Thursday, February 16, 2012

Special versus general revelation

I am about to start teaching a course on apologetics at our church. We will be working through material from the Apologetics unit of the Moore College Correspondence Course. It gives a nice balanced and comprehensive overview of the subject.

An over-riding theme/issue is finding the appropriate relative weight  or value to give to special revelation and general revelation. The latter concerns the idea that God can be found (or has revealed himself) through nature, human conscience, and reason. Special revelation concerns God being revealed through specific events, people, and documents (e.g., miracles, prophets, Jesus Christ, and the Bible).

The relative weight given to special and general revelation affects the type of apologetic strategy (experiential, evidential, or pre-suppositional) favoured, the balance of faith versus reason, and the use of arguments for the existence of God.

Important passages to examine about what the appropriate weight is include Psalm 19, 1 Corinthians 1 and Romans 1. I find it fascinating that different people can read these passages and come to quite different conclusions about the relative importance of special and general revelation.

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