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In Pursuit of an Orthodox Christian Epistemology

A Conversation with Carl F. H. Henry

Jonathan Mutinda Waita

Everybody is confronted by three fundamental questions, which are of great interest to philosophy and theology: The metaphysical—"What is reality?", the epistemological—"How do we know what we think we know?", and the ethical—"How should we, therefore, live in light of what we know about reality?" Of these three, the epistemological question is of greatest importance, owing to its concern with the justification of knowledge, on the basis of which we can attempt to respond to the rest. This book is motivated by the realization that although everybody attempts to respond to these questions, not everybody provides a valid answer to the questions. In consultation with Carl F. H. Henry, who was a trailblazer for evangelical orthodoxy, this book attempts to provide valid and sound answers to these epistemological and metaphysical questions for millions of Christians, whose answers to these questions continue to be ridiculed by liberals and secularists. This book operates with a realization that since our surest Christian knowledge about the nature and works of God emanates from God’s self-disclosure rather than our human discovery, the Bible, as God’s special revelation occupies an important place in true Christian epistemology. A corollary to the centrality of the Bible to the Christian epistemology is the epistemic sufficiency of human language and reason. This book defines Christian epistemological orthodoxy against such heterodox systems as Kantian phenomenology, Barthian Neoorthodoxy, Ayerian Logical Positivism, and Whiteheadian Process Thought and their respective trajectories. The book is a must-read for philosophy, theology, and apologetic courses.

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Advance Praise For In Pursuit of an Orthodox Christian Epistemology

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ADVANCE PRAISE FOR

In Pursuit of an Orthodox Christian Epistemology

“In this well-structured, carefully researched, deeply reflective, and remarkably insightful defense of Christian Orthodoxy, Jonathan Mutinda Waita has chosen to use the insights of Carl F. H. Henry, perhaps the previous century’s most acute defender of Christian presuppositionalism, as a lens to applaud his efforts, though not without awareness of short-comings , while employing his criticisms as a defense against Henry’s adversaries. In short, the book proports to sustain the validity of foundationalism, what is also called presuppositionalism, to explain that the nature of how we know (ontology [what exists, being] presupposes the nature of what can be known [epistemology or how we come to know what can be known]). Simply put, an effect without a cause cannot exist (the collectivity of nature cannot explain the existence of all that is in nature, including the profundity of human reflection). No person makes decision without a set of assumptions from which they make deductions.

“Kantianism fails because it limits metaphysical realities to the sum of mere existence, Logical Positivism denies the existence of the metaphysical altogether, and Process Theism destroys the ontological supremacy of God for a human cooperative and evolutive fulfillment of the divine purposes. Barth is not the extreme theorist reflective of the other approaches, though he ultimately destroys the link between fideism and verifiability.

“Henry’s approach is a welcome panacea to the post-modernist, deconstructionism that seems to be gaining in Christian...

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