Presuppositionalists in the Dock

Internet gadfly, Jacob Brunton, believes presuppositional apologetics is maddening idiocy and any sound-minded believer who thinks presuppositionally and utilizes the methodology is a fool. He has taken to both Facebook and Twitter to rail against presuppers like myself.

Before we begin with a response to his missives, let’s remind ourselves of the main presup distinctives.

– Presuppositionalism desires to reform apologetic methodology. An apologetic approach that honors the sovereignty of God in salvation and the self-attesting nature of Scripture. It also focuses in upon the antithesis between believing and unbelieving thinking and philosophical worldviews. It then structures the Christian engagement with unbelievers according to a biblical framework. Classicists, like Jacob, will say they hold to the sovereignty of God in salvation, but they typically reject the self-attesting nature of Scripture and operate from the notion that proofs and evidence can be self-authenticating, as well as reasonably considered by unbelievers.

– The Christian begins his defense of the faith by setting apart Christ as Lord (1 Peter 3:15). He is the ultimate authority over our reasoning, argumentation, and confrontation with the unbelieving world.

– The Christian also acknowledges the fact of fundamental presuppositions. What would be considered elementary, unquestioned assumptions and axioms, govern the thinking, opinions, personal beliefs, and the ultimate heart commitments of every person.

– John Frame notes in his book analyzing Van Til’s theology, that man’s ultimate heart commitment, “plays an important role in our knowledge. It determines our ultimate criteria of truth and falsity, right and wrong. As long as we consistently maintain our ultimate commitment, we cannot accept anything as true or right that conflicts with that commitment.” [Cornelius Van Til: An Analysis of His Thought, 136].

Robert Reymond writes in his systematic theology that the word “presupposition” can be used both objectively and subjectively. When used objectively, “it refers to the actual transcendental foundation of universal meaning and intelligibility, namely, the triune God.” When the word is used subjectively, “it refers to a person’s most basic, personal heart commitment, this commitment having (1) the greatest authority in one’s thinking, being the least negotiable belief in one’s network of beliefs, and (2) the highest immunity to revision.” [New Systematic Theology, 145]

– With all of that in mind, a Christian’s apologetic and evangelistic encounter involves challenging an unbeliever’s ultimate heart commitments and presuppositions with the truth of Scripture. There is a trust in the work of the Holy Spirit to enlighten the mind of the unbeliever so that he will recognize his sinful rebellion against God, relinquish his commitments/presuppositions that stand in defiance of his creator, and bring his every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

Presuppositionalists don’t tend to bother with trying to “prove” the truth claims of Christianity or the existence of God with various philosophical arguments and evidences. It’s not that they won’t engage in philosophical arguments or utilize evidence, for they certainly will. They just recognize what the Scriptures tell us about the nature of  mankind: that men have an innate knowledge of God (see Romans 1:18ff) and they are merely suppressing that knowledge, excusing it away. The issue is not that the unbeliever has a lack of compelling evidence or never heard persuasive philosophical arguments. It’s that unbelievers refuse to believe any evidence or philosophical arguments that contradict those non-negotiable heart commitments, and according to Scripture, those heart commitments are at enmity with God and hate anything to do with God. Until those heart commitments are overcome and defeated supernaturally, no presentation of any evidence reasonably presented will convince an unbeliever of the truth claims of Christianity.

The Thomist/classicist like Jacob don’t agree with that assessment of fallen men. The way presuppositionalists engage with unbelievers is considered inconsistent, confusing, irrational, and a whole lot of other similar descriptors. Hence his objection which I will now turn.

He lays out a summation of his complaint in a seven part tweet thread. Let me consider them in turn.

Here is the objection to the self-sufficiency of Scripture. The classicist insists that Christians can never use Scripture to prove the claims of Scripture, because that’s circular reasoning or some such nonsense. God doesn’t seem to agree with that notion, however. Scripture is a source of knowledge, because God declares it to be a source of knowledge. The entirety of Psalm 119, for example, is a declaration of Scripture being a source of knowledge. Just do a search of the word “truth” in Scripture and note how is is synonymous with Scripture itself.

