How do we know what we know as regards Christ and His Gospel? How do we know that our thinking is straight and not the product of wishful thinking and cunningly devised fables?
‘Evidenced based’ starts with God as He is revealed in Jesus Christ. This is Gospel Realism.
CHRIST IS GOD
“Torrance held that it was the realist view of science which had been adopted by the best and by the most productive scientific thinkers. Building on this, he argued that the best theology has also been that written by men and women who have been convinced that God's self-revelation in Jesus Christ is a revelation of God as he truly in himself.
This lay behind Torrance's insistent declarations: "In Jesus Christ we know God as he is in himself," and, "There is no hidden God behind the back of Jesus Christ." For Torrance, this was the relevance of the homoousios for our knowledge of God. In classical Christology the homoousios means that the Son of God is the same being as the Father. Therefore, knowledge of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is true knowledge of God as he is in himself.” (1) Jesus, not the law is the expression of God as God is.
CHRIST THE ‘I AM’ OR ANOTHER CHRIST?
This is important. Is our Christ the Christ of God or is our christ a different christ made from incorrect assumptions or misguided revelations? Specifically, is our Christ a construct of the law? Is He the manager and supervisor of the law or is our Christ the mediator of the being of God into the beings of men and women? To be precise is our Christ the real Christ or a false christ?
ENCOUNTER WITH REALITY
“For Torrance, true knowledge comes through an encounter with being, not just through reflection on statements about being—whatever their source. This led him to explore intuitive knowledge, a notion which became central to his theological method… Torrance argued that intuition operates through.. an intellective grasp of rational structures themselves… the crucial issue is that something of the wholeness of an object is communicated directly in the encounter between object and mind.” (2)
REALITY IS A PERSON
Here we are coming to truth intuited in the Spirit. This is ‘truth’ acquired as a result of spiritual discernment – not only as a spiritual gift but more basically the effect of oneness with Christ resulting in ‘God come in our flesh.’ Thus, the appreciation of truth about God is perceived as the result of our being one with the being of God.
In Adam and Moses, we have a mindset of separation from God. Such separation results from the same lie that precipitated the fall. The lie that God and His provision of life in Himself is not enough. Separation from God obscures the truth of God in Christ, making us vulnerable to non-gospels posing as life.
ENCOUNTER WITH BEING
“In Torrance’s view, revelation is not primarily statements, but is God communicating himself in Jesus Christ. And, it is the personal being of God in his revelation which communicates the inner logic and rational structure of God and of the ways of God which are witnessed to by Scripture and conveyed to the Believer by the Spirit of Christ.” (3) This means that a false christ will configure a false you and a dodgy interpretation of the scripture with a crooked gospel.
A knowledge of God is not apprehended from contrived Bible Studies or cherry-picked proof texts to build position statements. This is why spiritual discernment that reveals the real nature of the Gospel as inclusion in God and oneness with God is not comprehended by the legalist and the fundamentalist. Thus, we have persons claiming belonging in the one loaf when they are actually living from a different loaf that is ‘another gospel.’
(1) Ritchie, Bruce. T. F. Torrance in Recollection and Reappraisal (p. 74). Pickwick Publications. Kindle Edition. (2) Ibid p.75-76. (3) Ritchie, p.74-76.