In his book, Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics, Graeme Goldsworthy talks about the presuppositions of the gospel which make up the “material priority of the Scriptures.” These presuppositions are prior truths without which the gospel could not be the gospel. He lists them as the following:
* The God who is there is the God of the Bible, who is (among other things) Creator, Savior, and Communicator
* Human beings were created in his image, which involves us as those with whom God communicates
* The truth of God is evident in all creation
* Sin means the human declaration of independence from God, and the suppression of his truth
* Grace means that God mercifully provides special revelation that informs, redeems and makes God present to us
* This redemptive revelation, the word of God, is focused on Jesus Christ
Goldsworthy goes on to say that “Christian theism maintains that these presuppositions of the gospel are foundational truths that stand the test of having explanatory power for all human experience and having rational consistency.” The gospel, then, is not only the message that transforms sinners into saints but also the medium through which we rightly understand all human experience.
These gospel presuppositions are important because, outside of Christ, the world has alternative presuppositions about life that are shaped by the Fall in Genesis 3, which Goldsworthy summarizes as:
* If God is there, he does not communicate the truth
* We do not need God to reveal the rational framework for understanding reality
* Human reason is autonomous, and the ultimate arbiter of truth and falsity, right and wrong
According to Paul, we have been given the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16)–a mind that is spiritual and shaped by the gospel (person and work of Christ). Jesus is not only the wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24) but has become to us wisdom from God (1 Cor. 1:30). Jesus is not only the substance of the wisdom of God, but He is also the source of it as well. So what happens in the Spirit’s work of renewal is a rewiring from presuppositions of the Fall to the presuppositions of the Gospel. This is what Goldsworthy calls “episteomological sanctification.”
In summary, the gospel is the power of God for salvation (Rom. 1:16), and the more we appreciate the truths of the gospel (presuppositions) and so have our experienced grounded in it, the more we appropriate the mind of Christ. The gospel is the message that transforms our minds (“achieves noetic salvation for us” – epistemological redemption), and the gospel is the medium through which our minds are daily being renewed as we behold the brilliance of Christ, who has become to us wisdom from God (“the ongoing process through which our thinking is conformed more and more to the truth that is in Jesus – epistemological sanctification).
To read Goldsworthy’s arguments in detail, read chapter 3 of Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics on the presuppositions of the gospel and the subsequent section on noetic salvation (58-62).