Friday, December 07, 2012

The Debater's Potter - Part 19 - Chapter 13

Welcome again to the series of articles I'm calling The Debater's Potter where I respond to and interact with Dr. James R. White's book The Potter's Freedom: A Defense of the Reformation and The Rebuttal of Norman Geisler's Chosen But Free which I will refer to using the acronym TPF. I have previously read Dr. Norman Geisler's Chosen But Free(CBF) and agree with the overall position he presents but not with all of the details he supplies or his interpretations of some passages of Scripture.

For the first time in this series I am writing with the full knowledge of the book. Early Wednesday morning I finished reading it. Throughout the series I have been concerned with Prov 18:13. So I have been working very hard to ensure I fully understand each of his points. I have been reading ahead of where I am writing as an additional safeguard. Even with my concerns I wanted to have a near real-time interaction with the book. In my opinion this type of interaction demands honesty and thoroughness. Since I've been making statements all along, if my views were incorrect they would be exposed as such. As deeply as I've been investigating what Dr. White has been teaching I have also been revealing my own views and allowing them to be tested. By doing it as I go I cannot (at least not very easily) protect any potential weakness in my own doctrine, and that's a good thing.

If you're new to this series of articles please start waaaaay back at the Introduction where you'll find an index with links to all these articles. In attempt to keep these articles at short as possible I'm not repeating much information that has already been established. 

Last time we finished up Chapter 12 by looking at what Dr. White calls the "most obvious" verses which teach that "saving faith is a gift of God" in his defense of the doctrine of Irresistible Grace. This time we'll be looking at the 13th chapter which is simply titled Irresistible Grace. Let's get into it:

Irresistible Grace 

"The idea that God would sovereignly change a sinner from a God-hater to a God-lover by the exercise of divine power seems especially reprehensible to Dr. Geisler."
Perhaps it is not that God "would" do this, but that your doctrine is simply not found in the Scriptures that Dr. Geisler has issue with.

White offers some discussion of the "Earlier Augustine" vs the "Later Augustine" with regard to his changing views on Calvnistic doctrines and some discussion about how Dr. Geisler characterizes pre-faith regeneration as a violation. Neither discussion is of any particular interest to me... it's all just arguing about semantics that have nothing to do with the Scriptures. 

Getting to some scripture, he tries to defend his pre-faith regeneration doctrine. He brings up Psa 105:25 and Jos 11:20. One must ask if these verses match the doctrine he is trying to use them to defend. Do they match by either stating it directly - that God raises dead sinners to life so they will believe in Him - or by demonstrating that God does this. In both cases I can say no these verses have no bearing on the subject. For in neither case do we find God changing the bent of a person. Were these people Israel-lovers whom God changed into Israel-haters? Of course not. God hardened their will, the same thing He did with Pharaoh. God is not the author of their hate, He simply used it for His purposes.

Next up he quotes Isa 63:17 and this verse is a special case. The Calvinist who has primarily only studied works by teachers such as Dr. White may well be tempted to say 'Got Ya!' Last time I talked about how God is not the author of sin. He does not decree sin. He did not make you and I do the sins we do. He did not make Satan do the sin he does. Let's read the verse and see how that fits with Scripture however.

Isa 63:17

Lord, why have You made us stray from Your ways,And hardened our heart from Your fear?Return for Your servants’ sake,The tribes of Your inheritance.
We're going to have a bit of a discussion about this verse but, doesn't this say that God made them sin? Isn't that what it says? No, it says this is what Israel was saying to God. Yes it is inspired Scripture. This is really what Israel was saying to God, and that doesn't mean it presents good doctrine. My first thought was of how Adam tried the same thing when he said to God that the woman He gave her made him do it. Gen 3:12

My next thought was that this sounds much like praying to God to "lead us not into temptation" which is to say to lead us away from temptation, not a prayer that He wouldn't lead us into it. Matt 6:13

Then I went to look at the Hebrew, but the truth is I'm simply not very good with Hebrew. It's an entirely different kind of language than Greek and English. It is a language of experience, imagery and observation. Frankly, that leaves a lot of room for poor interpretation by someone with limited skill. I looked and found that the word "made" is not even in the sentence... then I found out that the word for "to stray" has causality in it's form. I'm out of my depth here in Hebrew.

While I am reasonably satisfied that the verse doesn't teach doctrine, but teaches the excuses and fears of people, I was not comfortable with my lack of specific knowledge about the verse. I have access to Hebrew helps, but I don't have time to become skilled in using them. So I visited Google; something that can be helpful and/or very dangerous.

