Sunday, January 25, 2015

“Everything That Rises Must Converge”

My actual statement was, "The more that more Christians live [and are taught] according to God's word, the more they converge".

To which an interlocutor said:

And it is glaringly false to say that people who sincerely study God's Word tend to converge. They just don't. The only way you can get that conclusion is to start with the assumption that your particular theological tradition is the only result anyone can get when they study God's Word, and that the many people who disagree do so because at some level they are insincere or inattentive or don't really accept the authority of God's Word. And that's a far bigger and more incredible assumption than any made by RC apologists.

The way to come to this conclusion is to make the presupposition that God is the author of the Scriptures; that God intends to present "truth", and that "truth" has a content that, if people are diligent to understand it, people (created by God, with an ability to understand also created by God) will agree. This is a basic, fundamental thing if God exists and if he reveals himself.

F.F. Bruce has some comments along these lines:

To many it seems safer and more comfortable to stay within familiar and old-established boundaries (which he had earlier identified as both written traditions such as the WCF and unwritten traditions that simply develop around various communities). The admission of more light (meaning clearer understanding of what the Scriptures say) may show up inadequacies in cherished traditions -- inadequacies that would otherwise have remained hidden -- and they may be disposed to question whether what is claimed to be "more light" is in fact light.

But light by its nature is self-evidencing, and John Robinson's choice of this figure (metaphor) for the further truth that might be learned from Scripture was apt. There are those who demand authority for truth, forgetting that truth is itself the highest authority. Where the Holy Spirit guides the people of Christ into further truth, that guidance (though meeting with some initial resistance) tends in the long run to commend itself to their general acceptance.

It will not conflict with truth already learned and established, even if it shows that some things previously reckoned to be truth were only imperfectly so, or not so at all It will be acknowledged to be in harmony with the mind of Christ, as His mind is revealed in Scripture and progressively appreciated in the church" ("Tradition Old and New", Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan 1970, 18).

This is not "a far bigger and more incredible assumption than any made by RC apologists". Actually, RC apologists make a whole different set of assumptions:

1. God has revealed himself, but people can't understand him.
2. Therefore God has appointed a mediator to "authoritatively interpret" what God has said.
3. This mediator is the Roman Catholic magisterium

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