Well, what about stuff the Bible never speaks to? Like what exactly? Rarely are genuine examples provided. How about Neanderthals? The Bible doesn’t say a word about Neanderthals. Okay, I’d agree. But I do know that Scripture tells us Adam and Eve were the first living humans on earth, that they did not evolve from some common ancestor between modern humans and Neanderthals, and it is denies the fundamental theology of sin and man when we try to speculate how we can harmonize modern day secular paleoanthropological interpretations of Neanderthals with the Bible like the majority of classicist apologetic ministries attempt to do. See Reasons to Believe, for instance.

We include general revelation? General revelation is usually understood to be the “evidences” an unbeliever can reasonably consider. He seriously seems to be under the impression that presuppositionaists never consider general revelation. If that’s the case, it’s a terrifically ignorant claim and one of the reasons why, as we will see in a moment, presuppositionalists say people like Jacob misrepresent them.

Van Til had a robust theology of general revelation. He understood general revelation to be what the Christian apologist appeals to when talking with unbelievers. He wrote about it extensively in his works. The disagreement presuppositionalists have with classicists regarding general revelation is how it is related to the unbeliever. Presuppositionalists believe, as the Bible tells us, that general revelation is misunderstood by unbelievers and they use it to suppress their knowledge of God rather than submit to him. It does not stand alone as self-sufficient to explain God, but works in tandem with the explanatory grid of special revelation.

The fact of the matter is that classicists DO compromise the doctrine of total depravity. Well, certainly those who claim to be Calvinistic and Reformed in their soteriology. What is the extent of “total” in the mind of the classicist? How total is total? I get the impression that they compartmentalize man. Man is fallen; but his reasoning ability is left untouched or intact so that he makes rational and reasonable evaluations of evidence, proofs, arguments, etc, and forms correct conclusions.

But the Bible says that man’s mind, the organ for his reasoning capacity, is severely impacted by sin. For instance,

– Romans 8:7 states that “the mind set on the flesh (all fallen men without exception) is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so.” “Not able” has the idea of incapable.

– Second Corinthians 4:4 states “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ.”

– Ephesians 4:17, 18 states that the gentiles, who would be all the world of men not Jewish by birth, walk with futile minds and their understanding, you know, their reasoning ability, is darkened.

– Paul reminds the Colossians in 1:21 how they were once “hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds.”

– Paul warns Timothy in 6:5 of “men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth” who will stir up all sorts of strife in the church. The word for depraved can have the meaning of disabled, not working.

– Paul tells Timothy in his last letter to him, 2 Timothy 3:7,8 about the difficult times coming in the last days when men with depraved minds will oppose the truth. Not only are they morally corrupted, but they are marked as ones who are always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Just with that smattering of verses, the Bible is telling us that fallen, unregenerate men CANNOT reason rightly and Christians would be foolish to think they are capable of doing so. So we are not confusing soteriology with epistemology because the two concepts are intertwined with each other when it comes to men thinking and reasoning rightly about their lives and the world they live in. The world God created and endues with meaning.

Of course every epistemic standard is presupposed. Any so-called “epistemic standard” has to exist outside ourselves. Something greater has to be informing what it is that we know and establishing the rules that carries one to that knowledge.There is one, absolute, authoritative epistemic standard, and that is God revealed in Scripture. He is not arbitrary (I mean, God is God for crying out loud!) and it is not arbitrary, or “postmodern,” to declare that to an individual in an apologetic encounter.

Jacob likes to boast that he has these defeaters against presuppositionalism by asserting that they confuse philosophical categories and the like. His big one he will throw out is that presuppositionalists confuse metaphysics, philosophy that attempts to understand and explain being, with epistemology, philosophies that theorize about knowledge and systems of knowing. What he refuses to acknowledge is that those two philosophies are inextricably bound together. Only metaphysical beings with minds (metaphysics) can seek knowledge (epistemology). And metaphysical “first principles” must be in place in order to know them and how exactly do we know we are knowing about those first principles rightly? Honestly, this is a conundrum that has been mocking men for thousands of years. Ultimately, one has to take their understanding of those categories by faith (*cough* presuppositionally *cough*) just like Jacob is doing here.

Or virtue signalling by throwing down some fancy-smancy philosophical words to sound, like, really smart. Accusations of misrepresenting presuppositionalism will only continue if he raises these kind of sloppy objections and though he insists he has read the basic presuppositional literature, he gives no indication of actually engaging it.