I must note that the following extra-biblical resources are not offered as authority on the subject. In the Scripture we find the Prophet Isaiah relaying Israel's complaint and we find God spending the next few chapters explaining His wrath toward the nation. Their excuse is therefore hardly to be taken as something to build doctrine on. There is more however, the Israelites were afraid of the condition they found themselves in. It is a weighty passage deserving of much more than simply quoting one verse out of a parade of chapters in the entire passage.

No I offer the following to show that Dr. White, in his extreme attempt to prove his doctrine, violates even his much beloved historic Reformed Theology.

Through Google I found John Calvin's commentary on the verse here. (scroll down to commentary on Vs 17) It seems that John Calvin did not agree with using the verse the way that Dr. White does. The passage is too long to quote here and maintain context so I will ask you to visit the page and read the commentary on Vs 17 yourself. In short, Calvin states that the sin of Israel is not by design of God that they are in fact themselves guilty of their own sin. God didn't make them do it, but that because He withdraws His Spirit from those who harden their hearts He leaves them too it.

I also found a quote from Dr. White's beloved Westminster Confession (scroll to Section 17.3 and click on ref numbers to see scripture references below).

Section 17.3.—Nevertheless they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins; [Matt 26:70,72,74] and for a time continue therein: [Ps 51:14] whereby they incur God's displeasure, [Isa 64:5,7,9; 2 Sam 11:27] and grieve his Holy Spirit; [Eph 4:30] come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts; [Ps 51:8,10,12; Rev 2:4; Song 5:2-4,6] have their hearts hardened, [Isa 63:17; Mark 6:52; Mark 16:14] and their consciences wounded; [Ps 32:3-4; Ps 51:8] hurt and scandalize others, [2 Sam 12:14] and bring temporal judgments upon themselves. [Ps 89:31-32; 1 Cor 11:32]
It is apparent that John Calvin himself, and even the Westminster Confession agree that the hardening of hearts comes after the free act of one's own decision. Not that God is the author of sin, or even the initiator of hard hearts. I've said the same things myself in articles like Pharaoh's Hard Heart Did't Start With God and The Drawing of God.

So, even if the words of Israel objecting to God could be used to establish doctrine on if God is the author of sin or not even the Calvinists agree that this passage does not say that God "made" them sin.

Could this be an example of Dr. White being "more Calvinistic than John Calvin" and thereby make him recognizable as an "Extreme Calvinist"? *smile* I simply could not resist... the temptation to make this joke was irresistible... oh someone make me stop!! It's your fault I'm making these jokes because you're not stopping me!!! ;)

Next up Dr. White quotes Jer 32:40. Of course he does so with the purpose of defending his idea that God regenerates people who don't believe in Him. That He turns "God-haters into God-lovers" so they can believe in Christ... Yet what the Prophet Jeremiah is offering here is a promise to a people who love God, Israel. A people who knew and believed in God, Israel. A people who desperately wanted to be obedient in their love but endlessly found that capacity to be simply not in them, Israel. This is not a promise to the Elect. Further, it doesn't fit with Dr. White's premise because this New Covenant will be ratified when Israel says of the Lord Jesus Christ "Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the LORD!" They will get these blessings in their hearts AFTER they believe in and confess Christ is Lord.

The Issue of Omnibenevolence

The word Omni means "all, universally." Benevolence means to be charitable, kind. The term Omnibenevolence means to be universally kind or charitable to all. Thats' just what the word means. There is no secrete theological back story here; no hidden agenda. It's just a word, and that's just what it means. 

Dr. White quotes Dr. Geisler on the subject of the Calvinistic doctrine of partiality in God with regard to love: 
"...But if the real reason they go to hell is that God does not love them, irresistibly regenerate them, and give them faith to believe, then their failure to believe truly would result from God's lack of love for them." 
Seems pretty straight forward doesn't it? If God, in the past, blinded all men and left them Totally Unable to believe, and if God must regenerate people to change them from God-haters into God-lovers, then ultimately anyone's failure to believe, or even love God, is actually the result of God's lack of love for them. On a side note; I am then drawn to ask - what offense is this to God then? I mean do you think there's someone in say Chicago who doesn't know you, who doesn't believe in you, who doesn't love you....someone who would believe in you if you revealed yourself to them, who may even love you if you loved them.... but you haven't and they don't. Further you've gone out of your way to ensure they can't ever find out about you. Does their lack of belief in you, and love for you offend you? Do you think they should be punished? Have they wronged you by not seeking you out? Calvinism makes God into an irrational being.... but that's just a side note. 

