An extensive study explores the role that different kinds of knowledge play in Christianity.
Romine’s impressive nonfiction debut is a comprehensive and lucid examination of the complicated role of knowledge—as both a category and a process—in the Christian faith structure. The author’s initial target will be familiar to readers of contemporary fundamentalist homiletics: “postmodernism,” here characterized as a rootless, unmoored search for merely provisional truths. This is a very different thing from the apprehension of essential, unchanging truths that is, according to Romine, the goal of faith and the gift of the Holy Spirit. It’s important, the author writes, for seekers to be sure that external, objective truth actually exists: “Postmodernism has worked against this, hindering the way to knowing God by destabilizing the tenets of knowledge.” Those tenets, in Romine’s worldview, are faith and a relationship with God, which are constant and not subject to destabilization. Unlike the impermanence readers see today in relationships, the author asserts, “God is different. His desire is for real commitment.” According to Romine, that commitment comes from the Holy Spirit, which “illumes the mind and heart” and creates the grounding for integrity and character in believers. The dichotomy at work here is elemental; the author deftly explains that formal reasoning has its limits because it’s unable to accept revelation, which is, readers are told, “a knowledge proper to theology, superseding the natural reach of philosophy and science.” At heart this isn’t a revolutionary synthesis; the idea of Stephen Jay Gould’s “non-overlapping magisteria” divide between faith and science has appeared in one form or another as long as both disciplines have existed. But Romine intriguingly elaborates on the concept of external, objective truth and the fact that the faithful grasp it through the interplay of their souls’ three components—mind, heart, and will—narrowly skirting the familiar and disastrous suggestion that all postmodern knowledge is false knowledge. The last thing Christianity needs would be another book denying the findings of science.
A complex and detailed call for Christians to embrace the knowledge of their faith.