God, Revelation and Authority Volume 1–Concluding Thoughts

Posted: March 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

Solomon wrote that there is nothing new under the sun and reading through Volume 1 of Carl F.H. Henry’s 35-year old magnum opus certainly reinforced those inspired words.  Henry is overlooked because most theologians refuse to take evangelicals seriously and because the first volume of Henry’s work is a dense piece of prolegomena.  Yet, it is timely because Pilate’s question, “What is truth?” boomerangs through the west every generation or so.

Henry’s thesis for his prolegomena is as follows: Divine revelation is the source of all truth, the truth of Christianity included; reason is the instrument for recognizing it; Scripture is its verifying principle; logical consistency is a negative test for truth and coherence a subordinate test. The task of Christian theology is to exhibit the content of biblical revelation as an orderly whole.

Henry believes that if any critical thinker approaches Scripture with the above in mind that he or she will find that Scripture presents a clear and coherent account of all reality.  Henry does not just make a bald statement but vigorously engages competing claims from Plato to Aquinas to Kant to Karl Barth and demonstrates that their worldviews are simply not as compelling.

The current controversies over hell, creation, justification or even the existence of God can all be traced back to one’s starting point as to how we seek to find truth.  If we accept Scripture as divine revelation then we may arrive at truth but if we dismiss Scripture or even view it as a witness to revelation rather than revelation itself then we will never succeed.  As Dietrich Bonhoeffer is quoted as saying, “If one gets on the wrong train, it doesn’t matter how hard he runs in the opposite direction, he will never get to his desired destination.” 

If we can ever truly stop for a moment, look at our Bibles and truly comprehend that God has spoken then everything could change.  For the past 15 years it has become popular to say that the best approach to Scripture is to have a conversation around a series of questions but, as Mark Driscoll has stated, when the sovereign creator and Lord of the universe speaks the appropriate response is not to question but to obey. 

Next week, we will begin to work through Volume 2. 

Grace and peace.

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