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In any in-depth reflection on the ground of certainty in Christian thought, particularly as this bears on the intermeshing of Word and Spirit, it is fitting to explore the rationalist legacy within evangelicalism. I have often observed that one of the banes of modem evangelicalism is rationalism, although it is always necessary to point out that this is a believing rationalism. In such a perspective reason prepares the way for faith and confirms faith, but it does not procure faith. Rationalists in both Catholic and Reformation traditions have acknowledged the role of the Spirit in assisting the will to embrace what reason plainly shows to be true. In the deism and latitudinarianism of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Spirit was largely eclipsed by an emphasis on the universal logos and the omni competence of reason to discover and establish truth.
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