Several years ago when I first started reading Trinity Foundation materials, I ran across a statement that John Robbins had made about epistemology and the Bible. While I don’t recall the exact passage I read, I do remember that he argued that the Bible was the axiom, or starting point, for Christian thought.
Although I was intrigued by the argument, I wasn’t sure I could defend the position if I were asked to. So with that in mind, I sent John an email, not really expecting to hear back from him. To my surprise, I received and email response within just an hour or two that answered my question. I don’t have John’s email anymore, but the following quote from Gordon Clark makes the same point John made to me,
Logically the infallibility of the Bible is not a theorem to be deduced from some proir axiom. The infallibility of the Bible is the axiom from which the several doctrines are themselves deduced as theorems. Every religion and every philosophy must be based on some first principle. And since a first principle is first, it cannot be “proved” or “demonstrated” on the basis of anything prior (What Do Presbyterians Believe?, p.18) .
The simple idea that every religion or philosophy has a indemonstrable starting point, and that for the Christian that starting point is the infallibility of Bible, is the basis for the whole Scripturalist enterprise. And when I came to understand this and accept it as true, it turned all of my thinking upside down. Or perhaps more accurately, right side up.
Apart from an important lesson in theology, I learned one other thing from John that day: the importance of not despising an honest inquiry, however simple it may seem. John was a busy man, and he easily could have ignored my email and found something more important to do. But he didn’t. And for that I am eternally thankful.