Dr. White responds to Geisler with:
"Here is CBF's summary of the Reformed position. Men go to hell because God did not love them and save them. God didn't love them enough..." 
And your argument against this is?
"What can be said in response to this? The single most fundamental rebuttal of this erroneous argument is simply this: Arminians should well consider why they demand that God have less freedom in His actions and His love than they grant to the creature man?... the key problem with Geisler's attack is that it demands that God's love be indiscriminate. While man has the freedom to love those closest to him with a particular love that is not given to anyone else, God is not granted this freedom. If He is to be 'all loving' then His love is to have no distinctions, no freedom, not particularity." 
OK I'm confused was Geisler's statement erroneous as Dr. White said, or true because God has the freedom to love with "particularity"? This isn't a rebuttal, it does not prove Dr. Geisler's summary of the Reformed Position as being false. No, it is a supposed defense of that same position. Dr. White is simply saying that it is OK for God to love one and not another..."in the same way"... because God should have at least have the same freedom that man has... to love those who are closest to Him more or differently than those who are farther away. 

Here's the problem, Dr. White claims that God is "omnibenevolent" which means God is charitable, or kind to all, universally. It does not mean that God is charitable, or kind to just some people... say the ones He has "chosen" to be kind to. 

Now I can defend God's omnibenevolence from the Scripture easily. John 3:16. For God loved the whole creation in this way, that He gave His only begotten Son that any who believe shall not perish but have ever lasting life. In my book Fail-Safe for Fallacy, I use this verse as a demonstration of how good hermeneutics can help you understand small but important details in the Bible. The word "so" in the verse means "in this way" not "so very much." God's omnibenevolence is that He gave His only begotten Son for everyone, universally. Here we see that God has loved everyone, and in exactly the same way: omnibenevolence. 

But what of Dr. White's claim that God ought to have the "same freedom" as the creature, man? Does man claim to be all loving? Does anyone ascribe omnibenevolence to man? Is man capable of selfless agape love? Is not our "freedom" to show partiality simply a manifestation of how we fall short of the glory of the God Who as the Apostle Peter preached "Shows no partiality"? Acts 10:34 Are we not warned against judgment for showing partiality ourselves by the Brother of the Lord, James? James 2:1-13 We'll see shortly how Dr. White complains about illustrations that portray a person in the roll of God for the purposes of making a point because it reduces God to the level of man and supposedly impacts the reception of the teaching. Yet here Dr. White has no issue with reducing God's love to that of sinful man in order to make his point. 

He goes so far at one point as to write:

"We exercise choice in our love relationships, knowing how costly true love is, and how precious it is."
Would it be too costly for God to love everyone?

No matter if you agree with Dr. White that God ought to have the freedom to choose who He loves and who He doesn't, or you don't - if God does not love all then He is not omnibenevolent. 

In the end the issue isn't about freedom at all. It is about God's Word, and our belief of it or our demand that God be who we want Him to be instead of Who He is. Could God love only this or that person? I assume He could... I assume He has that "freedom." However, my assumptions bow to the Scriptures where we find that God has loved the whole creation, the Kosmos, by giving His Son. 

To be fair White goes on to say that it is a "pure misrepresentation" to say that the only reason men go to Hell is because God didn't love them because God sends people there out of justice. That He is under no obligation to save anyone from the just judgment of their sins.  Yet, were not the Elect also just as guilty, just as deserving of Hell? In a previous chapter Dr. White assured us that the Calvinists believes this to be so. So then what is the difference between those who are saved and those who never can be in the Calvinist system? That God loved the one and not the other... After writing that Dr. Geisler's summary is "pure misrepresentation" he finishes with:

"There is a single five-letter word that will separate the vilest sinner screaming epithets at God from the parapet of hell and the most adoring saint in heaven showering Him with praises: G R A C E. Nothing else." 
So um... based on how Dr. White defines this grace as being "resurrection power"... how exactly is Dr. Geisler offering "pure misrepresentation" as a summary of the Reformed position? He's not of course, but some doctrines of Calvinism are not very pretty when they are just stated out right. They need fancy names and long sermons to make them seem to come from God, but when stated plainly the transformed mind rejects it outright. Rom 12:2

Before we move on I would like to comment on a somewhat side issue that Dr. White brings up here.

