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What Is Your Epistemology?

October 1, 2019 | by: Tim Menez | 0 comments

How-do-you-know-what-you-knowGranted, it’s a big word that is unfamiliar to many. Yet all of us have one. In fact most, if not all of our thoughts and opinions on a variety of issues are based on our personal epistemology.

The dictionary defines this word as the investigation that distinguishes justified belief from opinion. In layman’s terms, epistemology asks the question, “How do you know what you know?”

My friends, it seems we are living in strange and unprecedented times. But regardless of what we observe in the culture, not much has changed, at least in the heart of man.

However, as the culture “progresses,” some of the Christian community are finding it increasingly difficult to engage, maintain, or articulate biblically informed convictions on these highly charged topics of our day. Epistemology is critically important here in helping followers of Jesus moor themselves to objective truth that honors their Savior.

In today’s world we live in a 24 hour news cycle where we are constantly bombarded with messages. Many important issues are being pushed to the forefront of our culture and Christians need to engage them from a biblically informed position.

It is impossible to exhaustively treat even a handful of them in this short article. However, I have chosen to briefly address a few popular topics that Christians are consistently being confronted with. As we strive to find those moorings and attempt to speak into the culture and each other’s lives, may we first find our convictions in doing so with love (Ephesians 4:15), and in a spirit of reverence to Christ, with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). With an understanding that God has granted us everything needed for this life and the next (2 Peter 1:3) let us briefly consider the Scriptures instruction on the following hot topics of our day.

Gender

espite the many gender choices (meaning more than two) provided to users of various social media platforms, there should be no confusion for the believer here. Why is this the case? Because God specifically tells us that He created only two genders, male and female (Genesis 5:2).

The apostle Paul in Romans Ch. 1 provides an explanation for the nonsensical redefining of gender in our day. Since the fall in the garden, mankind has largely been given over to depravity, exchanging truth for falsehood, wisdom for folly. This has carried forward into our time and like other creation worship, gender is now being redefined through the distortion of cultural imagination verses observable reality and God’s settled word. The Bible could not be more clear on this topic and it is a humble heart of faith that recognizes God’s sovereign rescue from this way of thinking (Eph. 2:3).

Marriage

tim-menezThere is probably no relational area more riddled with confusion today than that of marriage. Closely linked to the issue above, marriage finds its true expression in God’s design and purpose for this divine institution (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5, Mark 10:6-9). There is more going on here than just the cultural influence on marriage gender. Every believer needs to understand where marriage came from, what it is meant to reflect, and how the God-designed roles of husband and wife accomplish this.

Again, the Lord provides us instructive guidance through the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 11. There he cites the creation order in Genesis 3 to explain God’s divine purpose of reflecting Christ’s husbandly relationship with His bride, the church, and the harmony within the Triune Godhead. Deeper study here is especially beneficial for the married Christian, but time well invested for any follower of Jesus.

Social Justice

Let me first say that this is a very important issue and believers do have a vital part to play. Helping the helpless and defending the defenseless is a charge no Christian should ignore or take lightly (James 1:27). However, like so many other issues, biblically informed thinking is critical. Providing for the poor and needy, feeding the hungry, and seeking justice for the weak are high callings. But in some cases these well-meaning causes have become another gospel; a gospel of morality that lead to works righteousness.

If we are not careful, the real Gospel can slowly be displaced. Looking to God’s Word provides us balance in these efforts. The realities of depravity that have plagued civilization since the fall of mankind means that suffering will always exist (Romans 8:18-25). There is much we can and should do, but only as a means to an end. In others words, social justice finds its true value when linked to the ultimate goal of bringing the Gospel to bear in the lives of the less fortunate. And to do that we must at some point deliver the Gospel in both word and deed (Colossians 3:17).

Climate Change

At this point you might be thinking, oh come on, do you really expect me to believe the Bible has something to say about the environment too? Well yes, at the very least indirectly. Admittedly, I’m tempted to cite bad scientific hypothesis, inconsistent, if not outright false data, and political motivations behind this movement. However, these should not be the primary reason to disagree that planet earth is going to fall off its axis due to global warming, climate change or whatever term is being thrown around today.

While we have been granted a responsible stewardship of the creation (Genesis 1:28), we must remember who granted it to us; the Creator Himself. God not only spoke creation into existence, but also assures us in His Word that all of creation is all being held together by the One who all things were created through and for (Colossians 1:16-17, Hebrews 1:2-3). As the old jingle says; He’s got the whole world in His hands, which means we don’t. To think otherwise is arrogant.

Like the prior issue of social justice, we have a stewardship to carry out, but we must not play God. The earth is but a speck in His grand creation of the cosmos and it is not going to over-cool, or over-heat for that matter, until, and only until the Creator Himself shakes the foundations once again and the elements melt at His final return (Heb.12:26, 2 Pet. 3:10).

In conclusion my dear friends, we always find it easiest to trust and believe the word of those we’ve experienced the most kindness from. In fact, much of our epistemology can be greatly influenced by our past experiences.

So who has demonstrated more kindness to you than your Savior Jesus? Who, for the joy set before Him endured the shame of the cross for your eternal benefit. (Hebrews 12:2). He gifted you saving faith (Ephesians 2:8), atoned for your sin through His blood (Ephesians 2:13, Col. 2:13-14), granted you all His meritorious accomplishments and righteousness through union with Himself (Ephesians 1:3-14, 1 Corinthians 5:21), and gave you the gift of His abiding Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:12-14). As the old familiar hymn say, He gave His life, what more could He give? Oh how He loves you; Oh how he loves me; Oh how He loves you and me.
 
Whose word could you possibly trust or confide in more than the very lover or your soul?

Tim Menez is a non-vocational Elder at Grace Bible Church

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