Blindness and Knowledge - RR197S33

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Blindness and Knowledge
Course: Course - The Gospel of John
Subject: Subject:Conversations and Sermons
Lesson#: 31
Length: 0:26:03
TapeCode: RR197S33
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
The Gospel of John.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission

Let us worship God. It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord and to sing praises unto Thy name oh Most High, to show forth Thy loving kindness in the morning and Thy faithfulness every night. Let us pray.

Our Father we come into Thy presence gratefully, joyfully knowing that Thou art on the throne and that the evils that men do will never frustrate nor hinder Thy victory. Teach us therefore so to walk day by day that in confidence in Thee and Thy sovereign power we cast our every care upon Thee knowing Thou carest for us. Bless us as we give ourselves unto the study of Thy word, in Christ’s name, Amen.

Our scripture is John 9:35-41. Our subject: Blindness and Knowledge, John 9:35-41.

“Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?

36 He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?

37 And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.

38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.

39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?

41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.”


The man who was born blind was excommunicated, that

The man who was born blind was excommunicated, that term has lost much of its meaning in our time except in a few religious communities but it once meant total separation from one’s family and community. In its Hebrew and Jewish forms excommunication was once a living death because all ties were severed and this is still true in a few churches. Among the Mennonites if you are excommunicated your own family, your own wife or husband or children cannot talk to you, feed you or help you in any way. Excommunication once was a very, very fearful thing. The healed man was excommunicated. He was therefore sentenced to something that none of the disciples were subjected to because the miracle of his healing testified so powerfully concerning Jesus. Jesus sought the man out even as others were avoiding him to ask him ‘dost thou believe on the Son of God?’ The man’s answer was simply this ‘who is he lord that I might believe on him?’ His question indicates an eagerness to know and believe on the Son of God. He asks the question of Jesus because he obviously believes that Jesus can give the answer. Jesus then identified Himself as the Son of God. The man answered Lord I believe and he worshipped Him. He saw Jesus as God incarnate and so he worshipped him an act then of prostration. David had well described the character of God in Psalm 27:11: [00:05:25]

[Actually this verse is Psalm ...

[Actually this verse is Psalm 27:10</audiopointer>

“When my father and my mother forsake me, then the

“When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.”

It is quite likely that the healed man’s parents already fearful may have observed the excommunication and severed their son from their home. This was usually the case. Our Lord’s approach to him was to give him a new family. Although we hear no more of him this does not mean he went uncared for or neglected. Then Jesus made a devastating statement. For judgment I am come into this world. The word translated as judgment from the Greek does not mean the act of judging but its results. It means a sentence, a decision, I have come into the world to pass sentence on the world. He had come to save man but judgment resulted for those who rejected Him. They pass sentence on themselves. To tell the truth is to expose a lie and this is why if you speak the truth people will not like you. Those even close to you by blood will be hostile to you if they are far from you in their faith. Christ’s presence was a judgment on all his enemies. For this reason Jesus Christ Himself still hated because He and all His word and works is a continuing judgment on the ungodly. By His coming they that see not might see. The religious leaders believed then and now that wisdom and vision belonged to them and they despise the simple believers of whom our Lord said ‘I thank thee oh Father, lord of Heaven and earth because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent and hast revealed them unto babes’. [00:08:22]

Wisdom and vision do not belong to high office nor

Wisdom and vision do not belong to high office nor do they mark the high and the mighty of the world. Washington is not a center of wisdom, neither is London nor Paris nor the capitals of this world. The men in charge of guiding others would be blinded by their unbelief our Lord made clear. God’s goal is that they which see might be made blind. Saint Paul states this same fact in 1st Corinthians 1:18-31. God will destroy the wisdom of the wise and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. The religious leaders believed that this program of excommunication, persecution, would destroy Jesus. Instead they destroyed themselves and the entire nation. Verse forty is interesting because it confirms what is repeatedly seen in the gospels. Many Pharisees followed Jesus out of interest, sometimes out of dawning belief and other times as spies. We know from Acts 6:7 that many priests became Christians. Some of this Pharisees, critical ones, took exception to his words saying are we blind also? One of the distressing aspects of the gospel is that we see so many peoples, disciples and enemies alike, questioning and challenging our Lord’s words. We do the same thing by our disobedience. Sometimes the comments were really corrections as though this miracle worker would go astray unless they set Him straight. We have an example of this in Matthew 16:21-28, in this case it is Peter who tries to correct Jesus when He speaks to the disciples about His coming death. [00:11:17]

