Joyce writes “Reasoning opens the door for deception and brings much confusion. I once asked the Lord why so many people are confused and He said to me, “Tell them to stop trying to figure everything out, and they will stop being confused.’ I have found it to be absolutely true. Reasoning and confusion go together.”
To be charitable, when I looked at the quote in context, what I found is that Meyer’s worry is that (human) reason, as a source of knowledge, is fallible. Meyer goes on to say:
“Reasoning is dangerous for many reasons, but one of them is this: we can reason and figure something out that seems to make sense to us. But what we have reasoned to be correct may still be incorrect.”
It would be easy to tear into Meyer, and the blog’s author here, but that isn’t really productive. I’ll simply point out, before moving on, that Meyer uses reason and logic to make her case for the dangers of reason. But I’ll set that aside for now. Better yet, I’m going to identify the legitimate concern that underlies this kind of attitude and address it.
Sources of Knowledge
I’ve discussed elsewhere that there are at least five main sources of belief and knowledge: perception, memory, inference (reason), testimony, and introspection. Included in the category of “perception” are the five senses, and perhaps some kind of religious perception as well. The Scottish philosopher and pastor Thomas Reid argued that we must assume the equal reliability of all these sources. If we try to play the skeptic about some of these sources, then we are assuming the reliability of reason and then using it to critique the others. This is akin to asking a used car salesman if he is honest.
My point is this: we should treat reason as equal in reliability, and equal in fallibility, to the other sources of knowledge. As Christians who believe in the doctrine of the fall, that is the natural brokenness of all human beings, we should not doubt for a second our ability to distort any information coming our way. Even revelation can be misinterpreted, twisted, or repressed. This is why I like to think of the five sources as a sort of committee who must work together to discover truth. Additionally, the pursuit of truth must be done in community to further guard against error.
Luther vs. Logic
But ever since the Reformation, many Christians have been profoundly suspicious of anything other than divine revelation. The fallen condition of humans runs so deep that we cannot even trust our own minds. But we have gone too far, as evidenced by Joyce Meyer’s attitude. We throw out the bathwater of reason and then look around in surprise for our missing baby of knowledge.
Certainly we make errors in reasoning. Certainly our reasoning should always be Spirit-filled. But it is literally impossible to take a stand against reason without standing on reason itself. When Martin Luther proclaimed, “Sola Scriptura!”(“By Scripture alone”), he was making an argument found nowhere in Scripture. So Meyer’s viewpoint makes no sense. I recognize that calling her stance “unreasonable” would carry little weight with her. So, in my next post, I’m going to argue that her position is unbiblical.