Cornelius Van Til, Karl Barth, and The Federal Vision

janusI recently mentioned that Jim Cassidy on Lane Keister’s Greenbaggins blog nailed it when he wrote concerning the PCA’s Standing Judicial Commission’s failure to defend the Gospel in the Peter Leithart case:

. . . the SJC has been duped by Leithart’s distinctly dialectical methodology by which he can say the same thing in two contrary ways. Asking him to be more clear and precise, along with providing clarity and nuance, is to ask a leopard to lose his spots.

While this comment is both insightful and zeroes in on the underlying problem explaining why men in the PCA have been hamstrung and unable to condemn the erroneous opinions and Christ denying false gospel of the Federal Vision, Cassidy and others like him are unable to identify the elephant in the room.  While Cassidy attributes Leithart’s snakelike ability to speak out of both sides of his mouth to the influence of Karl Barth, he is blind, as are others, to the influence Cornelius Van Til.  Van Til is well known for his belief that the Scriptures are riddled with logical paradoxes along with his theory of analogy where all the so-called “apparent contradictions” of Scripture are mystically harmonized in the hidden mind of God.  

Further, this belief that these biblical paradoxes cannot, and even must not, be resolved at the bar of human reason is the heart of Van Til’s Creator/creature distinction and is the core of his theology and the theology of every Federal Visionist along with the vast majority of their opponents.  On this score the connection between Barth and Van Til is unmistakable, even if men educated in most Reformed seminaries are too enamored by personalities to notice, much less care.  Concerning Barth John Robbins wrote:

His theology itself is dialectical. It prides itself on the assertion of contradictories. It sees contradiction as essential to theology. Barth is always saying “Yes” and “No” to the same things. His theology involves theses and antitheses, with no resolution of the two. God is “wholly other” than man. In Christ God is “wholly hidden” and “wholly revealed.” There is an “infinite qualitative difference” between time and eternity, God and man, but yet we cannot speak of God in the abstract. In this respect, Barth remained indebted to Kierkegaard all his life. And in this respect, Barth’s dialectical theology must remain opaque to any reader. No person can believe contradictions, knowing them to be contradictions. But contradictions and dialectical theology are useful, not only for confusing one’s readers, but for allowing one to accomplish a purpose without clearly stating what the purpose is.

Barth’s dialectical theology permitted him to use old words and phrases – Biblical words and phrases – while giving them new, and quite un-Biblical, meanings. What the liberals had done partially with phrases such as the “divinity of Christ” and what the Roman Catholics had done with terms such as “justification,” “church,” “saint,” and “grace,” Barth was able to do with the entire theological discourse of the Reformation. His equivocation was not occasional and partial, as in liberalism, but throughout and complete. Barth made Protestant theological equivocation systematic and systemic. – Karl Barth

How far is this from Van Til who said; “Our knowledge is analogical and therefore must be paradoxical,”  and “all teaching of Scripture is apparently contradictory.”  When faced with seeming contradictions in Scripture Vantillians have been instructed to simply believe — in the face of all reason — that there are no contradictions for God.  As John Frame explains concerning the so-called insolvable paradox of the problem of evil:

[W]e are in a strange state of affairs: we have two propositions (“God is good” and “God foreordains evil”) which we can show to be logically interdependent in one sense; yet we cannot show them to be logically compatible except by an appeal to faith….

This balance of interdependence and paradox is in the interest of thinking in submission to Scripture. Scripture must be followed both in its assertions of interdependence and in its refusal to reconcile all doctrines to our satisfaction. Thus, a paradox remains for us,  though by faith we are confident that there is no paradox for God. Faith is basic to the salvation of our knowledge as well as the salvation of our souls.

Consequently, when someone like Peter Leithart or Jeff Meyers come along and say both “Yes” and “No” to the vitals of the faith, even the Gospel, those trained in Van Til’s theology of paradox chalk up the contradictory statements of these unrepentant heretics to just another apparent contradiction.  As Dr. W. Gary Crampton explains:

Once one asserts (with Barth and Brunner) that truth may come in the form of irreconcilable contradictions, then, “he has given up all possibility of ever detecting a real falsehood. Every time he rejects a proposition as false because it ‘contradicts’ the teaching of Scripture or because it is in some other way illogical, the proposition’s sponsor only needs to contend that it only appears to contradict Scripture or to be illogical, and that his proposition is one of the terms…of one more of those paradoxes which we have acknowledged have a legitimate  place in our ‘little systems’” (ibid.). This being the case, Christianity’s uniqueness as the only true revealed religion will die the death of a thousand qualifications.

What is our conclusion? Simply this: The Bible does not contain logical paradox. Clark is correct; any so-called logical paradoxes found in Holy Scripture are little more than charley-horses between the ears that can be removed by rational massage; they are the result of faulty exegesis, not God’s Word. Any stumbling in this area will lead to (at least) a fall into neo-orthodox nonsense.  – Does the Bible Contain Paradox?

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74 Comments on “Cornelius Van Til, Karl Barth, and The Federal Vision”

  1. greenbaggins Says:

    Jim Cassidy, not David. Very different people!

  2. Sean Gerety Says:

    Fixed. I must have been thinking of the Partridge Family.

  3. Steve M Says:

    This reminds me of Christ’s prayer to the Father for those whom the Father had given him, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is an analogy of the truth.”

  4. Jake Says:

    Because John Frame and Cornelius VanTil havent prayed to receive Gordon Clark into their hearts, like you have, I guess they are heretics damned for hell as well?

    BTW, VanTil was no Bartian. He was one of his harshest critics. To say that he was a Bartian because both men affirmed that truth can be “apparently” paradoxical because of the creator/creature distinction and the finitude of the creaturely mind is absurd. If VanTil was a Bartian for this reason then so was John Calvin, Aquinas, Augustine, the Apostle Paul, and many others who affirmed this distinction.

  5. Sean Gerety Says:

    BTW, VanTil was no Bartian. He was one of his harshest critics.

    I can see the irony is lost on you. Not surprising as you came blasting on this blog with plenty of spit and vitriol defending Leithart and looking to see if Stellman has anywhere apologized for having the gall to prosecute him. Further, you admit to your love of Romanism and your rejection of justification by faith alone and sola Scriptura.

    Consequently, Jake, your opinion is worthless. Well, not worthless entirely, since it’s people like you who claim to possess even two M.A. degrees from some so-called “Reformed” seminary that make my case.

  6. Justin Says:

    Thank you for this post, given our discussion the other day.

    Am I correct in saying that Clark believed/taught that any “paradoxes” in scripture have a logical and definite conclusion? In other words, there are things that we do not understand, but this is due to a lack of understanding on our part rather than a lack of any sort of a concrete resolution?

    Am I to understand that Van TiI taught that there are paradoxes in Scripture that have no resolution at all, or that he taught that something can be true and untrue at the same time?