Apologetics is not only a defense of the Christian faith against all the detractors, but it is meant to focus on evangelism. While Jacob may roll his eyes and accuse me of inconsistency, being postmodern, or whatnot, I will maintain my simple-mind ways of preaching the Word of God when I do apologetics. I don’t believe I have to prove it’s authenticity to anyone (and I am happy to answer questions if asked) and I am not ashamed of miracles, or telling someone I believe something by faith, or otherwise appearing foolish before a group of chortling Youtube skeptics. It is the preaching of the Word of God alone that God has promised will tear down loft thoughts raised against God and destroy the wisdom of this world.

Ken Ham vs. the SES Apologetic

I wanted to spend a few moments interacting with this article over at the Southern Evangelical Seminary blog,

Does Ken Ham’s Defense Biblical Authority Lead to Biblical Skepticism?

It’s an article written by my past internet foil, Adam Tucker. He has provided us with a helpful treatise expaining the methodology behind how SES teaches apologetic engagement. He excellently contrasts a classical/Thomist approach to apologetics from a presuppositional/Bible-based one that I believe lends us insight for sharpening our apologetic focus.

Bear with me, this is gonna be a long one

A Little Background

Now the first thing one is probably wondering about is what exactly does Ken Ham have to do with all of this. Well, since about 2012, folks over at Southern Evangelical Seminary have expressed dismay at Ken Ham’s presentations defending biblical creationism. The first real vocal critic was SES professor, Richard Howe, who wrote an emotional critique of a talk he heard Ken Ham give at a church in his area. I wrote a response to Howe’s article that can be read HERE.

His critique eventually grew into a written journal dialogue between him and Jason Lisle who now operates the Bible Science Institute. A discussion on creation was also held at the 2013 SES apologetic conference between Howe, Lisle, and Scott Oliphant, and eventually a discussion between Howe and Ham at the 2017 SES apologetic conference.

The main complaint against Ham is the manner he goes about defending the historicity of Genesis and his young earth views. If you hear his talks or read the literature of Answers in Genesis, the creation ministry founded by Ham, his talking points remain consistent. In sum:

We must begin with Scripture as our starting point for understanding origins. Any attempt with revising the straightforward interpretation of the creation week from Genesis with the constructs of Darwinian evolution or deep time ideas is reading man’s interpretations of the world onto Scripture. Men, according to Scripture, are fallen and their interpretations are fallible. Thus, we allow the revelation of Scripture to inform and shape our interpretation of the world and the history of it’s origins, and we should never allow man’s fallible interpretations of the world apart from Scripture shape our reading of Genesis.

Adam insists Ham’s apologetic “starting point” ultimately spirals into skepticism. After he lays out some of Ham’s main arguments from his written articles, fundraising letters, and various talks, Adam summarizes his apologetic methodology,

I think the reader is intelligent enough to recognize the pattern of thought here. It seems Mr. Ham’s position is that because of our fallen state, introducing outside ideas, or man’s word, into the mix of our interpretation of God’s Word ultimately undermines biblical authority. The problem is that there are at least two reasons why this position actually leads to biblical skepticism instead.

He the goes on to explain what he means by skepticism by framing his critique around those two reasons he mentions. Let me outline each one in turn.

First, he says Ham has a “knowledge problem.” By that he means when Ham uses such descriptions as “worldview,” “worldview neutral,” “autonomous human reasoning” or says everyone has the same evidence and that evidence must be interpreted based on a belief system, he is essentially contradicting himself. He is in fact bringing human reasoning to bear upon the Bible, Ken Ham’s reasoning. That’s because none of those concepts, worldviews, autonomous reasoning, etc., are directly talked about in Scripture.

Additionally, if it is universally true that all evidence is interpreted according to one’s specific worldview as Ham insists, then that fact is true across the entire spectrum of human worldviews making that fact “worldview neutral.” That in turn makes his position false. Laws of logic, Adam, goes on to note, are the same across ALL worldviews. They don’t differ from one culture to the next, and that again falsifies Ham’s position. He also asks how Ham knows the Bible is the starting point and not the Quran or the Book of Mormon. He has to make that determination from outside the Bible, so his starting point begins elsewhere, not from Scripture.

