Need to Know

Need to Know

Need to Know: Vocation as the Heart of Christian Epistemology
Ebook, Paperback

Between radical doubt and arrogant certainty stands this book that grounds knowledge firmly in—of all places—faith in God. God calls us to do things, and therefore can be trusted to tell us what we need to know in order to do them.

How should a Christian think? If a serious Christian wants to think seriously about a serious subject―from her vote in the next election to her choice of career, from deciding among scientific theories to picking among eligible suitors, from weighing competing marketing proposals to discerning among fitness plans―what does he or she do? This basic question is at the heart of a complex discourse: epistemology.

Need to Know offers a comprehensive, coherent, and clear model of responsible Christian thinking. Grounded in the best of the Christian theological tradition while being attentive to a surprising range of thinkers in the history of philosophy, natural science, social science, and culture, the book sets out a scheme for drawing together experience, tradition, scholarship, art, and the Bible into a portable, practical, and yet theoretically profound system of thinking about thinking. Its fundamental idea is as simple as it is startling: Since God calls human beings to do certain things in the world, God can be relied upon to supply the knowledge necessary for human beings to do those things.

The classic Christian concept of vocation, then, supplies both the impetus and the assurance that the faithful Christian can trust God to guide his or her thinking―on a "need to know" basis.

Alister McGrath, Oxford University

“This is a stimulating, enriching and invigorating reexamination of some of the oldest and greatest questions of philosophy and theology.”

C. Stephen Evans, University Professor of Philosophy and Humanities, Baylor University

"This book is a profound exploration of our epistemological predicament in the 21st century. It offers a sensible account of Christian faith that steers a steady course between the pretensions of rationalistic dogmatism and relativistic subjectivism. Stackhouse takes seriously the challenges offered
by our pluralistic culture and also the limits inherent in human finitude and sinfulness, but offers a hopeful path rooted in an understanding of our callings."

Paul Helm, Professor Emeritus of the History and Philosophy of Religion, King's College, London University

"John Stackhouse's new book follows the trajectory of his much-admired Humble Apologetics. For him, the first thing (apart from the Word of God) is to understand our culture and what drives it. Contemporary culture is a mixture: some things are to be guarded against, others to be appropriated. In advocating this process of sifting, Stackhouse urges his readers to exercise judgment, and particularly to think vocationally. He is an excellent expositor, one who teaches by example. What's more, he's a friendly, engaging guide, with a great feel for what's going on around us. Above all, he aims
to tool-up his readers, encouraging us to think for ourselves. This is, in sum, a notable book in Christian discipleship"