    I cannot accept at this time that there are any actual paradoxes in Scripture. I can accept the presence of apparent paradox, wherein the problem is with my lack of understanding. Where does that place me?

    I know this: It places me squarely in the “I need to read more” category. 😀

  7. Jake Says:

    Justin, despite what Sean will tell you, Vantil believed that there are no real paradoxes but only apparent paradoxes because as creatures, we cannot grasp fully the infinite mind of God. Because of the epistemic limitations placed on us by our finitude, apparent paradoxes and apparent contradictions will always exist because we ‘know in Part” but these are merely illusions because in God, truth is One, whole, and perfect.

  8. Sean Gerety Says:

    Am I correct in saying that Clark believed/taught that any “paradoxes” in scripture have a logical and definite conclusion? In other words, there are things that we do not understand, but this is due to a lack of understanding on our part rather than a lack of any sort of a concrete resolution?

    Yes, absolutely.

    Am I to understand that Van TiI taught that there are paradoxes in Scripture that have no resolution at all, or that he taught that something can be true and untrue at the same time?

    Again, yes. It’s worse though. Van Til taught that two sides of any biblical paradox are necessarily both true. The reason they’re not contradictions and instead are called paradoxes, is not because they can be harmonized at the bar of human reason, but rather the contradictions we encounter in Scripture are resolved in God’s mind quite apart from his propositional revelation in Scripture. As Frame says above this is where “faith” comes in.

    Consequently, all the exegesis in the world along with the careful examination of Scripture with Scripture can never resolve these biblical paradoxes. Even more, it is a sin to even try to harmonize sticky problems in Scripture. Read Van Til’s Complaint against Clark. He accused Clark of the sin of “rationalism” because Clark claimed to have solved the paradox of God’s sovereignty and human responsibility. Van Til and his associates didn’t attack Clark’s arguments; they didn’t even deal with them. Instead they attacked Clark’s attempt at resolving this particular charley-horse. The attempt is what they deemed sinful and a failure to “think in submission” to Scripture.

    I cannot accept at this time that there are any actual paradoxes in Scripture. I can accept the presence of apparent paradox, wherein the problem is with my lack of understanding. Where does that place me?

    I think there are paradoxes in Scripture, but a paradox is something that appears to be a contradiction but on closer examination turns out to be no contradiction at all. Paradoxes by definition can be resolved at the bar of human reason. More importantly, Vantillians aren’t claiming ignorance or attributing their failure to harmonize Scripture to their lack of understanding. They are saying there are no solutions at all to the problem of biblical paradox apart from additional revelation from God which may never be forthcoming in this world or the next. Then, it only gets worse when you start to examine Van Til’s theory of analogy and his belief that the truth that God knows and what is possible for man do not coincides at any point. Van Til’s philosophy is anti-Christian and completely contrary to the truth. Instead, men calling themselves Reformed have embraced Van Til and have rejected Clark. And they wonder why men like Peter Leithart and his Federal Vision are now welcome in the PCA.

  9. Justin Says:

    I see immediately that I have been sloppy with my words, and have failed to distinguish between paradoxes and contradictions. I do see the difference, and I appreciate you pointing this out in your first paragraph and in your last. If I can sum this up (for my benefit) a paradox in Scripture is an apparent contradiction waiting to be solved.

    I’ll read Van Til’s complaint against Clark (I have not yet done this). Thanks for pointing me towards that.

    This has been a good bit of discussion for me, and has encouraged me to seek the Lord, study and learn more on this subject. I do agree that beliefs, especially on this type of subject, can have far-reaching consequences. Thanks for your time and patience, Sean.

  10. JR Says:

    Amen! This is an excellent post and ties together nicely some of the observations I’ve been making as I continue to prepare for seminary.

  11. Steve M Says:

    Justin
    Here’e a little gem to keep in mind during you search for truth.

    Van Til:
    “The law of contradiction… is but the expression on a created level of the internal coherence of God’s nature. Christians should never appeal to the law of contradiction as something that determines what can or cannot be true.”

  12. LJ Says:

    Jake: “… Because John Frame and Cornelius VanTil havent prayed to receive Gordon Clark into their hearts, like you have, I guess they are heretics damned for hell as well?”

    Hi Jake,
    I don’t know who you are but if you are a Christian you might want to reconsider uttering such a blasphemous statement as above. You are equating a man with Christ in a flippant manner; certainly Clark would never have done that and neither would any of the men that contribute to this blog.

    By the way, now that I’ve gone back through your posts I have to say you appear to be a recalcitrant jerk. That is not a blasphemous statement, just an ad hominem based on unequivocal, non-contradictory, reasoning. Why don’t you take your toys and go play elsewhere and leave us adults alone?

    LJ

  13. Sean Gerety Says:

    Thanks for your time and patience, Sean.

    My pleasure. May God bless you as you continue your study of these things. Epistemology matters. 🙂

  14. LJ Says:

    Justin: “…I’ll read Van Til’s complaint against Clark (I have not yet done this). Thanks for pointing me towards that.”

    I believe you will find, as I did, some real gems of knowledge reading both the complaint and the response. While it was clearly a trial at the time for GHC (Gordon H. Clark), the blessing is that it stimulated his mind to write things that he otherwise might not have written. We and all in the Church are the better for it.

    Man lays his plans but God controls the end!

    Blessings,
    LJ

  15. Steve M Says:

    Jake
    I certainly don’t believe that a person is saved by “praying to receive” Christ “into (his or her) heart”. Is that what you were taught is the way one is saved at that reformed seminary you allegedly attended?

  16. Justin Says:

    @Jake (and Sean)-

    Jake said:
    Justin, despite what Sean will tell you, Vantil believed that there are no real paradoxes but only apparent paradoxes because as creatures, we cannot grasp fully the infinite mind of God

    Apparent paradoxes or apparent contradictions? I see a paradox as an apparent contradiction that can be solved, or has the potential to be solved. I see a contradiction as just that- an unsolvable, irreconcilable problem.

    This is where I get lost. From what I have gathered from talking with Sean, Clark says that there are no contradictions, only apparent paradoxes that we have yet to work through.

    It seems like this is much like what Jake is saying that Van Til says.

    Is the distinction perhaps that Clark says the solutions to these problems can be known by man, and Van Til says they may or may not be knowable by man?

    I fear my comments might be simplistic for this thread. It is not my intent to reduce a discussion between smarter people than I into “amateur hour”.

    Let me put myself out for critique:

    I know that God created the universe ex nihilo. I know that this is not a paradox, but bear with me.

    I have no clue how such a thing could be done, that is, how He physically did it. I might never know how ex nihilo creation was accomplished. Knowing might well be impossible for me while in this mortal shell.

    I do not know that ex nihilo creation happened because I understand how it happened, but because of my presuppositions about Scripture. Maybe I’ll figure out how such a thing can occur someday, but probably not. Can I say I “know” ex nihilo creation happened?

    Am I a Clarkian or a VanTIllian, or is my example flawed from the get go? I know it’s not a paradox, but I think it is close enough to illustrate the nature of my question(s).

    Thanks to all for your time.

  17. Jake Says:

    Justin- Clark asserts that these apparent contradictions arent contradictions at all and can be explained through properly applying the law of non-contradiction to propostions of scripture, propositions both explicit and implied. Where there is a contradiction, the propositions need to simply be rearranged or restated until said contradiction disappears. Vantil asserts that there are apparent contradiction because our knowledge will always be limited by finitude and that any attempts to solve this apparent contradictions by appealling SOLELY to the law of non-contradictiona and neatly arranged propositons, is to submit truth to the test of rationalism, a test scripture stands above, not below. In other words, scripture stands as the authority of logic and reason rather than the other way around (which is what Clark’s position inadvertantly does according to VanTil). Logic is an invisible law. Logic is only as good as its premises or propositions that it is deducing from. Vantil rightly criticizes Clark because Clarks method forces scripture into propositions for the purpose of making them logically coherent with other propositions in scripture, despite what the actual meaning of scripture may be. Clarks approach reduces exegisis to flattening scripture into a coherent logical system. The problem with this is it places logic and reason above scripture and often forces scripture to say things that it clearly doesnt teach for the sake of coherence. For Vantil, these apparent contradictions are a result of our finitude and not because we arent interpeting scripture correctly or not using logic.

    Also realize Justin that in the grand scheme of things, there is very little distance between Clark and Vantil. However, in the spirit of the reformed tradition, Guys like Sean and others absolutuely live for declaring people heretics and apostates. They thrive on it. The similariites between differing points of view only get in the way of having really good fights. Its quite sickening actually.

  18. Sean Gerety Says:

    First, just so you know who you are speaking to, Jake rejects the historic Christian faith and is currently on his way to Rome. He rejects the sole authority of Scripture and rejects the truth of Jesus Christ and his finished cross-work on account of sin. If you’d like to learn more about Jake’s defection from the faith, see the “About” section of this blog.

    Second, not only is Jake wrong about Christianity he is also wrong about Van Till. Van Til did believe that the paradoxes of Scripture were real, but that while harmonization of seemingly contradictory teachings of Scripture was impossible for man, the were somehow resolved in the Godhead. What Van Til did say is that there are no real contradictions in Scripture. In Common Grace and The Gospel, Van Til said: “While we shun as poison the idea of the really contradictory we embrace with passion the idea of the apparently contradictory.”

    See also Robert Reymond’s discussion of Van Til at:

    http://tinyurl.com/crd339k

    Third, notice how Jake this twice degreed seminarian mishandles Scripture and says that Paul’s anticipation of the completion and close of the canon in 1 Cor 13 is instead an affirmation that the Scriptures do not logically cohere (contrary to WCF 1:5 and contrary to Jesus’ assertion that the Scriptures “cannot be broken”).

    Finally, the central error of Van Til is his application of the Creator/creature distinction to epistemology rather than limiting it to ontology where it belongs.

  19. Sean Gerety Says:

    @Justin. Interestingly, it’s been a while since I’ve read that section on “Paradox As A Hermetical Category” in Reymond’s systematic theology linked above, but he mentions your point on creation ex-nihilo directly. Frankly, I think Reymond’s discussion should settle the matter, but then I’m predisposed to believe that Christianity is a rational faith. 🙂

  20. Jake Says:

    Sean, your insistance that 1 Cor 13 is referring Paul’s anticipation of the closing of the Canon is a perfect example of Clarkian proof texting. Make note of this Justin. This is what I mean. The idea that this is the meaning behind what Paul is saying is Laughable. It is “made” to say that in order to keep the ‘system” coherent.

    Also, if the creator/creature distinction is Ontological then it is de facto epistemological as well, for Being precedes knowledge. if you are going to assert something so irrational, please show me from scripture where that is true and then how you solve the apparent contradiction of claiming epistemological Sameness with God when it clearly contradicts Isaiah 55:8-9. I presume there will be some awesome prooftexting that follows.

  21. Hugh McCann Says:

    Youse guys – don’t make me start postin’, now!


  22. One of the best definitions of a paradox I’ve seen came from one of the most brilliant physicists of the 20th century. Though not a Christian as best I can tell, he nailed this one:

    “The “paradox” is only a conflict between reality and your feeling of what reality “ought to be.”” – Dr. Richard Feynman, PhD

  23. LJ Says:

    Here we go, Isaiah 55:8-9 used to justify his position. This is old stuff. Talk about eisegesis and reading into a passage what isn’t there!

  24. Hugh McCann Says:

    Justin & JR ,

    Whether you’re headed to seminary or not, please read all you can at http://www.trinityfoundation.org – the Review Archives are rich.

    I attended Westminster Seminary in CA in the 1990s and had Kline, Strimple, & Frame. I have less vitriol toward the latter than Robbins did, but I concur with he & Sean over Van Til concerns.

    Read the Clark-Van Til Controversy by outsider H.H. Hoeksema. From that book: http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=220

    Or the Crampton stuff.*

    Hugh

    *BTW, immediately prior to the quote Sean gives in his article above, Crampton wrote this:

    Writing on this subject, Gordon Clark says, “Of course, the Scripture says God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. But is it good exegesis to say that this means His logic, His arithmetic, His truth are not ours? If this were so, what would the consequences be? It would mean not only that our additions and subtractions are all wrong, but also that all our thoughts, in history as well as in arithmetic, are all wrong.” Not so, says Clark, “we must insist that truth is the same for God and man” (The Philosophy of Gordon Clark, 76).

    What, then, are we to conclude about the alleged inclusion of logical paradox in the Bible? Enough has been said to show the serious problems raised with such a concept. But more needs to be said. Robert Reymond poses three insuperable obstacles that those averring such an errant view must deal with (Preach the Word, 30-31):

    (1) As noted above, the issue of what is and what is not a paradox is totally subjective. To universally claim that such and such a teaching is a paradox would thus require omniscience. How could any one know that this teaching had not been reconciled before the bar of someone’s human reason?

    2) Even when one claims that the seeming contradiction is merely “apparent,” there are serious problems. “[I]f actually non-contradictory truths can appear as contradictories and if no amount of study or reflection can remove the contradiction, there is no available means to distinguish between this ‘apparent’ contradiction and a real contradiction” (ibid.). How then would man know whether he is embracing an actual contradiction (which if found in the Bible [an impossibility; 1 Corinthians 14:33], would reduce the Scriptures to the same level as the contradictory Koran of Islam) or a seeming contradiction?

    3) Once one asserts (with Barth and Brunner) ….

  25. Sean Gerety Says:

    I realize exegesis is irrelevant to Jake as he has already confessed he is are prepared to defer all judgment concerning the teaching of Scripture to the Roman “magisterium” and the infallible pronouncements of the pope, Therefore, can there be any wonder why he believes that prophesy and words of knowledge will continue until Christ’s return; in his case through the so-called “infallible” tradition of the Roman church-state.. The only thing missing from Jake’s Charismatic reading of 1 Cor 13 is his belief in the ongoing existence of miraculous tongues. But then who needs the belief in miraculous tongues when Rome has mysticism down to a science.

    Jake’s latent Romanism aside, and to focus on just one of these gifts that Paul tells us will be done away with when the perfect or complete thing comes, will “knowledge” really be done away with when Christ returns? I don’t see why? I would hope we all would come to know more in glory than we do now. The question is; in what sense is “knowledge” to be understood in this context? To that point Jake’s favorite theologian Gordon Clark writes:

    The usual Protestant doctrine is that prophecy, miracles, and the gift of speaking in foreign tongues ceased at the end of the apostolic age. Second century Christian literature seems to be devoid of accounts of these gifts.

    On the other hand, did knowledge cease when the apostles died? Theologians today may well know more about what the apostles wrote than the apostles themselves; and surely we know more than did Justine Martyr (whose writings cause us to wonder whether he was a Christian at all). Besides this, we shall know more in heaven than we do today. How then can Paul say that knowledge well be abolished. Perhaps the next verse helps to answer this question. . . .

    There is one other phrase, not so far mentioned: “When the completion comes,” or “when that which is perfect comes.” This raises the question: Completion of what? It could be the completion of the canon. Miracles and tongues were for the purpose of guaranteeing the divine origin of apostolic doctrine. They ceased when the revelation was completed.

    Even the word “knowledge” is better understood this way. Instead of comparing present-day extensive study of the New Testament with Justin’s painfully inadequate understanding of the Atonement, it would be better to take “knowledge” as the apostolic process of revealing new knowledge. This was complete and revelation ceased. (211- 213)

    A little later Clark makes reference to the 149th General Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church Evangelical Synod which held that “the perfect” refers to “mature manhood, seeing clearly, and understanding fully” and this, or so we’re told, will all take place when the Lord returns as opposed to when the canon is closed. Clark replies:

    However, the study committee who wrote the report are mistaken . . . In 12:28, Paul lists the gifts apostolic authority and prophecy first. Does the Synod report wish to maintain that God has appointed some to be apostles in the tenth, fifteenth, and twentieth centuries? This would be good Romanism; but Protestants think otherwise. Surely the apostleship has ceased. Hence, the time of cessation that Paul implies is not the return of Christ, but the completion of the canon. (215)

    Beyond Clark, Victor Budgen in his excellent study, The Charismatics and the Word of God, lists more than a dozen arguments in favor of the Clark position, which was also the position of Edwards. For example, Budgen favorably quotes Douglas Judisch:

    Those who want ‘the complete thing’ of verse 10 to be the state of eternal glory argue that the first clause of verse 12 is referring to seeing Christ in a dim way throughout this life and that the second clause speaks of seeing Christ face to face in a literal sense in heaven. Such an interpretation is dubious, however, for two reasons. First, it takes ‘dimly’ (ainigmati) of the first clause figuratively, but takes the ‘face to face’ (prosopon pros prosopon) of the second clause literally; a more consistent approach to the intended contrast seems preferable. If we thought that the object of the verb blepomen (‘see’) where Christ, we should note that the concept of seeing Christ face to face occurs elsewhere in the Corinthian letters in a figurative sense (2 Cor. 3:19; 4:6). Second, however, supplying the object ‘Christ’ or ‘God’ or the like is a rather arbitrary procedure. Paul is talking about seeing someone in a mirror, whether dimly or face to face. And the face that one sees in a mirror is not the Lord’s, but one’s own (cf. James 1:23,24).

    Budgen continues…

    This is confirmed by the fact that a primary function of the completed, prefect revelation in the Scripture is to show us ourselves as we really are. It is given to explore the inner recesses of the heart: ‘The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account’ (Heb. 4:12,13). It is by the Word that we know ourselves as we are fully known to God. (81-81)

    While the above hardly exhausts the arguments in favor of the view that I Corinthians 13:8-13 was written in anticipation of the close of the canon and not the consummation, I think it is enough to show that our closet Roman Catholic friend Jake doesn’t know what he is talking about.

  26. Hugh McCann Says:

    Yowza!

    [Still figuring out that darned keyboard, are we?]

    Vantil rightly criticizes Clark because Clarks method forces scripture into propositions for the purpose of making them logically coherent with other propositions in scripture, despite what the actual meaning of scripture may be.

    Heaven forbid we make sense of the text! And just how does one come up with “the actual meaning of scripture”? Not to worry – he needn’t! It’s a (say it all together): A paradox!

    [Looks like spellcheck failed again!]

    Clarks approach reduces exegisis to flattening scripture into a coherent logical system. The problem with this is it places logic and reason above scripture and often forces scripture to say things that it clearly doesnt teach for the sake of coherence.

    1. Note perjorative “flattening” for effect. Nice!
    (We need to keep it fluffy?!)

    2. No example[s] cited. An unproven charge of Scripture-twisting.

    For Vantil, these apparent contradictions are a result of our finitude and not because we arent interpeting scripture correctly or not using logic.

    One could wish that in their humility, Van Til and his cadre would choose to write much less than they do about how inscrutable the Scripture is (or, appears to be…).

  27. Hugh McCann Says:

    Sean,

    The only addition I’d make to your post of April 5, 2013 at 3:57 pm (for those with eyes & ears), is Counterfeit Miracles:

    This book is based on a series of lectures on counterfeit miracles that Warfield delivered at Union Seminary in South Carolina in 1918. Warfield, one of the most accomplished theologians of the twentieth century, professor at Princeton Seminary, and prolific systematic theologian, expresses once again the skepticism com-manded by Christ. There are demonic miracles in the modern world; there are unscrupulous impostors; there are weak-minded and gullible churchgoers; there is the power of suggestion; but there are no divine miracles. Divine miracles had a specific purpose, and when that purpose was accomplished, divine miracles ceased. The present fascination with miracles, no longer restricted to the superstitions of the Roman Catholic Church-State, but now spread throughout the world by the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements, is not a sign of resurgent Christianity, as many have said, but a sign of resurgent paganism. The sort of religion that pervaded ancient Rome and medieval Rome has returned, just as, and because, Christianity is fading from the modern mind.

    The foreward to this book by the late John Robbins is recommended, as well: http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=241

  28. Jake Says:

    Well who needs a Magisterium when you have Gordon Clark? That’s probably the most atrocious example of eisegesis I’ve ever seen Sean. Because knowledge continues, the only thing Paul can be talking about here is the closing of the canon. What a friggin Joke. Shame on you and anyone else who does violence to sacred scripture like this. You step over the simpler meaning of the text in order to concoct a lame brain argument to support your false doctrine. You guys are lost.

  29. Denson Dube Says:

    Sean,
    “Miracles and tongues were for the purpose of guaranteeing the divine origin of apostolic doctrine.”
    This needs careful nuancing, though. No amount of miracles and tongues can guarantee the divine origin of one’s doctrine. Scripture alone guaranteed the divine origin of the apostle’s doctrine. “The Bereans were more noble than those at Thessalonica in that they received the word with more readiness and searched the scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”(Acts 17:11) They did not rely on Paul’s miraculous gifts but deffered to the authority of the scriptures.
    II Peter 1:16-21(19: We also have the prophetic word made more sure, which you do well to heed …). Pete, in this passage relates the experience he had, hearing God’s voice endorsing his Son. But he then commends the reader to the “more sure” prophetic word. The Apostles appealed to the Old Testament to prove Jesus is the Messiah. Read Pete, Steve and Paul’s sermons in the book of Acts. Jesus appealed to the scriptures to prove his Messiaship. (Luke 24:25-27, 44 – 49) Miracles accompanied the message because the message was from scripture and could be shown to be, independent of the miracles.
    Pharoah and his boys were able to take on Moses, head to head for a couple of miracles. The Bible warns against deception through false miracles and wonders. These kind of wonders are false because they accompany falsehoods, false beliefs. The way we discern the false from the genuine is not through strained and incredulous exegesis, but whether the beliefs accompanied by the miracles are scriptural. “By their fruit ye shall know them”. That is not hard at all. Deception is in the teachings, the beliefs.

    Jesus entrusted his hand picked Apostles for a temporary task(afterall they all died) which they would complete and there would be no need for the apostolic office thereafter.
    They were entrusted with God’s revelation of (1)the meaning of the OT (2)those things that had not yet been revealed in the OT, to complete God’s redemptive story(e.g.the riches of redemption, inclusion of Gentiles in the new covenant and the eschaton). These two items, constituting the teaching of the apostles plus the Old Testament forms the canon. It is only the teachings of the Apostles hand picked by Jesus that have authority. I do not accept apostolic succession, therefore. If I do not accept apostolic succession, then I do not accept new revelations, only illumination of what is written.

  30. Jake Says:

    Denson, if what you are saying is true then why would Paul and Peter appeal only to the Old Testament when trying to establish authority amongst Gentiles?

  31. LJ Says:

    Right on Dube, you almost make me want to celebrate and doobie up. If I weren’t so conservative, old, straight and decrepit … I might (sigh)!

    Seriously, though, good points 🙂 I especially like “I do not accept apostolic succession, therefore … I do not accept new revelations, only illumination of what is written.”

    Continuing revelations, the idolatry of the mass, mariolitry, popish totalitarianism all go hand in glove with a basic denial of sola-scriptura. Jettison this sola and anything goes. The mind of man is fertile and brings forth a harvest: Barthian, Brunnerian, Van Tillianism, et al …

    LJ

  32. Hugh McCann Says:

    Guys,
    Have you read [Gordon] Clark’s critique of Barth?
    I have not.
    Thoughts on / from it?

  33. LJ Says:

    Hugh, I have but felt guilty having not read Barth firsthand. While I trust Clark more than just about anyone else to give me the straight scoop I years ago made a pinky promise to myself to read the source material which, admittedly in the case of Barth, I have not.

    LJ

  34. Hugh McCann Says:

    I love the close to Robbins’ article.

    He could have titled it “Eating Barth.” 😉

    Karl Barth

  35. Hugh McCann Says:

    Anyone know of a good (readable) piece on Barth & Bonhoeffer?
    Thanks –

  36. Hugh McCann Says:

    Who needs a Magisterium when he has the Holy Spirit?!

    St John saith, But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

    +++++++++++++++++++

    Speaking of “lost guys,” St J also saith: Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us… Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.

  37. Justin Says:

    Sean-

    Thanks for that link; I’ll read it right away. I agree that epistemology matters. Although it’s doubtful that I’ll go to seminary anytime soon, being wrapped up in an MBA program (as well as the fact that I am, for one, in a geographical void of sorts as far as reformed congregations go, and at any rate have a large family to support), I do enjoy reading and studying as if I were.

    Between the links, the discussion, and the thinking that has been provoked here, I have learned quite a bit. For that, I thank all involved and will continue to “stick around” for further conversation.

    Justin

  38. Ron Says:

    Justin,

    I was about to explode but I saw you retracted some things. 🙂

    Sean,

    I wouldn’t attribute all equivocal language in the church to Van Til. Indeed, some people will hide behind paradox in order to accept contradiction, but that’s more an OPC thing. 🙂 There is a place, after all, for just muddled thinking that transcends that particular legacy.

    Grace and peace,

    Ron

  39. Jake Says:

    Hugh, if the Holy Spirit speaks directly to us Individually as to the correct interpretation of Scripture then why are there 41,000 Protestant denominations? Furthermore, where in scripture does it teach that the Holy Spirit will reveal the proper interpretation of the Bible to us INDIVIDUALLY?

    Also, why do we not see this “Holy spirit- illuminates meaning of scripture to individuals” taught in the early church and Church fathers?

    Why do we only see apostolic succession and not sola scriptura as the teaching and practice of the Church for 1500 years prior to the reformation?

    Are we to assume that the Church fell into Heresy right after the ascension and lived in this heresy for 1500 years?

  40. Hugh McCann Says:

    LJ,

    I loved the quote JR culled from Barth:

    God may speak to us through Russian Communism, through a flute concerto, through a blossoming shrub, or through a dead dog: We shall do well to listen to him if he really does so.

    Over at Stellman’s CreedCodeCult.com, an apologist for Rome named Wosbald offered:

    Of course, God is not constrained by a paradigm. He can save the Moslem or the Aborigine. The Spirit can speak in a spring breeze, a baby’s smile, the Moslem call to prayer, the grandeur of Hindu sacred art, a natural reading of the Bible as being part of Mankind’s historico-spiritual legacy, or the wisdom of a Buddhist monk. As Catholics believe, God is bound to His Sacraments, but He is not bound by them.

    Hey! Anyone here know what +JMJ+ means in the Roman jargon?

  41. Hugh McCann Says:

    Jake – Glad you’re home! (I wagger your wanting to chat…)

    1. B/c not all things are alike plain in Writ. You’re looking for a centralized, tidy, tightly-run organization with all its t’s crossed & i’s dotted. Rome (or the LDS) fits the bill well.

    I see Christ’s body’s unity as being in the essentials: [a] His divine/ human person, & [b] His death and resurrection as being the sole ground of our justification.

    2. Wherever it speaks to us. I quoted from I John 2, above. I could add the Gospels, the Psalms, 2 Tim. 3:15-17 (your favorite!), and almost anywhere in the Bible.

    3. Maybe we do. We need to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the Word before we can begin to dissect the “fathers.”

    Or, we could just implicitly believe the paters and let them interpret Writ for us.

    4. B/c the church grew increasingly dark and apostate.

    5. “The Church”? Or, THE CHURCH? However boldly, loudly, and officiously you want to say it, I shrug and yawn. I go first and last to Holy Writ. That is my standard by which I judge your CHURCH. Unlike your tribe, I do not judge the Bible by THE CHURCH. (Ominous music, here.)

  42. LJ Says:

    Hugh, best I can tell it’s a brand logo. Maybe …

    http://www.totallycatholic.com/

    LJ

  43. LJ Says:

    Hugh, you need to get busy NOW, bro, somebody told me or I read somewhere Barth’s Dogmatics runs on about 1 million words. You should be done somewhere bout the time righteousness fills the earth 😉

    LJ

  44. LJ Says:

    Barth did write some cool things. This quoted by Clark:

    “Significant knowledge of God cannot be had, argues Barth, if “we reserve the question to which the doctrine of the Trinity is the answer (namely, Who God is) and deal first with his existence and his nature, as if this That and What could be determined otherwise than on the presupposition of the Who” (Church Dogmatics, I, 345). On the next page he continues, “If we do not know God in the way in which he reveals himself as the one, namely, distincte in tribus personis, the inevitable result is that nudum et inane duntaxat Dei nomen sine vero Deo in cerebro nostro volitat” (Calvin, Institutes, I.xiii.2). Or, in English, if we do not know God as one substance in three Persons, the inevitable result is a blank, empty name floating in our brains without any idea of the true God.”

    Excerpt From: Clark, Gordon. “God’s Hammer: The Bible and Its Critics (Gordon Clark).” The Trinity Foundation. iBooks.
    This material may be protected by copyright.

    This, I think, is the KEY to refuting all cosmological arguments. CAEG’s all end up with either the wrong god or no God at all. My two cents worth.

    Get to go to Church now and worship God in Christ. My friend, the most knowledgeable and devoted Clarkian I know (cept maybe Sean!) is preaching today on Romans 9 …

    Can’t wait,

    LJ

  45. Hugh McCann Says:

    Thanks, LJ.

    BTW, +JMJ+ = Jesus, Mary, Joseph, a guy @ CreedCodeCult tells me.

    Now, what’s “LJ” stand for? (The letters – we know what the man stands for!)

    On reading Barth – I recall when John Piper started his love affair with RIck Warren, all b/c the latter had read through Edwards’s works one year. The next year, Warren read through Barth. Fo gigure.

  46. LJ Says:

    Ugh … Legendary Jedi?

    Nothing so exciting. Would you believe Larry Jones? Boooorrrring 🙂

    LJ

  47. Denson Dube Says:

    Jake,
    “Denson, if what you are saying is true then why would Paul and Peter appeal only to the Old Testament when trying to establish authority amongst Gentiles?”
    Not sure I get your question, but I would hazard a guess and say perhaps they believed in sola scriptura! We accept their interpretation of scripture(OT) as scripture also because they were sent by Jesus. Hence analogia fide(the analogy of faith — scripture interprets scripture), another pillar of the Protestant Reformation.

  48. Denson Dube Says:

    LJ,
    “Right on Dube, you almost make me want to celebrate and doobie up. If I weren’t so conservative, old, straight and decrepit … I might (sigh)!”
    LOL. Thank you for the kind comments.

  49. Jake Says:

    @Denson-I think you are going to need a little help here Denson. If your positions assumes that pagan gentiles believed in Sola Scriptura then your argument is rediculous. You arent being rational here, at all. I realize that your faith lives and dies on a “form” of Sola Scriptura but what you are saying goes way beyond that of the reformers and the Westminster standards.

  50. Denson Dube Says:

    Jake,
    It is the apostles who quoted the scriptures and therefore believed “sola scriptura”, not the pagan Gentiles. How you can even suggest that I meant gentiles believed in sola scriptura, who do not even have the Hebrew scriptures, is beyond me. Is that a charitable reading of others? Theological education must be much worse than public education!

  51. Jake Says:

    Denson, I can see that you, like Sean and Hugh, have joined in on the Christian charitable tone. Way to make Jesus proud bud!

    You took exception to a point that Sean was making that the use of tongues and miracles was to establish the divine origin of apostolic authority. Instead, you went on diatribe about Sola Scriptura which makes no sense because Sean was essentially correct in that the tongues he was referring to were for unbelievers. Its clear from the book of acts that tongues were used in the presence of non-jewish audiences Acts 2:1-13. That was the context of what Sean said and thats why your diatribe about Sola Scriptura made no sense.

  52. Denson Dube Says:

    Jake,
    “You took exception to a point that Sean was making that the use of tongues and miracles was to establish the divine origin of apostolic authority.”
    Yes I did. Historic events can neithe be true nor false. They cannot establish the truth. Rather, they require an explanation. Hence miracles depend on the message. The message does not depend on the miracles.
    I got all this from that idiot Clark.

  53. justbybelief Says:

    Thanks for the papist’s quote, Hugh. I’ve had a rough couple of work-weeks and I needed a good belly laugh.It seems that through Gods providence, I came to the right place.

    Of course, God is not constrained by a paradigm. He can save the Moslem or the Aborigine. The Spirit can speak in a spring breeze, a baby’s smile, the Moslem call to prayer, the grandeur of Hindu sacred art, a natural reading of the Bible as being part of Mankind’s historico-spiritual legacy, or the wisdom of a Buddhist monk. As Catholics believe, God is bound to His Sacraments, but He is not bound by them.

    Hmmm…’a spring breeze’ eh?

    I suppose if one can be saved by a smiling baby, a cooing baby would be worth his weight in gold. Maybe he could lengthen legs or heal a withered arm.

    A friend of a friend claims he got saved watching the movie Terminator. Now that’s a miracle!

    This is much like the Van Tillian notion of having faith in what one cannot know.

    Eric


  54. In a recent Christianity Today article, Dr. Michael Horton said that the distinction between justification by faith alone and sanctification is a “paradox”. He said that in regards to the homosexuality debate. Is it any wonder that Van Tilians are doubleminded? I understand that certain things in Scripture are hard to understand. But as Dr. Gordon H. Clark once said presupposing that there are errors in the Bible is the cause of doubting Scripture. Presupposing that there are no errors in the Bible–because the Bible claims to have no errors–is the cause of faith. So by that same logic presupposing that there are unsolvable paradoxes, antinomies, and contradictions in the Bible undermines biblical faith. Either we start with the axiom that Scripture alone is the Word of God or we end up ultimately in skepticism. Mike Horton’s ambiguity is just another example of that.