He goes on to write that the Bible is a part of the very reality that Ham claims one cannot know apart from Scripture. That view creates a glaring inconsistency, because as Adam asks, “If all of my thinking is skewed by my “fallen” and “fallible” worldview, how can I in principle “let God speak to me to the best of my ability to not try to impose my ideas on Scripture”?”  In other words, a person has to properly understand a specific part of our reality, the BIble, before having a starting point for properly understanding any other part of reality. That, Adam insists, is “a contradiction and rules out the possibility of properly understanding anything!”

Secondly, Ham has an interpretation problem. While it is true that Ken Ham employs the grammatical-historical hermeneutic for interpreting the Bible, his problem is that the Bible nowhere teaches that interpretive method. Ham is using the right hermeneutic, but he came to the use of that hermeneutic apart from Scripture. In other words, he is again starting with “man’s ideas” to read the Bible, not the Bible itself. Additionally, the Bible Ken Ham uses is translated into English from Hebrew and Greek. How does he know the language scholars translated it correctly? In fact, in his talks, he often appeals to what Hebrew scholars say about the Hebrew in Genesis 1 to defend his hermeneutic. Is he not trusting in man’s words?

Moreover, why exactly is Ken Ham’s interpretation the correct one? Adam points out that he says in his talks that anyone can read the Genesis account and plainly see that it speaks of creation happening in six days. But if that is true, why are there so many different interpretations of not only Genesis, but other biblical doctrines like those who deny the deity of Christ or affirm open theism? Those various groups are claiming they are plainly reading the Bible to draw their conclusions. With all those different interpretations, why is Ham’s the right one? Especially if everyone is fallen, as he says, and cannot trust their human senses to know things about the history of the physical world.

What can we say about Adam’s critique?

First, there is a huge failure with understanding what Ken Ham is saying. The most significant problem with Adam’s article is he fails to actually engage with what it is Ham is saying. He is providing a biblical defense of young earth creationism. When he says “we don’t bring man’s autonomous reasoning to Scripture” or take “man’s words and add them to Scripture,” he is NOT saying there is nothing of value outside of Scripture human beings can learn that helps us understand the Bible. Rather, his point is that Genesis chapter one clearly states that God created the known universe, the earth, and all life contained with in it in six days. The reason Ham’s says that is because the Bible says that. The language of the text is unambiguous. Hence, if we, as Christians believe the Scripture is our ultimate authority, we believe what it says regarding origins. We allow it to direct our understanding of origin history and how we evaluate the scientific evidence.

What Ham is arguing against are those individuals, especially Christians, who are influenced by Darwinian deep-time views of earth’s origin history (earth came into existence 4 billion years ago after a big bang event several billions years before that) that allow those views to reread the creation narrative of Genesis. Instead of Genesis revealing God creating everything over the course of six days and then resting on the seventh day, our understanding of a week, Sunday through Saturday, those individuals influenced by deep-time insist that Genesis must be reinterpreted. The creation week is something of a theological tract explaining God’s purpose of redemption, or a polemic against ANE mythology, or whatever, rather than an historical narrative providing real, historical information about the origin of the earth. Ken Ham is essentially upholding article 12 (XII) of the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy which reads,

We affirm that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit.

 

We deny that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science. We further deny that scientific hypotheses about earth history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood.

He is also affirming what is written in the Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics under article 19 (XIX) and article 22 (XXII) that denies the teaching of creation in Genesis can be overthrown by “scientific hypothesis,” which is another way of saying “Man’s autonomous reasoning.”

Second, he misunderstands Bahnsen’s distinction between the knowledge of sinners and the saved. Adam cites two quotes on logic from Greg Bahnsen’s posthumous work, Presuppositional Apologetics: Stated and Defended for the purpose of demonstrating that Ham creates a false dichotomy between what fallen men know and what the Christian knows. He implies that Ham, following Van Til, Bahnsen, and other presuppositional apologists, is saying fallen men cannot truly know reality with their senses. Adam asks, “Why can man not trust his senses to reveal truths about the creation timeline?” The answer, according to Ham and Bahnsen, is that the minds of men are fallen and the conclusions they draw with their knowledge cannot be trusted.

