Have you heard this from someone recently? That "WE CANNOT KNOW, with certainty, what God has revealed, so anyone who thinks he does is proud or arrogant? We must, rather, they say, embrace God as mystery?" I don't know about you but I have heard this more than once in the past few weeks. In light of this shouldn't we be asking ourselves the following questions so we can, at least, maintain a degree of intellectual honesty:
Is not this assertion that "we cannot know" itself a dogma with affirmations and denials? Is not this itself a statement of knowledge? Is "we cannot know with certainty" not itself an assertion of KNOWLEDGE (a dogmatic assertion) as THE WAY to interpret Scripture? Whether conscious of it or not, this is what is called "double-talk" and those who believe this are doing the very thing they claim to despise, even in the very speaking of it. Its like Oprah stating on national television that it is arrogant to think Jesus is the only way, and then turning around and telling us the ONLY WAY is to believe that all religions lead to the same God. Is this not itself an arrogant claim ... a claim which must have a bird's eye view of knowledge to state it with such certainty.
The Apostle Peter said, "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God"(1 Pet. 4:11). Fact is, it is unavoidable to make any statements without making some kind of affirmation or denial. To claim no one can know about revealation with certainty is itself a claim to know how God operates with certainty. Where does the Scripture itself say that humility is characterized by taking what has God revealed to us (Deut 29:29) and saying we cannot understand it or cannot make statements with certainty, such that we much view all Scripture a total mystery? But this is not how God defines humility. Real humility is to think our thoughts after God, rather than impose our own thoughts on the text. True humility is to see ourselves in light of the glory and majesty of God. By this we become undone and recognize who we are before God and man. By this be come face to face with our own spiritual bankruptcy before God and thus understand that we are clearly no better morally than anyone. We have nothing in ourselves to recommend to God. Salvation by grace ALONE then, understood properly, should teach us that we have nothing to boast in, save in God's mercy alone in Jesus Christ. We are only beggars leading other beggars to bread. ANY BOAST then is contrary to the gospel of grace. True Christianity, according to Paul, is to worship in the Holy Spirit, glory in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh. That our salvation is ALL of Christ. This is something God has revealed to us with certainty. If I have a conviction that only Jesus can save, not my self-effort effort, then this kind of certainty will make us the polar opposite of proud.
Those calling for epistemic humility tend the same ones who reject these central Christian doctrines described above which undo us and glory in Christ alone in favor of praxis, as if the two could be separated. But I would argue that by rejecting Biblical teaching such as Sola Gratia/Solus Christus, our praxis just becomes another form of moralism, which does not differentiate Christianity from any other religion. So it should be evident that this very way of defining arrogance and humility is itself broken and contradictory. Does not God define hubris as those who trust in praxis (works) rather than in Christ ALONE? That means Christ for our all in all, the Author and Perfector of our faith, who unites us to Himself that we might live. If Jesus Christ is not central to one's belief (not as a moral example, but as a Savior) then we have not understood even the very basis of Christianity and traded it for a philosophy.