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Vern Poythress – Why Autonomous Reasoning Isn’t Enough

7 May

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As part of this process [committing to become followers of Christ], they see that Christ testifies to the divine authority of the Old Testament, and indirectly to the New Testament, because Christ authoritatively commissioned the apostles as witnesses (Acts 1:8). So their view of the Bible changes. They begin to use the Bible’s instruction rather than autonomous judgment as their ultimate guide. Whether the process is long or short, we can see a marked difference between the beginning and the end: they were formerly in rebellion, and now they have been reconciled to God through Christ.

But according to the Bible no one is neutral in the process. We are all by nature rebels against God and we do not want to submit. The Bible itself indicates that the heart of the difficulty is not in the alleged doubtful character of the evidence presented in the Bible (the evidence for the resurrection of Christ is particularly pertinent), but in the doubtful or rather sinful character of us who read it. Moreover, our sinfulness infects our reasoning, so that we come to the evidence with corrupted standards for judging it. Even if the Bible is genuine, we want to judge it rather than submit to God. We want to remain in charge of our life (autonomy), including the life of reasoning. Our desire for autonomy, and the conception of reasoning that goes with it, need changing. We need to be redeemed by God from our rebellion.


~Vern Poythress~






Logic: A God-Centered Approach to the Foundation of Western Thought (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2013) p. 36-37.

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Other Poythress Quotes at the Cross Quoter