Consider the fuller context of what Bahnsen wrote,

Even though the Christian and the non-Christian have the facts of the objective world in common, they have radically divergent interpretations of them. For the Christian all facts are pre-interpreted by God, created by God, and revelatory of God; they must be handled in such a way that glory is brought to God. But the non-Christian views these facts as meaningfully interpreted only by his own mind, as uncreated and free from God’s control, as ambiguous and contingent; he uses them to bring glory to man. Hence the Christian and non-Christian have different interpretative schemes.

Even when the believer and unbeliever share the same rules of logical inference, they nevertheless can be said to have different “logics.” For the believer and unbeliever differ as to the use, significance, ground, and authority of these rules; basically one subordinates logic to God while the other does not. [emphasis mine]

If one reads the entire section from his book, Bahnsen is demonstrating that all men without exception evaluate any factual evidence according to a set of preconditions concerning how they view the world. The scientific materialist for example, will never consider the possibility of the supernatural, because in his mind, the supernatural doesn’t exist. The idea of a miraculously created world, or even a resurrected man, is dismissed out of hand as fantasy and not worthy of serious thought. Whereas the Christian believes the supernatural does exist, because God has provided revelation telling us it does, so he accepts the historicity of a miraculously created earth and the resurrection of Jesus as really happening.

So neither Bahnsen, nor Ham, is saying fallen men can never learn things about reality using their senses. Fallen men do live in God’s created world and they bear the image and likeness of God, which means all men are designed to learn things using their senses. Rather, the conclusions they draw from their learning is often skewed, or mistaken, and many times untrustworthy, especially when it comes to so-called evidence regarding origins, mankind, and history. The fallen man, with the use of all his senses, will only default to a Darwinian model and deep time when it comes to evaluating any such evidence, because he is convinced his senses is telling him the truth about it. The believer, on the other hand, while using his senses to gain knowledge, submits that knowledge to what he knows is absolutely true regarding God’s revelation contained in Scripture. That’s why Ham says we start with Scripture.

Third, he has a deficient anthropology. A number of times throughout his article, Adam chides Ken Ham for his distinguishing between the thinking of “fallen” men, those men who are unregenerate, and the thinking of men who are regenerated. The general consensus among classic, Thomist apologists, what is advocated and practiced at SES, is that even though man is fallen into sin, his fallenness is merely moral and has no direct influence on his rational faculties. In other words, fallen men are in bondage to sinful desires and are morally corrupt, but their mental abilities that gather information with their human senses can draw accurate and honest conclusions about that evidence.

But is such a dichotomy within human nature biblical? As Christians, we should gather our understanding about humanity from the very One who created us and has left us a lengthy record documenting mankind’s interactions with both his Creator and each other. When we evaluate Scripture, the Bible doesn’t paint for us a picture of men who are bifurcated into a morally corrupted person, but has a mind freed from the taint of sin allowing him to make sound judgments about the evidence they gather with their senses. Certainly, men are created in the image of God. He has created them with their sense organs to interact with the world. However, that doesn’t mean their minds are freed from sin.

The Scripture, especially the NT, frequently speaks of the bondage that traps the mind of men so that they corrupt any use their natural senses may provide them. Man is said to have a “depraved mind” (Romans 1:28), a mind imprisoned by “law of sin” (Romans 7:23), a mind “set on the flesh” (Romans 8:6,7), minds that are satanically blinded (2 Corinthians 4:4), minds that indulged the desires of the flesh (Ephesians 2:3), and minds hostile to God that engage in evil deeds (Colossians 1:21). Additionally, Paul describes spiritual warfare as destroying speculations and those lofty things raised up against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:4,5). In other words, areas of the mind that are fed by our senses.

Further, salvation brings renewal of mind (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:23, Colossians 3:10). That means a fallen man, while he may have a general understanding of reality with his senses, is most certainly deceived, and operates in a state of hostility toward God causing his five senses to serve his fundamental rebellion against God. Sinners need regeneration in order to accurately interact with God’s world so that his sense carry him to the correct conclusions about reality. For if our minds were untainted by sin, then there would be no need for the call to “renew our minds.”

