Faithful Reason and Reasonable Faith

Feb 19, 2020 by

by Jay Bruce, The Gospel Coalition:

Surely you’ve heard this exchange (or been a part of it yourself):

Skeptic: The Christian faith doesn’t make sense. It’s just not reasonable.

Christian: But that’s the thing. It’s not supposed to be reasonable. You have to take it all on faith!

Both the skeptic and the Christian are mistaken. Faith is more than mere intellectual assent, but it’s not less. If a Christian thinks his faith is supposed to be unreasonable, then he doesn’t understand what he’s saying. The doctrine of atonement isn’t put forward as a spontaneous overflow of powerful feeling, but as the clear teaching of Scripture. But the skeptic isn’t right, either. Christianity is the worship of the one true God, and the faith is reasonable not because some subset of human inquiry has declared it to be true but because God is himself supremely reasonable.

Many Christians should think more carefully about the relationship between faith and reason. When we exercise our reason, we sharpen and clarify our beliefs. The Westminster Confession of Faith, for example, talks about deducing beliefs “by good and necessary consequence” from what is explicitly stated in Scripture. That’s not the language of emotion but the language of logic.

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