Friday, June 22, 2012 4:33 AM

Christian Growth

Friday, June 22, 2012 4:33 AM
Friday, June 22, 2012 4:33 AM

R. Ostella’s statement quoted here is a good insight on how a Christian is expected to grow in knowledge and understanding. It is not enough to have personal insight into scripture; this is not true Biblical knowledge. The submission of the heart and mind that is required is not truly understood by believers. This is why we see such divergent political and scientific views of life within the Church body. Iron may sharpen iron, but this sharpening requires commitment. No knife was ever sharpened without applying pressure on the blade against the stone. No iron tool was ever formed without applying heat and a mighty blow.

“If submission is both necessary and sufficient for true knowledge, then how can it be that Christians disagree with one another in their interpretations of the Bible? The answer to this question is that in the cases of disagreement there are deficiencies regarding many things that are necessary for knowledge. For example, critical thinking is a requirement in Christian discipleship. Disciples have the duty to test all things and to hold fast to the good (1 Thess. 5:21). This is just to say that Christian love is to abound in knowledge seasoned by discernment (Phil. 1:9–11).  

Where conclusions contradict one another, someone lacks a necessary requirement for growth in true knowledge. Now, to focus on Christian development, growth in knowledge requires both a submissive heart and a meditative process of testing all things. Christians come up short in both of these requirements; they must grow in both, and as they do, they will arrive at different stages of true knowledge.

Submission is necessary and sufficient to know God truly and to begin the journey of coming to know Him progressively. Many things are necessary for righteous hearing, such as critical thinking and careful gathering of information (good rational extrapolation and good empirical judgment). Both are necessary in a Christian understanding of the glory of God, by hearing His declarations through creation and in Scripture.

However, excellent logical skill and acute powers of observation are not sufficient for knowing God or His world. Knowing God and His world are inseparable. To know God, we must know Him through His creation because it is through the creation that God reveals Himself to us. To know the creation, we must know God because the creation is His personal and self-revealing speech. Therefore, unless we submit ourselves (our data gathering and reasoning selves) to God and to the authority of His speech, then we know neither God nor His world.”[1]

[1] Ostella, R. (2007). Epistemic Circularity, Christian Virtue, and Truth. In R. A. Morey (Ed.), Journal of Biblical Apologetics: Volume 10 (R. A. Morey, Ed.) (70–72). Orange, CA: California Biblical University and Seminary.

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