Fourth, the relegation of Scripture to a secondary importance. A truly frustrating area with Adam’s article was the dismissive approach to the use of Scripture as the primary means in apologetic engagement. This has been a sticking point when I have exchanged responses with him on apologetic matters in the past. One thing that can be said about Ken Ham is that he consistently appeals to the authority of Scripture when he reasons with unbelievers and defends the faith. He doesn’t try to prove the reliability of Scripture first, but just presents it as truth whether or not the person believes it or not. Though I am sure Adam, and others who utilize the SES apologetic, maintain a high view of Scripture, the tone presented in his article leaves the reader wondering if that is really the case.

For instance, one reason he states as to why we can never start with God’s Word is because there are so many various interpretations of the Bible. Why is Ken Ham so certain HIS interpretation is the right one? Adam points out how open theist heretics like Greg Boyd read the Bible but see passages that talk about God changing His mind and so conclude that God doesn’t know the future. And other cultic groups read passages that speak of God having eyes, or arms, and even wings and conclude God is made up of physical parts. Even passages that tell of the “four corners of the earth” imply the earth is square or flat. So because of all those confusing views on Scripture, no one can genuinely start with the Bible because we don’t know which view is the right one.

That sort of petty reasoning, however, generates as much skepticism as Adam accuses Ken Ham of causing. He is essentially saying that understanding the Bible is a big toss up because there are so many possible interpretations no one person can really say he has the correct view. Why even bother using the Bible to begin with if it has such potential for confusion.

Again, no one is saying we can’t use teachers or learn from the expertise of the translators of biblical languages. However, when God gave the Scriptures, He did so with the intent of being understood. He made Revelation clear. Of course there are metaphors, types, analogy, and all the other areas of grammar all human language utilizes found in the Bible. Moreover, a consistent and careful study of Scripture, empowered by an unction from the Holy Spirit, is definitely necessary to cut the meaning of Scripture straight (2 Timothy 3:14-15).

However, the fact that God made man in his image and in his likeness means He created man to communicate not only with Him, but with each other. Human language, logic, grammar, and the rules of hermeneutics (interpreting written material secular or religious) was hardwired into humanity at man’s creation, and that ability exists in all people today. It had to be or men couldn’t even begin to communicate with each other, reason with each other, understand even how to make sense of what it is their senses sense.

How Exactly Do Men Know Stuff?

What is missing in Adam’s critique is what we do know about reality. That being, lost, fallen men, even though many of them may be smart and leading experts in various fields of study, are by nature cut off from their Creator because they are born in sin. That is what Scripture proclaims AND it is what we see played out in everyday society. Their fallenness has a debilitating effect upon their rational faculties, particularly when they draw conclusion about the reality they are exploring.

Take for instance genetic researchers discovering that  humans share Neanderthal DNA. The fallen man, using his autonomous reasoning and starting with his anti-supernatural worldview, boldly shouts that this is proof men share common evolutionary traits with Neanderthals. Evolutionary theory is proven. Biologos and other theistic evolutionary “ministries,” insist the evidence is overwhelming and Christians must reinterpret the Bible so as to take this evidence into consideration. Christians run the risk of creating stumbling blocks before unbelievers if they don’t, even if it means overturning preciously held traditions like inerrancy and biblical creationism in 6 days like Answers in Genesis teaches. The Christian, on the other hand, like Ken Ham, allows what Scripture says about creation to inform his reasoning. He takes the same evidence and draws the conclusion that rather than Neanderthals being some lost evolutionary link in humanity’s past, insist that evidence only proves Neanderthals were humans. [By the way, I wrote an article for Creation Ministries addressing the very issue how such compromise is a disaster for apologetic ministries – SEE HERE].

Fallen men draw those conclusions about various areas of reality apart from God’s Revelation, apart from the power of the Gospel to set men’s minds to think rightly. And while people, both saved and fallen, may derive benefit from their work due in part to a shared general grace everyone experiences from one degree to another because they live in God’s world, that work is often times mistaken and directs us in the wrong way to think about the reality. As Christians, we do want to think correctly about reality, but that only comes in it’s purest form from a mind set free from sin, who filters what he gathers with his senses through the starting point of God’s Word and our ultimate authority.