Alternative Knowledge?

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“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 1611)

Growing Dominion, Part 12

We have noted the importance of Christians “getting healing right.” Christ is our Savior and Healer, and He brings His salvation and healing not only to us, but also to the whole world. And one of the central ways this is accomplished is through people learning to think scripturally about the rules of evidence. How do we know what we know? The Bible gives us three important principles that should be honored in all our attempts to exercise dominion in the world, which actually are attempts to know in the biblical sense. Those principles are the principle of independent confirmation (2 Cor. 13:1), cross-examination (Prov. 18:17), and accountability (Dt. 19:19).

Now the world is a wondrous place, and we should not be surprised to find healing embedded in the strangest of places. It should be no more strange for us to find help for the memory in ginkgo biloba than it is to find help for our infections in penicillin. The matter of concern for us in evaluating alternative medicine should never be concern about alternative modes of healing. Who would not be delighted if it turned out that a particular herb was a more effective form of cancer therapy than chemotherapy? The concern is not the treatments, but rather the investigation of the claims. Another way of putting this it is that we should never be suspicious of alternative medicine. Every wise doctor wants alternatives. But we must be entirely suspicious of alternative epistemologies — alternative ways of knowing. Every wise doctor knows that to neglect or reject the principles given above is to walk away from cultural maturity. It is to walk away from dominion.

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