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In my ongoing study of epistemology -- how we know what we know -- I was reading some comments by a "Clarkian" (a person who follows Gordon Clark's epistemological model), who was arguing that a phrase such as "the sky is blue" is an axiom that can neither be proven or disproved. He argues against the classic Christian epistemology which starts with "God is", or "God exists" hence the entire point of the "I AM THAT I AM" statement from God when Moses asked Him his name in Ex 3:14.
Couple this with Romans 1:20 which says:
We see that God is making the case that He is the AXIOM.
By the “Scripturalist Package” I mean the combination of the following theses about knowledge: Scripturalism, infallibilism, internalism, and occasionalism. These ideas will be defined below.
The following points are a simplification and a summary of many points made in my original Response. For further documentation and a more complete statement of the argument, please see that Response.
The entry in the online dictionary, dictionary.com defines the word axiom as:
Clarkianism in summary, is the teaching by theologian Gordon Clark (1902-1985) that the presupposition or starting point of Christian theology is the axiom:
This specific reference to Clark's axiom is a quote of an address he gave while president of the Evangelical Theological Society. The fuller axiom and its conclusions are, "The Bible is the Word of God written. Therefore the conclusion is the Bible is inerrant. God cannot lie."
Now, the reason this axiom is actually irrelevant is because it doesn't really start in the correct place. Let us examine.
Most of the time you will hear a Christian witness or evangelize an unbeliever by saying something like "Jesus died for you", or "Jesus has a wonderful plan for your life", or "If you died today are you certain where you will spend eternity?"
Is this how we are supposed to witness? Is this how we see the apostles doing it in the Bible?
Perhaps of all places in the Bible, Acts 17:16-34 is the most relevant example to our modern, agnostic world. In the account, we see Paul witnessing to Greek unbelievers. Notice how he uses what they already believe or acknowledge.
Back in the late 1980s I took a philosophy course at a local college. The text book was by Colin Brown, a professor of systematic theology & dean of the Center for Advanced Theological Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary. The book is called, Philosophy & The Christian Faith.
The book is a good overview of the philosophical & Christian confluence from the Middle Ages forward. But what I wanted to mention as I have been re-reading this book is what Brown says about the German theologian, Karl Barth. Barth's background makes him admirable on many levels, not least of which was his early rejection of Nazism.
Liberal politicians in America are known for spinning history in a manner that helps their agenda. For example, the Democratic Party holds itself up as the champion of minorities, yet historically this is not true. After the Civil War, the Republican led government intended to integrate blacks into the general American society. This effort was called "Reconstructionism".
In the great debate of how we know what we know, or in theology it is called epistemology comes the question about starting points or "presuppositions".
Whether we like or not, we ALL have a presupposition or starting point when it comes to belief...belief in anything, be it religious or scientific. These presuppositions or assumptions often determine our unfolding conclusions or "logic" to next steps.
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