This is the continuation of a discussion that began with my post, Paul's ordo salutis.
OAW: Appeal to the Spirit of the living God is an appeal to experience? Well I guess to a hammer everything looks like a nail. This started when you questioned me, “Where does the right worldview come from?” This is basically a question asking, ‘how do we know what we know.’ We are shut up to three basic approaches to this question: reason (with tradition as a subcategory), intuition (mystic approaches), and revelation.
ME: For this comment to make sense in my paradigm, I have to shuffle things a little. Let's say that I am reading the Bible as written revelation. How am I to understand what it says? I will have to reflect and think about it. Thus I cannot know this form of revelation without the use of reason.
Let's say I have a divine encounter in which the Spirit reveals something to me. This is an experience of God. And of course to understand the experience I will need to think about it, which is the use of reason.
In short, there is no revelation that can be appropriated in any individual human's life unless it passes through reason and experience. I will allow for uninterpreted intuitive revelation that has not yet passed through reason.
So I would translate your comment as this claim: "Only God directed reason as God directs it as we contemplate Scripture and experience revelation results in the right worldview."
OAW: I would like to be clear here about how dramatic a difference conversion makes in our thinking and presuppositions. Let’s take a hypothetical Western Pagan Scientist. Before conversion when the Scientist picked up a fossil he looked at it and saw evidence of billions and billions of years driven by godless evolution. Being Elect, our Scientist is regenerated and is given the mind of God and in Sanctification grows in the mind of God. Now our Scientist picks up the same fossil and looking at it see evidence of Creation.
What changed? Well in conversion His beginning point was changed and with his beginning point being changed His Worldview went from the anthropocentrism of Evolution to the Christocentrism of Biblical Christianity.
ME: I'm not clear as to where the actual reasoning process is different in these two. The presuppositions are different, yes. The value placed on various data is different, yes. But in this example I don't see how the logical process is different, the mechanics of reasoning.
OAW: You said that "since among those I would consider genuinely converted we find countless different understandings of the Bible, we are forced to a) deny most of them a true conversion or b) consider the conversion presuppositions very broad indeed."
I would add or we conclude that
c.) Sanctification is a process that requires the continual work of the Spirit of God to bring His people in harmony, and that God has good reasons for not bringing that harmony of thinking about yet.
d.) That there is room for SOME elasticity in a Biblical Worldview. That would fit nicely with the idea that God is both one and many. It would stand to reason that since in God both Unity and Diversity are equally ultimate you would find in Christian World views both a Unity that identifies them all as Christian and a Diversity that accounts for the elasticity.
e.) That an individual’s Theology has not yet caught up to their conversion. I must admit, though that I believe, that many of those who are Christians in an objective sense need to be born again.
ME: This seems coherent, but it amounts to "if a person claiming to be a Christian concludes that the Bible does not contradict evolution and doesn't change his or her mind over the course of his or her life, then it is not likely that s/he is truly elect, truly converted." I do not believe a truly converted heart would be able to maintain this position after sustained exposure over time to truly godly people from diverse Christian groups ranging from Roman Catholics to charimatics even to Seventh Day Adventists.
I don't think we observe a clear "rational sanctification" among Christians, although we should witness a clear increase in the manifestation of love. Your position is coherent, but I don't think it corresponds to reality. It amounts to "anyone who doesn't agree with me isn't elect or isn't as converted as I am." It's a kind of "rational legalism," the Reformed equivalent of the behavioral legalism of the holiness movement.
OAW: when unbelievers get things right in their pagan Worldviews with their microreasoning it is an instance where they have imported Christian Capital into their Worldview in order to get it off the ground. It’s as if they have to sit in God’s lap in order to slap him in the face. Because the unbeliever could only go insane (Nietzsche) or kill themselves (all those who hate Wisdom love death) with a consistent unchristian reasoning and Worldview they import Christian capital into their non-Christian Worldviews. They hence become walking contradictions and it is precisely at those points of contradictions that God honored evangelism can happen.
ME: How is this different from Wesley's idea that God makes possible by his grace the empowerment of the mind (of at least some) to think clearly? My preference would be to say that there is only one right way of thinking for anyone and that we can all fail 1) with regard to our presuppositions, 2) with regard to our knowledge of the data, and 3) with regard to the operation of our logic. Because the Christian's presuppositions are more correct and because we allow for certain data that the non-believer does not (e.g., the possibility of resurrection), the process that issues therefrom is more correct.
OAW: What you do with Romans 1:18-32 or what you do with the reality of the noetic effects of sin? In my humble opinion these seem to be major problems for you.
ME: I'll admit that I don't know what to do with Paul's train of thought here. I think I understand it. Although the invisible things are clearly known by that which is made, humanity has instead turned to make idols, and therefore God has let humans deteriorate into homosexual relationships. There are many passages that I have difficulty knowing what to do with. I think of when Paul assumes that nature teaches everyone that it is a disgrace for a man to have long hair. Or in Galatians 3 when he says that a mediator is not of one yet God is one, and then he asks whether the law was against the promises of God for this reason. Or when 1 Timothy implies that women shouldn't teach men because Eve was deceived and Adam wasn't.
Perhaps it is my unsanctified or unregenerated mind, but it seems to me that sometimes even the arguments of Scripture are incarnated, that is, they are arguments that made sense in the time when the person was inspired to write (Hagar an allegory for the earthly Jerusalem, Gal. 4? Show a cow speckled rods while in childbirth and give birth to spotted cows?). So does every human really consciously choose to reject God and serve four footed beasts? Did all ancient idolaters therefore engage in homosexual activity? Is this the case today?
Maybe I don't understand Paul's train of thought as well as I thought?
OAW: A Christian Worldview-- Epistemology - Revelation – To the law and to the testimonies-- Axiology – God is the ultimate value – All that we do is for His Glory-- Ontology -- Personal creator-- Teleology – Kingdom of God (I prefer postmillennial)Pagan Worldview-- Epistemology – Reason or intuition-- Axiology – Man, individually or corporately, is the ultimate value-- Ontology – Time + Chance + Circumstance / Chaos and Dark night-- Teleology – Utopian or Nihilistic
ME: I smell a Martinite. His schemes always seemed very neat and undertandable. And here I thought God's thoughts would be difficult for me to conceptualize because of how higher His ways are than our ways, and that the complexity of the world was a reflection of His infinite inscrutibility. I'm obviously being somewhat sarcastic here. But seriously, despite how great Dr. Martin and Francis Schaeffer were as men of great spirit and forces for good--much more good than me!--I always have felt that he made God look like a Sunday School teacher, like "Christianity 101." :-)