John Webster on Christian Reason

 

John Webster, Holiness

One of the grand myths of modernity has been that the operations of reason are a sphere from which God's presence can be banished, where the mind is, as it were, safe from divine intrusion. To that myth, Christian theology is a standing rebuke. As holy reason at work, Christian theology can never escape from the sober realization that we talk in the terrifying presence of the God from whom we cannot flee (Ps. 139:7). In Christian theology, the matter of our discourse is not someone absent, someone whom we have managed to exclude from our own intellectual self-presence and about whom we can talk away safely and undisturbed. We speak in God's presence. When we begin to talk theologically about the holiness of God, we soon enough discover that the tables have been reversed; it is no longer we who summon God before our minds to make him a matter for clever discourse, but the opposite: the holy God shows himself and summons us before him to give account of our thinking.