God has tied knowledge of himself to a chosen community of faith

Created: 2023-01-22 21:46

There is no doubt that the words we consider Scripture were penned by human beings within contingent history. They are in every respect “immanent” but we also consider them the “transcendent” word of God.

Kelly writes,

God does not reveal exactly how it is that immanent words are also transcendent words; nor how the reflections from within one limited and imperfect human culture are universally true and eternally binding. What He does is to give us the results of a process that surpasses our understanding. He gives us the completed revelation of His word to and through the believing community of Israel, with which the Church of God is in continuity. Thus we know God from our fellowship with Isreal in and through its divinely given revalation. God does not give Humself to be known apart from that chosen community of faith. As Blaise Pascal said, ‘He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; He is not the God of the Philosophers.’

This particularity was particularly abhorrent to the enlightenment thinkers in pre-revolutionary France, and remains so to this day:

That God should be known by a particular revelation in a particular community of faith was abhorrent to them, and in many respects their hostility to the particularility of the revelation of God’s truth has constituted the deep, underlying fault-line diving Western culture from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century


  1. Kelly, Systematic Theology - Volume 1, p. 423, 435