    Also, after studying The Trinity and The Incarnation and reading Christian Philosophy and A Christian View of Men and Things, I came to conclude that I was way wrong to accuse the late Dr. Clark of Nestorianism. In fact, it would appear that that accusation has been a perennial one against Reformed theology of the incarnation. There are solutions to the “apparent” problems in Scripture if we would take the time to think logically. While I may not have all the answers, presupposing there is no answer from the get go leads to agnosticism, doubt and unbelief. This is not “fideism”, folks. It’s biblical presuppositionalism. Without that foundation all theological knowledge of univocal revelation is meaningless existentialism. That was why I left the Pentecostal movement. I realized that personal experience is untrustworthy. Maybe my experiences were simply ecstatic delusions of self-deception? But the Word of God is forever settled in the heavens. (Psalm 119:89).

    Charlie J. Ray


  55. Sean said:

    Again, yes. It’s worse though. Van Til taught that two sides of any biblical paradox are necessarily both true. The reason they’re not contradictions and instead are called paradoxes, is not because they can be harmonized at the bar of human reason, but rather the contradictions we encounter in Scripture are resolved in God’s mind quite apart from his propositional revelation in Scripture. As Frame says above this is where “faith” comes in.

    Unfortunately at Covenant Presbyterian Church, Lakeland, Florida this is also the prevalent teaching. Dr. David McWilliams said that the solution to the paradox is above the “anvil”. In other words, if God’s Word is a hammer, you can’t know the solution until you get to heaven. The cable is tied above the beam somewhere. Paradox is a genuine contradiction in your mind here on earth because there is no solution here.

    No wonder the PCA is going in the Federal Vision direction. To his credit, Dr. McWilliams is opposed to the Federal Vision. Like other Van Tilians, however, he cannot bring himself to face up to the fact that dialectical theology is the root of the Norman Shepherd error. Shepherd and Van Til were good buddies, weren’t they?

  56. Sean Gerety Says:

    Shepherd and Van Til were good buddies, weren’t they?

    Yes, and it is well known that at the height of the Shepherd controversy VT made an impassioned appeal in his defense. Now, VT’s defenders claim that he was old and dotty at the time and perhaps he was. I don’t even care if VT opposed Shepherd to his face as he should have. The point as you say is that VT’s view of biblical paradox is what gave birth to Shepherd and the entire FV controversy, yet men are too blinded by their devotion to the man to see it much less acknowledge it.

  57. justbybelief Says:

    But…there are SMILING CHILDREN there.

    And, they have Covenant Pianists,
    and Covenant Chimes. And of course, it wouldn’t be complete without the Wind (as noted above) Ensemble.

  58. Hugh McCann Says:

    Charlie, is this admission an indication of repentance?

    I came to conclude that I was way wrong to accuse the late Dr. Clark of Nestorianism.

  59. Sean Gerety Says:

    Hugh, Charlie had a major change of heart. He contacted me a few weeks ago on FB and whatever was between us is no longer.

  60. Hugh McCann Says:

    Sean,

    I eagerly await his answer, then! As well as his public apology here @ the ‘Hammer, where he was less than cordial.

  61. Sean Gerety Says:

    Let it go Hugh.

  62. Pht Says:

    Hmm. Rather late to this party, I am … 🙂

    Jake Says:

    April 5, 2013 at 1:53 pm
    Justin- Clark asserts that these apparent contradictions arent contradictions at all and can be explained through properly applying the law of non-contradiction to propostions of scripture, propositions both explicit and implied. Where there is a contradiction, the propositions need to simply be rearranged or restated until said contradiction disappears.

    The nice thing about not being deceptive is that people can understand you, even if they disagree with you, as jake has done here with clark. Of course, it leaves honest people at a disadvantage in discussions and arguments with those who will flat out lie to your face and tell you that they didn’t say what they just said – “stresses” and “paradoxes” (and so on, ad nausem) – catch phrases of those who realize that if they were open and honest, they would be condemned by those they are trying to win over to their nonsense teachings. This sort of thing is nothing new in the visible church. Witness Arminius’s teaching in his classroom vs his teaching outside of it because of his fear of Gomarus.

    Vantil asserts that there are apparent contradiction because our knowledge will always be limited by finitude…

    As has already been posted elsewhere in these comments: “Writing on this subject, Gordon Clark says, “Of course, the Scripture says God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. …”

    …and that any attempts to solve this apparent contradictions by appealling SOLELY to the law of non-contradictiona and neatly arranged propositons, is to submit truth to the test of rationalism, a test scripture stands above, not below.

    Hnh… you’re equating the use of logic to understand biblical propositions in relation to each other with rationalism, and yet rationalism by definition means something different – rationalism is the idea that man can find truth via his mind alone. Interesting fallacy; though anyone who is careful with their definitions of the various “isms” can see the gross error here. Mere use of one’s mind does not make one a rationalist… indeed, a rationalist wouldn’t even engage in trying to harmonize the scriptures – they would refute even the use of the scripture for gaining even a single premise.

    Rather interesting strawman you’ve erected here.

    The real irony of this is that *ANY* reading of scripture, at *ANY* valid level, requires man to use the laws of logic to arrange the scriptures into an understandable logical system of propositions. Even an understanding of just the first verse of the bible requires the use of logic to arrange propositions. For that matter, one must use the laws of logic just to even understand a single letter… let alone a word.

    Your criticism of using logic to understand scripture here inevitably leads to the destruction of all understanding.

    In other words, scripture stands as the authority of logic and reason rather than the other way around (which is what Clark’s position inadvertantly does according to VanTil).

    Even I, being a poor broke bum with no money to buy books, and thus only having read the Trinity Reviews and a very few of Clarks books … know that clark asserted that logic is inherent in scripture; and that the rules of logic may be deduced from scripture.

    Logic is an invisible law. Logic is only as good as its premises or propositions that it is deducing from. Vantil rightly criticizes Clark because Clarks method forces scripture into propositions…

    By your standard, it’s even wrong for me to say that the first verse of the bible means that when time started, God created the universe. In fact, I have to do what you’re condemning just to understand what the word “In” means in the first verse, because I have to determine what the context around it means – so I have to “flatten” the language of scripture into a logical system of context and definition and grammar, and place it “under” logic.

    If you truly believe that this criticism you are leveling is right you should suit that belief, and be quiet on the meaning of scripture; even the smallest part, because ANY reading of scripture at ANY level requires one to “subject” the scriptures to what you’re (falsely) calling “rationalism.”

    Which will it be? Will you be consistent with what you’ve already posted? Or will you show by your actions that you do not believe in the truth of your criticism?

    for the purpose of making them logically coherent with other propositions in scripture, despite what the actual meaning of scripture may be.

    The use of logic does not put meanings into scripture that are not present in it. Only our failing to use logic or our failing to use it properly can “put” meanings into the scripture that scripture does not contain.

    The problem with this is it places logic and reason above scripture and often forces scripture to say things that it clearly doesnt teach for the sake of coherence.

    Now all you have to do (if you care that anyone who’s on the fence should agree with you) is pick something that someone has said about what the bible means, which conclusion they came to by the means of what you’re falsely calling “rationalism,” that you disagree with… and use some system OTHER than “appealing SOLELY to the law of non-contradictiona and neatly arranged propositons.”