Our Lord’s answer to these Pharisees was blunt

Our Lord’s answer to these Pharisees was blunt. If ye were blind ye should have no sin but now you say you see therefore your sin remaineth. If you had any awareness of your spiritual blindness of your sin you would be on the road to salvation, to freedom from sin. Very much to the contrary you feel confident that your vision is sound. That religiously you are the wise ones and therefore sin remains basic to your being. The fact stated by our Lord is one that it is still basic to theology and philosophy. Men try to make knowing an intellectual and rational matter whereas it involves a man in all his being and in particular is founded on his religious and moral nature. Now that’s a fact the world does not want to face. They want to reduce knowledge to a purely intellectual matter, you study the subject, you know everything about it therefore you know what is to be known. But what the bible tells us and what our Lord makes clear here is that it is first and foremost moral and religious. That you cannot have any knowledge unless you begin with the right premise morally and religiously. I read a review yesterday of a book on the history of advertising published by a professor in which he begins with the presupposition that businesses are all out to gouge the public. They are evil that under a pure social set up, Marxism, they would be taken over by the moral force of the state. [00:14:04]

So the history of advertising is for him a long conspiracy

So the history of advertising is for him a long conspiracy against the public. Now his facts and the history, his knowledge of the history, is not at fault. It is his immoral presupposition whereby he warps the whole of the history and makes its meaning different than what it is in reality. Original sin is man’s will to be his own god and law maker. Original sin will govern man’s thinking in every area of life and thought because sin governs man’s being totally and it orders what he knows and why knows it. The subject of how we know is called epistemology and philosophy and the perspective is apart from the school of Calvin and Van Til man centered. Too many churchmen are man centered in their epistemology. Now it is interesting that particularly in the light of Van Til’s work epistemology has been shown to has its moral and religious foundations. So what has happened? Since I studied philosophy epistemology has virtually been ignored. They don’t want to deal with it because they can’t cope with it! It’s been shown that epistemology rests on a presupposition, on a basic faith and this they don’t want to admit so you no longer have it. It’s not studied. On area after another of historic philosophy has been dropped over board simply because they can no longer face up to the fact that all their subterfuges have been ignored. So their thinking today is radically anti-knowledge. [00:17:00]

One of our staff members will be with us for about

One of our staff members will be with us for about a week or so at the end of this month and into July, Sam Bloomingfield. In his most recent report he has pointed out the influence of Wittgenstein on education. Wittgenstein denied there was any meaning, anything in anything anywhere. Words can mean what you want them to mean because nothing really has any absolute meaning. Therefore everybody can create their own value world. They can read anything and tell you what the meaning is because meaning is purely personal. So the same work can be a comedy to some and a tragedy to somebody else. All modern epistemologies and all ungodly ones over the centuries begins with man’s reason, man’s experience or some aspect of man’s capabilities. As against all this our Lord here tells us that there can be no other foundation for knowledge other than himself. That any other premise compromises at least or falsifies knowledge. There can be no other foundation than Jesus Christ. He declares I am the way, the truth and the light, no man cometh to the Father but by me. We cannot come to the father nor to knowledge of His creation apart from Him. All non-Christian knowledge is borrowed knowledge. If creation is not the handiwork of God then it is the product of chance in which case is impossible. If there is no God there is only chance, if there’s chance there’s no reason to anything. Everything is then absurd, totally meaninglessness. The ungodly gain limited knowledge by denying chance in practice and affirming it in theory. [00:19:56]

Well our Lord here contrasts the clear knowledge of

Well our Lord here contrasts the clear knowledge of an unlettered man born blind with the blindness of highly literate men who neglected Him. He called the leaders blind men and such blindness still governs the world. Face to face with God incarnate, with truth incarnate, these champions of truth had one answer. They denied Him and they crucified Him. Let us pray.

Our Father we give thanks unto Thee that it is Thy truth that shall prevail. That the lives of men shall be blown away by chaff before great wind. Give us grace therefore to build our lives on Christ our king, Christ the truth. Knowing that in Him we shall be vindicated and triumphant. Redeemed and glorified. How great Thou art our father and we thank Thee. In Christ’s name, Amen.

Are there any questions now about our lesson? Yes?

[Question Unintelligible]

[Rushdoony] What was that again?

[Question Unintelligible]

[Rushdoony] Yes. They are the Pharisees of our time and they are being confounded progressively by the nature of events. Yes?

[Question Unintelligible] [00:22:45]

[Rushdoony] No it was because of a great famine in

[Rushdoony] No it was because of a great famine in that area because of a drought. So that was the reason for it. The Christians on the whole were not excommunicated because they had hopes until it was too late of destroying the movement and its credibility. But all their persecution, the arrests they engineered, instead of stopping the movement in its tracks only furthered it. But the persecution was intense. It reached even into Nero’s court because Poppaea, a mistress was of Jewish extraction although not of faith and she was used as a means of influencing Nero against the Christians. Yes?

[Question Unintelligible]

[Rushdoony] In today?

[Question Unintelligible]

[Rushdoony] For the time being the efforts are now through administrative law if they can get it passed or through some kind of federal legislation, a writer on some bill to institute controls. So far every attempt has failed. Well if there are no further questions let us conclude with prayer.


Our Father we thank Thee for Thy word

Our Father we thank Thee for Thy word. Give us grace day by day so to walk that we may always know that in all things and every facet of our lives we must be grounded on Christ the truth, the rock of ages. God incarnate. Bless us as we seek to do these things. And now go in peace, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, bless you and keep you, guide and protect you, this day and always, Amen.

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