"And, hell exists, and men will be punished therein, to demonstrate both His perfect justice as well as the glory of His grace upon those that He freely chose to bring to Himself."
We are told that hell exists because God prepared it for Satan and Satan's angels. Mat 25:41 Nowhere do we read in Scripture that it exists to demonstrate His justice or His grace. In fact God's perfect justice was demonstrated at the Cross. Rom 3:23-26 

Dr. White spends a few pages talking about how apparently Dr. Geisler's view is that God "tries and tries, but fails" to save sinners. It actually becomes irritating he repeats this Straw-Man Argument so many times in this chapter. He argues against the idea that God is obligated to show mercy to sinners, or owes sinners mercy.... again Dr. Geisler offers no such doctrine. Should one like to know what Dr. Geisler actually says they can start with Part 7: A Brief View of Chosen But Free, but reading the book would be a better option. Simply reading TPF alone is not be a viable option for forming an accurate opinion on the subject.

After more discussion about how man can choose who he will and will not love, so God must be allowed the same "freedom" Dr. White quotes a 'parable' that Dr. Geisler uses to show that the Calvinists present God as NOT being omnibenevolent. 

"Suppose a farmer discovers three boys drowning in his pond where he had placed signs clearly forbidding swimming. Further, noting their blatant disobedience he says to himself, 'They have violated the warning and have broken the law, and they have brought these deserved consequences on themselves.' Thus far he is manifesting his sense of justice. But if the farmer proceeds to say 'I will make no attempt to rescue them,' we would immediately perceive that something is lacking in his love. And suppose by some inexplicable whim he should declare: 'Even though the boys are drowning as a consequence of their own disobedience, nonetheless, out of the goodness of my heart I will save one of them and let the other two drown.' In such a case we would surely consider his love to be partial and imperfect."
Now before I quote some of Dr. White's concerns, do I really need to point out that parables created by man, to help man illustrate a point so that it can be understood will ALWAYS FALL SHORT OF ALL THE INTRICACIES OF THE SCRIPTURES? Does anyone reading this expect that every possible detail about the nature of God will be accurately portrayed in this parable? Will the point fail if some aspect of God is left out of the parable?

After noting that he'll be borrowing from C. Samuel Storms' response, ever the master debater Dr. White begins his response with:

"The major problem with the parable is not what it does say but what it doesn't say. It is the entire blocks of truth that are ignored that allows one to conclude that the loving God who redeems an unworthy people is in fact less than all loving."
Look, if you love one but not the other you are not "all loving." I know Calvinists have a hard time with the word all... but math still works. 
"Consider the fact that the parable uses a mere creature (the farmer) to represent the holy God.... the farmer would have limited knowledge would be sinful himself and in need of mercy, and may himself have jumped into some other farmer's pond when he was a kid. We expect certain things of human beings that we have no right to expect of the infinite, holy, almighty God." 
Like partiality in love? Dr. White has no issue lowering God to the level of a man when He is to be given "freedom" to love only those He chooses to, but when a limited concept is being explained it is unreasonable to have a story using the choice of a Farmer to explain the choice of God? Really?

He says that the reason we react to the story the way we do is "based on how we feel about a fellow human being (the farmer)." and quotes Storms' response to the parable:

