Sunday, June 26, 2011

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge

Believers themselves have not chosen the Christian position because they are wiser than others. What they have they have by grace alone. But this does not mean that they accept the problematics of fallen man as right... Fallen man does in principle seek to be a law unto himself. But he cannot carry out his own principle to its full degree. He is restrained from doing so... In spite of what he does against God, he can and must work for God; thus he is able to make a “positive contribution” to human culture. (Van Til, A Christian Theory of Knowledge, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1969, pp. 43, 44).

It appears dogmatic and absolutistic because, it is dogmatic and absolutistic. The Christian should not be ashamed of this fact. He ought to have the humble boldness to tell a lost world that the Christian message is unconditionally true and the necessary presupposition of all thought (absolutistic), that Christ’s gospel demands repentance (including a “change of mind”), and that God’s word has definite doctrinal content which is authoritatively revealed “directly from above” (dogmatic). Of course the biblical outlook is not “dogmatic and absolutistic” in the derisive sense often attributed to these words. The Christian’s claim that all thought requires the presupposition of Christ’s word is not arrogant, unreasoning, or unfounded...

Not only must the non-presuppositionalist receive the correction and reproof of God’s word (namely, that the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord), but the Christian scholar who presupposes the truth of Scripture in his intellectual endeavors must be fully aware that his wisdom is not inherently his own but rests completely upon the fear of the Lord. Without that reverence, the Christian scholar would be as foolish as all other men. His wisdom is not due to superior mental ability and profundity of insight; instead it has been given by God. We noted above that repentance and faith are requisite for knowledge. The Christian, who possesses a knowledge of the truth, does so only because faith has been given him as a gift (Eph. 2:8-9) and repentance has been granted from the Lord (Acts 5:31; 11:18). In order to have faith you must be born of God (1 John 5:1) who gives repentance unto a genuine knowledge of the truth (2 Tim. 2:25). The Christian is in a position of knowledge only because of the grace of God. His spiritual rebirth is not of himself but solely the result of God’s mercy (Ezek. 11:19-20; John 1:13; Rom. 9:16). This gracious regeneration has brought him a new mind...

For we know that men have this unique quality above the other animals, that they are endowed with reason and intelligence and that they bear the distinction between right and wrong engraved in their conscience. Thus there is no man to whom some awareness of the eternal light does not penetrate...the common light of nature, a far lowlier thing than faith
(Calvin’s Commentaries, tr. T.H.L. Parker; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 1959).

Bahnsen, Greg (2011). Always Ready: Directions for Defending the Faith (p. 149). Covenant Media Press. Kindle Edition.

Proverbs 15:32-33, He that refuseth correction despiseth his own soul: But he that hearkeneth to reproof getteth understanding. The fear of Jehovah is the instruction of wisdom. And before honor goeth humility.

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