I've read the following:

You will find different "schools" of Christianity have different epistemological preferences. To put very very broad brushstrokes (and I don't mean to offend), Rationalsm -> liberalism. Empiricism -> charismatics, Biblical revelation -> evangelicals, Church authority/revelation -> catholicism. But I don't think any of them would deny other epistemologies but would place different emphases on them.

My question is: What evidence is there to suggest that denominations have different epistemological preferences?

  • Are you asking for an answer according to justification, and if so is it from a internality, or an externality standpoint?
    – BYE
    Mar 22, 2014 at 12:51
  • @hawkeye Didn't you answer your own question? "You will find different 'schools' of Christianity have different epistemological preferences." Proof would be found in reading the "What We Believe" section of their web sites.
    – Steve
    Mar 22, 2014 at 14:57
  • 1
    There are certainly different sets of verses being payed the most attention to. Whether they will admit it or not, each denomination more or less holds one book of the Bible or another to be more inspired. Some may hold the gospels in the more inspired column, while others hold Romans or Galatians there. And this breeds a lot of differences. Mar 25, 2014 at 5:32
  • 1
    And what's the proof? Just listen to what books they come back and back to to make their points against the others. Mar 25, 2014 at 5:33

2 Answers 2


This is a good question. It is commonly understood that different denominations exist because of different beliefs, but in fact I think the asker alludes to something more accurate: each denomination doesn't merely have a different set of belief, but a different emphasis on which epistemological area is of greatest importance. I think there is merit in this idea.

The evidence is disappearing with time as more denominations have embrace the idea that faith in Christ, as evidenced by a Christ-centered life, is the most important area of belief (enough that for many and ever more pastors differences in other areas of belief are relatively of little consequence).

So if you want to look at different epistemological preferences (as opposed to different beliefs) I think you have to go back and look at the origin of each denomination. When Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses to the door of his local church the main contention was that men didn't need other "God-ordained" men to be saved. From that "saved by Grace lest any man boast" became their clarion call. This belief was adopted by most Protestants but with each reformation into another faith you will find there was in general an emphasis on a certain doctrine above all others with which they contended most fervently.


John Wesley proposed the Methodist Quadrilateral - which is very similar to this idea.

The Briefing also wrote about Four Ways to God.

  • Link only answers are not helpful. Please summarize some of the content from each of the links. Nov 26, 2016 at 12:14

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .