Chapter

The Incarnational Narrative as Historical: Grounds for Belief

C. Stephen Evans

in The Historical Christ and the Jesus of Faith

Published in print April 1996 | ISBN: 9780198263975
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600579 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/019826397X.003.0011
 The Incarnational Narrative as Historical: Grounds for Belief

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The last chapter looked at two-stage evidentialist apologetics, and examined some of the problems that face this approach to the incarnational narrative. Although it was argued that these problems do not mean that an evidentialist argument cannot be effective, they do provide good reason to examine an alternative theological account, one that lays stress on our knowledge of the historical Jesus as made possible through the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit, and makes evidence less central to the story. This alternative to the standard apologetic approach to incarnational knowledge is called here the Reformed account, since it is seen most clearly and prominently in the works of Protestant, and especially Reformed, theologians. For Reformed thinkers the historical knowledge that can be part of saving faith is derived from the Bible, and thus, the question of how we have such knowledge is basically the question of how we can know the Bible is the reliable revelation from God it is claimed to be by the Church; the Reformed creeds assert unanimously that this knowledge is due to the witness of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. The different sections of the chapter are: the Reformed emphasis on the testimony of the Holy Spirit; the epistemology of the Reformed account; epistemology supernaturalized; how can one know that a belief has a truth-conducive ground?; criteria for recognizing the work of the spirit; and, problems with the Reformed account.

Keywords: belief; Bible; epistemology; evidentialist apologetics; Holy Spirit; incarnational narrative; knowledge; Reformed approach; Reformed theology; testimony of the Holy Spirit

Chapter.  9834 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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