Before busying himself with chasing after every new philosophical fad and having his ears tickled by so-called “Reformed Epistemology” while trying to resurrect the Romanish fantasy of natural theology, Michael Sudduth asked the question, Are Baptists Rational? His answer back in 1993 was a resounding “No.” Sudduth wrote:
The rejection or disparagement of logic, then, whether it be by the religious irrationalist, the orthodox Reformed theologian, or a Calvinistic Baptist, is manifestly unscriptural. God is a God of truth, wisdom, and knowledge. Man was created in his image, endowed with an a priori reason by which he can think God’s thoughts after him. God’s revelation is rational because it is the revelation of the divine mind. Man can understand that revelation because he was created in the divine image. The Biblical writers reason, they construct arguments, they think in terms of the laws of logic. The Bible is, therefore, a rational revelation from God to man. Christian theology, because it is based upon that revelation, is inherently rational.
The suggestion of this concluding chapter is a basic one. If theologians would reconsider the relationship between God and logic, that belief in the former entails a commitment to the latter, the intellect will be restored to its rightful place in theology. The primacy of reason will thwart the forces of irrationalism in general and misology in particular. Theology will be, as Augustine once said, ”de divinitate rationem sive sermonem,’” rational discussion respecting the Deity.
The theological defense of logic is an argument quite easy to follow. Since theology implies Scripture, and Scripture implies logic, it follows that theology implies logic. Or, in other terms: to reject logic is to reject truth, and to reject truth is to reject God; therefore, misology is the rejection of God.
In the beginning was the Logic,
and the Logic was with God,
and the Logic was God.
– John 1:1
Sadly, the misology that Sudduth attributed to those calling themselves Reformed Baptists, which ends, and by good and necessary consequence, with the rejection of God, persists today. Back in January of this year, someone posting on my blog’s comment box with the tag “deangonzales” took issue with something I wrote in a piece entitled, “The Sincere Insanity of the Well Meant Offer.” In defending the absurd notion of insoluble paradoxes in Scripture, which are in every sense indistinguishable from contradictions, and, frankly, if truly insoluble are really just contradictions despite all the feigned pious prattle by Vantilians about there not being any contradictions for God, “deangonzales” wrote:
Having read this post and the subsequent comments, I wonder how the line of thought that finds paradox (defined as an apparent not real contradiction) as “insane” would escape the same dilemma when trying to (1) affirm that God is not the author of evil while, simultaneously, (2) affirming that God plans, controls, and employs evil to accomplish his purposes. If God has written the script for creation history and inserted evil into that script, how can one avoid the seemingly logical conclusion that God is in fact the “author of evil”?
Admittedly, an interesting problem, but one that was a bit afield of my piece and already answered effectively by Gordon Clark back in 1932 in a piece entitled, “Determinism and Responsiblity,” which was later reprinted in Trinity Review in 1991. So, rather reinvent the wheel, I referred “Dean” to Clark along with recommending Robert Reymond’s discussion of the problem of evil in his systematic theology (which nicely expands on Clark’s solution). Well, six months later “deangonzales” is back linking a piece he wrote defending the incoherence of the so-called Well Meant Offer entitled: “God Makes A Wish That Each and Every Sinner Might be Saved.”
Needless to say I was a little surprised to find out that the man I thought was “Dean Gonzales” was actually Dr. Bob Gonzales, Dean of Reformed Baptist Seminary in South Carolina. Rather than just another misologist and paradox monger in blogosphere, clearly here is a man who is genuinely responsible for shaping the minds of men while purportedly training them for Gospel ministry. I say purportedly because if “God Makes A Wish” is at all representative of the kind of training men receive at Reformed Baptist Seminary, it doesn’t bode well for anything approximating Gospel ministry coming out of RBS. Paul said; “For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.” Similarly, if the message of salvation is presented in an incoherent and contradictory manner then how can the words being preached be rightly understood?
Has it never entered the confused minds of these paradox mongers that if Scripture really does consist of a series of impenetrable mysteries and insufferable paradoxes, even as they touch upon God’s glorious plan of salvation, then they give every reason for unbelievers to reject the Gospel message as just so much nonsense? And, since it seems that it is only those calling themselves “Calvinists” who persist in presenting and trying to justify their incoherent and irrational so-called “plan of salvation” where God is said to both desire and not desire the salvation of all, can there be any mystery why Calvinism remains the minority report relegated to the backwaters of the ersatz-Evangelical world?
After all, if the message of grace includes antinomies, contradictions and so-called paradoxes impenetrable by human minds, then we can concluded that at least some of the Gospel message is false, or, at the very least, not to be trusted. Consequently, it would be better if such preachers were left preaching “into the air.” Instead these men persist in teaching nonsense all in the name of Christ.
Which brings us back to the Dean of RBS, Dr. Bob Gonzales. (more…)