THE INTUITIVE CONTRADICTORY MINDSET OF THE POST-CRITICAL CHRISTIAN

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Based upon Paul’s argument in Romans 1 and 2 for what is called sensus divinitatis or the sixth sense which all mankind possesses recognizing God as the source of all things, we see in this passage that though mankind intuitively knows this truth, they do not understand it and change the glory of the incorruptible God into idols, an image made like to corruptible man. This is the internal tension all men inescapably live with. This tension is so real to them that God says this knowledge of God as Creator leaves them without excuse in soteriological matters. Part of this intuitive knowledge in Romans 2 is the “works of the law written on their hearts.” That is, God’s moral standard is likewise inherently part of what it means to be human, the conscience the arbitrator of this internal standard in their lives. In summary, all men are religious creatures with, as C.S. Lewis writes, a God-shaped void that only Christ can fill.

Based on the inherent nature of man, “Is it intuitively contradictory for a follower of Christ to believe that God’s written Word is fallible?” Can a believer, without internal tension and synchronically say “I believe the Bible is God’s Word” and “I believe the Bible is fallible.” For the unregenerate the tension between knowledge of God and idolatry is a constant. For the believer, however, this tension has been removed by regeneration. The unregenerate, we read “hold the truth in unrighteousness” while the believer through the new birth by faith holds the truth in righteousness relieving the inherent tension of their once unregenerate mind. The believer now possesses an inherent sympathy toward God’s truth both as Creator and Redeemer, removing the tension and unifying the sensus divinitatis and testimony of the conscience with the revealed truth of Scripture.

What then are we to make of believers, who by regeneration should have an intrinsic sympathy and belief in the infallibility of Scripture who at the same time hold the truth of God in an unrighteous manner, that is, they reject its infallibility? It is this tension which describes the intuitive contradictory mindset of post-critical Christians. Once this intuitive contradictory mindset is actuated, such ambivalence is unavoidable because it resides at the very core of the person as an intricate element of their humanity. For the unregenerate this tension leads to idolatry, reprobation, and the Romans 1 vice list. For the believer this same tension leads to the weakness of syncretism and a fundamental lack of Spiritual power in their lives. It is impossible to say, “Thus saith the Lord,” while also agreeing that there are textual questions regarding the validity of the words, “Thus saith the Lord.”

Albeit, for the believer, this profound ambivalence can be quickly resolved by the rejection of synchronism as Spiritually destructive and a renewed commitment to hold the truth in righteousness; to treat the revealed truth of God, both General and Special in a manner consistent with God’s Word. If, however, this tension is allowed to persist it would be a manifestation of the power of the passion to overwhelm and control the regenerated reason. If for some reason other than submission to the Spirit, He who guides the believer into all truth, the passion, feeding the tension, is driving the will, inordinate desire rather than reason confirms the acceptance of two opposites as valid. So though regenerated, the believer acts in precisely the same manner as the unregenerate. Though they know the truth and are culpable for their knowledge of the truth, they do not understand the truth. When they read, “Thus saith the Lord,” they do not know what “Thus saith the Lord” means. Rather, what they call the truth is a manifestation of their minds as a non-stop factory of idols. Thus, while knowing and saying “Thus saith the Lord” their contradictory mindset will not allow them to understand what they are reading.

The overwhelming tension of holding two contradictory perceptions as valid feeds an irrational mindset and emotional instability that seeps into every sphere of life – home, church, government. Broken homes and marriages, feckless churches, and voting for governmental wickedness all characterize the post-critical Christian bound to this intuitive contradictory mindset. They know what the Scriptures say but they do not understand the Scripture.

When this mindset is embraced by the Church at large, historically, it takes 1,000 years to resolve the tension. Because the believer can point positively to the knowing element of syncretism, the negative not understanding is avoided and thus a pathetic apologetic is created to persist in and validate this contradiction – The Scripture is God’s Word, and the Scripture is fallible. Willing repentance, turning to the Holy Spirit as the true Teacher, and accepting the Scriptures as infallible only happened after it endured a pruning or persecution. This short entry does not end on a high note. Indeed, this intuitive, contradictory mindset is so embedded in the post-critical Christian only a providential act of God suited to purify the Church will suffice, and for this purifying should be our prayer.

Published by Dr. Peter Van Kleeck, Sr.

Dr. Peter William Van Kleeck, Sr. : B.A., Grand Rapids Baptist College, 1986; M.A.R., Westminster Theological Seminary, 1990; Th.M., Calvin Theological Seminary, 1998; D. Min, Bob Jones University, 2013. Dr. Van Kleeck was formerly the Director of the Institute for Biblical Textual Studies, Grand Rapids, MI, (1990-1994) lecturing, researching and writing in the defense of the Masoretic Hebrew text, Greek Received Text and King James Bible. His published works include, "Fundamentalism’s Folly?: A Bible Version Debate Case Study" (Grand Rapids: Institute for Biblical Textual Studies, 1998); “We have seen the future and we are not in it,” Trinity Review, (Mar. 99); “Andrew Willet (1562-1621: Reformed Interpretation of Scripture,” The Banner of Truth, (Mar. 99); "A Primer for the Public Preaching of the Song of Songs" (Outskirts Press, 2015). Dr. Van Kleeck is the pastor of the Providence Baptist Church in Manassas, VA where he has ministered for the past twenty-one years. He is married to his wife of 43 years, Annette, and has three married sons, one daughter and eighteen grandchildren.

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