"Related to this is the tendency to think that if he really wanted to, it would not affect the farmer in the least to simply to take down the sign, suspend the punishment, and turn his pond into a swimming hole for everyone to enjoy. But again God's retributive justice is not like an old had that he can discard if he so chooses. Retributive justice is as much a part of God's nature as love is."
Is this REALLY at issue in Geisler's parable? Is Geisler either directly or indirectly making this point? Dr. White goes on for pages and pages about the changes he would have to make to the parable in order to make it even "semi-workable"...I'm just going to skip most of it because it really has nothing to do with the point Geisler is making. Should anyone think that something White brings up actually does impact the discussion then please comment below and I'll interact with it. I've taken extensive notes on the section so I should be able to interact with any point he gives. Some of the things White brings up are:
  • That the farmer would have to be the greatest and most noble king and ruler of all time. 
  • That the seriousness of the sin be made realistic. 
  • They would have to have intentionally set fire to the king's castle. 
  • They would have been subjects of the king who have benefited greatly at his hand. 
  • They would have have to have a long track record of rebellion.
  • They would have to be portrayed as enjoying their rebellion, even while perishing in their own flames.
  • They would have have to have often found mercy at the hand of the king.
  • They would not be crying out for help.
  • They would make excuses for their sin and get mad at anyone who call it sin. 
  • They would mock the king's attempts to save them even through the flames of the fire they had set.
  • They would not cooperate with the rescue effort.  They lack the capacity (due to spiritual death) to take advantage of any kind of help. 
Some thoughts I had while reading these pages were that while Dr. White accuses Dr. Geisler of leaving out important details in his parable showing ONE single point, Dr. White's attempt to provide a holistic parable maintaining all aspects of the situation does so even more! Dr. White forgets the ministry of the Holy Spirit to convince and convict these sinners of their sin, judgment and of righteousness. Jn 16:5-11 It is His ministry to bring people to cry out for salvation.. but Dr. White leaves it out. He spends pages expounding on how awful the sin of these men would have to be. He explains at length that they would enjoy their sin. Is this to make it seem just for the king to let them burn? In Dr. Geisler's parable he makes it clear that it is just for the boys to suffer the consequences for their sin. But not only is this a straw-man, it is much worse. Dr. White fails to portray the fact that the king would have decreed everything these sinners did, and even decreed their enjoyment of it. 

After all of that showmanship how does Dr. White answer the actual point of Geisler's parable, which is to show that if God only loves some then He doesn't love all?
"So what are we to make of Dr. Geisler's assertion that a God who saves some rebel sinners (but not all) through the miracle of divine grace, freeing them from the shackles of sin, giving them a new heart and a new nature, despite their hatred of Him and His ways, sia denial of omnibenevolence? Once all the false assumptions are stripped away we an all see the error of the presentation. It is based upon the false view of God's holiness, a false view of His freedom, a false view of the sinfulness and capacities of man, and a complete misunderstanding of the freedom of God to show mercy as He wills not as we demand." 
In short he doesn't.  
"It is love beyond degree if the king sends his only son into the burning structure to save any of the rebels. There is no logical or rational argument that can be mustered to say that the king must send his son to save every single one of the rebels or else be 'imperfect' in his love.... 'Omnibenevolence' does not mean God's grace becomes something that can be demanded by all."
I'm not sure who says that God's grace can be demanded... but after an exhausting trip through pages of distraction we are left with the same issue we started with. Omni means all, universally. You can not be both omnibenevolent and selectively-benevolent. They are mutually exclusive terms. All means all, omni means omni...

There are next a few pages of banter about terminology. Dr. White accuses Dr. Geisler of redefining things, and I can't bring myself to engage with them in this article. There is nothing of consequence to be found, but as always I have taken extensive notes so should someone have a concern from this area they can comment and I'll interact.

Finally we return to the topic of:

Is Faith a Gift?

We're back to this again. What's worse is that we are treated to all the same verses from the previous chapter again. This time with commentary. I'm not going to repeat what was already covered in Part 18.  He does add a couple of new verses so we'll discuss them.

Of 1Cor 12:8-9 Dr. White offers:

"This passage plainly says that faith is a gift given by the Spirit.... We have only one question to ask in response: if the unregenerate, spiritually dead, slave-to-sin, natural man outside of Christ is capable of saving faith, why would a regenerate, born again, freed-from-sin spiritual man in Christ need a gift of faith?"
First, we find that the passage is telling that the Spirit only gives the gift of faith to some, not all Believers. This is of course Paul's point, that the same Spirit gives a diversity of gifts to a diversity of Believers. There is an aspect to this that Dr. White apparently misses, here we find Paul telling us that there are Believers whom God DOES NOT give faith.

Second this is a spiritual gift. It has to do with the prayer of faith. James 5:15. It is a miraculous gift. It actually has nothing to do with saving faith. Dr. White's usage is out of context and bizarre.

Of Acts 5:31 Dr. White offers:

"This passage is cited as evidence that God 'grants' repentance on the basis of the work of Christ."
Is that what it says? Is Peter's point that God gives sinners repentance based on the work of Christ? The Greek word Didomi here translated "grant" or "give", has a fairly wide range of potential meanings. Yet the passage is not unclear. Peter is making the point that we ought to obey God, not men. He also tells us why the Father raised Christ, whom they had murdered, from the dead.

Acts 5:30-31
30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. 31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
God raised up Jesus to give repentance to Israel. Not that God grants repentance based on work of Christ. Isn't it amazing how easy it is to see in the Text what people tell you to see?