    … this I am very interested to see.

    For Vantil, these apparent contradictions are a result of our finitude and not because we arent interpeting scripture correctly or not using logic.

    This is apparently one of the biggest if not the biggest differences (in my opinion) between clark and van till – a disagreement over what “man’s finitude” is in relation to God.

    Also realize Justin that in the grand scheme of things, there is very little distance between Clark and Vantil. However, in the spirit of the reformed tradition, Guys like Sean and others absolutuely live for declaring people heretics and apostates. They thrive on it. The similariites between differing points of view only get in the way of having really good fights. Its quite sickening actually.

    I contend that Jesus (God) was a name-caller and a fighter too – just ask the pharisee’s who he called sons of the devil (merely calling them heretics would have been nicer)- and that because the rest of the scriptures are equally his handiwork, that God also said he wished the galatian judiazers would physically emasculate themselves… and how about in the book of Amos when he called the women of bashan “cows” … let’s not even discuss what he said in Ezekiel 16… or, for goodness sakes, Ezekiel 23! In fact, God even goes further – he condemns people to eternal conscious torment as a just judgment over “little things” that differ from what he says should be believed. The failings of the fellows in the trinity foundation/etc is not in calling people heretics and apostates; but rather for not perfectly following the biblical standards for when, where, and how to do so… though I must say, I haven’t seen them fail to properly do so yet.

    Feel free to rebuke me from the bible, but again, don’t appeal solely to the law of non-contradiction (logic) … or arrange your refutation into a coherent set of propositions. I just ask that you follow your own standards.


  63. Hugh, I apologize to you and anyone else that I may have offended. Although it does not excuse my ignorance, I allowed Drake Shelton to provoke my trigger finger. As you have noticed my suspicions about Shelton’s theology have proved to have been justified, even though I was wrong about the rest of you. I should learn not to judge an entire group by one person who comments here.

    Robert L. Reymond, despite his shortcomings, said that we do not worship the human “nature” of Jesus Christ. (Human person). Reformed theology has often been accused of Nestorianism by the Lutherans and others. Looking at it from that angle and from the two wills view of 681 A.D. it is much easier to see how that fits with the incarnation. Of course, Chalcedon is ambiguous as Clark said.

    I still tend to support it because it is part of the Confession but I don’t think that would rule out the two persons, two wills view as unified in the man, Jesus Christ.

    Anyway, I don’t want to get any tempers flaring again so I will leave it at that.

    Please accept my apology.

    It seems to me that Scripturalism is the best answer to the modern irrationalism we see in the Evangelical world at large. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of Clark’s works as time permits. I’m slow:)

    May God grant His peace to all who believe the Scriptures,

    Charlie

  64. Hugh McCann Says:

    Charlie,

    Thank you for this. May any who’ve been offended in the past find forgiveness easy to access.

    For my part, I gladly accept your apology and of course forgive you for your sometimes strong condemnations.

    I totally agree with your assessment of the situation in paragraph one. Again, thank you, brother.

    May God be pleased to help us all grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!


  65. In regards to the alleged “rationalism” of Gordon H. Clark, I would like to ask how Jake can understand the Bible if the Bible is not a logical, rational revelation from God? Maybe he “feels” the truth? Since logic is necessary to understand language, it follows that the words of Scripture are logical and rational–otherwise Scripture is just meaningless ink on paper.

    I just purchased the new e-book on theology and language and look forward to reading that one…

    Peace,

    Charlie


  66. Thanks, Hugh… God bless. Yes, you’re a brother in Christ even if we don’t always see eye to eye. I’m still learning:)

  67. LJ Says:

    @Pht: Even I, being a poor broke bum with no money to buy books, and thus only having read the Trinity Reviews and a very few of Clarks books …

    I believe you’re much richer than you may possibly realize since even a “little” GHC goes a long, long way 🙂

    Many who may be materially richer, loaded up with college degrees, etc., are really beggars at the bar of truth since they fail to read GHC yet still think they’re educated.

    I’d personally rather be in your shoes than theirs!

    LJ

  68. Denson Dube Says:

    LJ,
    I do not think I would be stretching things if I said one’s education is deficient if they have not read and understood in good measure Augustine Aurelius, John Calvin and Gordon Clark, besides of course, the Bible.

  69. Jake Says:

    @Pft- yeah I agree that I was sloppy in my reference to Clark as a rationalist. I am a big believer in using proper terms and Clark is certaintly not a rationalist in the sense that Descarte was.

    @Charlie- Of course Scripture and God’s revelation is rational. However, to say that God’s revelation is logical and rational therefore scripture should be reduced into propostions for the purpose of arranging it into an air tight system, is a false conclusion. Clark’s epistemology is built upon an erroneous assumptions about the nature of scripture and language itself.

  70. LJ Says:

    … Augustine Aurelius, John Calvin and Gordon Clark, besides of course, the Bible.

    Agreed, these at a minimum, with the Bible in the forefront.

    LJ

  71. Pht Says:

    LJ Says:

    April 14, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    I believe you’re much richer than you may possibly realize since even a “little” GHC goes a long, long way 🙂

    Many who may be materially richer, loaded up with college degrees, etc., are really beggars at the bar of truth since they fail to read GHC yet still think they’re educated.

    I’d personally rather be in your shoes than theirs!

    LJ

    I’d say it a little more like GHC is so worthwhile because when you read his work, you read so little of him.

    You do get a lot of God’s word, though.

    The best teachers are merely the clearest mirrors to God’s revelation to us.

    Jake Says:

    April 15, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    @Pft- yeah I agree that I was sloppy in my reference to Clark as a rationalist. I am a big believer in using proper terms and Clark is certaintly not a rationalist in the sense that Descarte was.

    In light of this, than what can your objection be to clark’s using logic to exegete scripture and compare scripture with scripture in order to harmonize the various propositions in God’s word?

    How could anyone truthfully and validly complain at doing this, as even God himself has shown himself doing this, in the bible? For example, the false dilemma which God breaks by pointing out that God is not the God of the dead, where he does exactly that… exegetes, arranges the propositions exegeted, and harmonizes them, in order to answer a supposedly impossible paradox” … ?


  72. As evidence that my views have changed more in favor of Clark’s view of the Incarnation: Book Review: The Omnipresence of Christ

  73. Scott Says:

    Amen. Relativism and “paradox” are enemies of the Christian faith.
    An atheist trying to quote-mind Van-tillians to prove that they are irrational would have a field day.
    If something in the scriptures appears contradictory to our reason, it is we who are mistaken, and not the Word of God. To quote Luther: “With the same rashness any one may cover his own eyes, or go from the light into the darkness and hide himself, and then blame the day and the sun for being obscure. Let, therefore, wretched men cease to impute, with blasphemous perverseness, the darkness and obscurity of their own heart to the all-clear scripture of God” (The Bondage of Will).


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