The Need To Neutralize Tension Through An Epistemological Defense

When pastors in the church proclaim the Word of God they are continually introducing new knowledge from the Scriptures into the frameworks of their parishioners.  Because God’s ways are not like man, the revelation of God’s wisdom in the cross will continually bring about an epistemological crisis in the church, as it should.  Simplistically put God’s revelation will contend with other sources of knowledge gathered by parishioners.  Individuals in the church will face a crossroad when the Word comes into direct conflict with knowledge that they have obtained from other sources.  According to Alasdair MacIntyre the, “…conflict tests the resources of each contending tradition.”[1]  
Because it is impossible for a person to live within the ongoing tension of an epistemological crisis, the crisis will have to be solved or neutralized.  What can and often does happen is that individuals will compartmentalize their longstanding knowledge in such a way to remove it from the conflict.  This epistemological defense is a way that allows individual’s current knowledge and tradition to be free from being put into question or conflict with Biblical revelation.[2]  Like the defense that happens with one’s worldview, this defense accomplishes the same thing by preventing the necessary epistemological crisis with the Word of God from happening.[3]   

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[1] Alasdair MacIntyre, Why Narrative? Readings in Narrative Theology (Eerdmans Publishing, 1989), 147.
[2] The motives behind an epistemological defense tactic can vary from paralyzing fear over the potential loss of one’s source of truth to the sinful nature simply opposing God’s revealed Word.  Also pride and self-investment can prevent individuals from being receptive to God’s Word.  In other words, too much might be at stake for the individual to accept the new knowledge.  The new Biblical knowledge would unravel and expose years of behavioral actions that were a result of a faulty worldview and a faulty knowledge source.  The cost is simply too much.    
[3] Ibid.