Yet it still says "to give" repentance doesn't it? Well within the range of meanings of Didomi is the fact of furnishing, bringing about, supplying what is needed to make something happen. The Father raised Christ from the dead to supply what was needed for Israel to repent. They needed to see in order to believe.

The Jew needs a sign right? 1Cor 1:22 What "sign" did Jesus say they would get? ONLY the sign of the Prophet Jonah. That the Lord would be in the grave for three days and then be raised up. Mat 12:38-42

Dr. White ends the chapter complaining about the title of a section of CBF which is "Saving Faith is Something All Can Exercise." He writes:

"This truly does summarize the main problem with CBF: we have now seen that the attempted response to the biblical teaching that saving faith is a gift of God given to his (Dr. White's capitalization not mine) involves 1) skipping over certain passages such as 1Jn 5:1, Heb 12:2, and 2) providing non-substantive responses to passages such as 2Pet 1:1 and Phil 1:29. So we are left with the unfounded "implications" rather than direct biblical teaching. And these implications all come from the same source: the over-riding belief in creaturely freedom, a freedom that, sadly, is more important than the confession of the Potter's freedom to do with His creation as He sees fit, all to His glory and honor."
It is truly astounding to me that Dr. White could write that paragraph given the feats of misdirection, and manipulation of the Text he has had to engage in an attempt to prove his doctrine.

So far in this series of articles I have examined every single argument that Dr. White has thus far presented in defense of his doctrine and have not found a single one to be valid. I wont speculate as to the "implications" of this fact, but I will admit to being shocked by it. I had thought there would be more, by a long shot, to his theology than what has been demonstrated.


Glenn said...

Hi Kevin,

First off I want to congratulate you again on another fine fine installment in a fine series! I have read every word so far and have definitely benefited from all of your hard work.

I do have one comment about some of the contradictory statements Dr. White made regarding omnibenevolence. I do not know what kind of apologetics Dr. White identifies with but at the current time Van Til's presuppositional apologetics is very popular in Reformed circles and, unfortunately, in Dispensational circles as well. One of the things that Van Til claims is that the Law of Contradiction does not apply to God. God can take two "apparently" contradictory positions. The positions are not truly contradictory but only omniscient God can see that they aren't.

In my opinion Van Til's teachings allow theologians to make appeals to the inscrutability of God whenever they box themselves into a theological corner. You have pointed out a lot of inconsistencies in Dr. White's logic but any student of Van Til probably won't see a problem with them. A Van Tilian would acknowledge your concerns with Dr. White's logic regarding omnibenevolence and proceed to tell you that you are using the "wrong logic."

Thank you!


Kevl said...

Hi Glenn,

That is something to be concerned about! I don't know if Dr. White would subscribe to Van Til's views or not. If one throws out the Law of Non-Contradiction when dealing with things that related to God then who can be wrong? Who can be correct? How can you have faith in something you don't know?

Truly bizarre, and deeply concerning!


Kevl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevl said...

Hi Glenn,

It appears that Dr. White does endors Cornelious Van Til. Here's a link to a search at White's website:

Well, you know it's not surprising...

Reposted comment because I thought I spelt Cornelious incorrectly. :)

Glenn said...

Hi Kevin,

I have become very concerned about the influence of Van Til in the last few years. It appears that his influence continues to grow. I first heard of Van Til when I listened to Charlie Clough's Bible Framework series. Because of that series I became very enthused about Van Til's aplologetics but as time went on I began to have questions. Over time I came to the conclusion that there are very serious problems with Van Til's apologetics.

If you, or any reader of this comment, are interested in a critique of Van Til please follow this link: A Critique of Cornelius Van Til. Dr. Trethewie is also a Calvinist so he cannot be accused of bias on that account.


Kevl said...

Do you know if Sye Ten Bruggencate a popular Presuppositional Apologist from Canada, owner of the website follows the same "logic"?

Kevl said...

I just saw that some people call him Van Til's bulldog... so I guess he does...

Glenn said...

Hi Kevin,

I just checked out the link you provided to Sye Ten Bruggencate's website. If you go to his Recommended Books page it is full of books by Greg Bahnsen who was one of Van Til's student's. So Bruggencate defininitely seems to hold to Van Til's apologetics.

To be fair though not all presuppositionalists follow Van Til. There are a few that agree with Gordon Clark. Clark was also a five point Calvinist but he did hold that traditional logic, such as the Law of Contradiction, is valid.