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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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I wish to thank the following people whose contributions have made this project a success. Worthy of mention are members of my dissertation committee, Dr. John D. Hannah, Dr. Douglas K. Blount, and Dr. James Walter Gustafson whose learned advice made me a better writer. Each of these men and others have contributed in a unique way to my growth in scholarship. Dr. John Hannah played a significant role as the chairman of my dissertation committee, and together with Dr. D. Jeffrey Bingham and Dr. Douglas K. Blount, Dr. J. Lanier Burns, Dr. J. Scott Horrell, and Dr. Glenn R. Kreider encouraged me to think theologically, philosophically, and Christianly. Dr. James Walter Gustafson, Dr. Titus M. Kivunzi, and Dr. Richard Barany were instrumental in my decision to pursue further theological and apologetic equipping at Dallas Theological Seminary. Also worthy of mention are Dr. Keith Bateman, in whose class at my Alma mater, Scott Christian University, I cut my apologetic teeth, and Dr. Stephen Spencer, who graciously allowed me to use his resourceful unpublished paper as one of the resource materials for this project.

The pursuit of a Ph.D. program at a highly demanding institution can be a lonely, even depressing experience. In times like these, the input of colleagues, who are going through a similar experience, comes in handy. It is for this reason that I wish to acknowledge the contribution of my colleagues, Dr. Alfred M. Muli, Dr.←ix | x→ Abraham Joseph, Dr. Jackson Rowland-Adeniyi,...

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