is not itself propositional. I.e., narrative and verse are not propositions. In the world that God made (as opposed to the world that the Greeks wished the gods had made) "truth" simply is not confined to propositions, but takes all kinds of other forms as well. In particular, it takes forms that relate to beauty and goodness, and the trio thus make up "the three faces of culture." >>
I don't know if our disagreement here is merely semantic or goes deeper than that. You seem to be confounding truth itself with a mode or medium of communication.
Yes, Jesus Christ, as God incarnate, is also truth incarnate. Jesus is, to that extent, a concrete object.
But as an object of faith--as an epistemic rather than ontological object--we know him by description rather than acquaintance. To believe in Christ is to believe in certain revealed propositions about Christ.
To contrast propositional revelation with a variety of literary genres is a false dichotomy. Figurative usage is still propositional. There is, first of all, the meaning of the figurative usage itself. Then there's the literal referent for which it stands. At both levels it is asserting something to be the case. The language remains referential and assertoric. The same can be said of narrative theology.
<< Many times we act out of trust or lack of trust of people. Even if or when the basis of authority is an abstract proposition (which is not always, as I've said) it is acted on by people. Proposition as cannot be RIGIDLY separated from people. This is an implied endorsement of gnosticism in the sense of the elevation of "more important mind" (or "spirit") over "mere matter." That's the problem with all the proposition-talk in Reformish circles: it's not that there are no propositions in Christianity and that they aren't important, it's just that Christianity isn't REDUCIBLE to propositions. >>
I don’t know who you’re shadowboxing with when you set things up this way. Who is saying that propositions can be “rigidly” separated from people? Who is saying that Christianity is “reducible” to propositions?
Except for hyper-Clarkians, I don’t know anyone in the Reformed community who takes such an extreme view.
Yes, there’s more to faith than bare belief or sheer knowledge. There is also the element of trust. But trust in what? What is the relation between belief and trust? Trust is the measure of my confidence in the truth of what I believe. Otherwise, I would not be acting on it.
<< In fact, against your friends James White and Eric Svendsen I have often deployed Warfield's illustration of revelation being like light poured through stained-glass windows as proof that their rather odd concept that mediating factors on our thinking such as history and culture make knowing truth and doing exegesis impossible. >>
Well, I can’t speak for White or Svendsen, yet I agree with you that Cartesian exegesis is impossible. But whoever denied the role of “mediating factors” like history and culture? Does anyone of worth on the opposing side deny that general proposition? Doesn’t the issue come down to the precise nature of the relation, and not the existence of the relation itself?
Isn’t Svendsen, for one, conversant with the history of interpretation? Doesn’t he take that into account when he exegetes Scripture? Isn’t Svendsen conversant with the life-situation of Scripture? Doesn’t he take that into account when he exegetes Scripture?
At the same time, there can be a conflict between the original setting and the history of interpretation. We cannot absolutize history and culture to the point where they trumps original intent or substitute a situational context alien to the original setting.
Scripture must be in a position to correct church history and correct social conditioning. We are not enslaved to our social conditioning. We can become self-aware of the mediating factors that shape our outlook. And that enables us to compare and contrast our historical viewpoint with the viewpoint Scripture, which--in turn--enables us to bring our sociological perspective in line with the word of God. So I’m still unclear on what you find fault with in the opposing position.