Graced response: John Owen on faith and reason

Abstract

The issue of faith and reason arises from the claim that there are two kinds of truths: some truths are discoverable to human understanding and some are not. This paper argues that the epistemology of the prominent orthodox protestant theologian John Owen (1616–1683) does not fit the labels of evidentialism and fideism. According to evidentialism, every cognitive act (including faith) must depend on evidence available to reason. According to fideism, there is no relation between faith and reason so that nothing of reason can be counted for or against faith. But Owen is a fideist in the sense that faith is not based on rational evidence, and an evidentialist in the sense that Christian faith ought to have some rational or cognitive support. Philosophical arguments count in favour of faith and are not the ground of faith. The paper suggests that this nuanced view is a viable alternative and option

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