Quotation of the Week

This is from Berkhof’s Introduction to Systematic Theology.

The Word of God presupposes the darkness and error of the natural man, and would therefore contradict itself, if it submitted itself to the judgment of that man. It would thereby acknowledge one as judge whom it had first disqualified (p. 172).

In other words, reason cannot prove the trustworthiness of Scripture. This is because reason only comes packaged in damaged goods. Even the regenerate person still has sin clinging to his reason. How could any untrustworthy instrument prove perfection to be correct? To do that, we would ourselves have to be more foundational than the Bible. No, the Bible is our axiom.

54 Comments

  1. December 31, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Great quote. Kurt Eichenwald over at exceptionally liberal Newsweek should have read that quote before writing his screed against the Bible and embarrassing himself and his employer.

  2. Reed Here said,

    December 31, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Bob, HAH!

  3. johntjeffery said,

    December 31, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    reformedmusings: Eichenwald would not have been fazed by the quote due to his inherent “darkness and error.” This condition prevents him from perceiving his own disqualification as a judge by that which he presumes to pass judgment upon!

  4. Justin said,

    December 31, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Help me clarify my thoughts: if the Bible is our Axiom, we aren’t simply appealing to fideism, right? Isn’t the argument that only by beginning with the Bible as the authority (above our ability or right to critique), that then we may make sense of everything else in the universe… including the Bible?

  5. roberty bob said,

    December 31, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Isn’t it ironic that God left it up to his chosen people — regenerate, but with sin clinging to their reason — to discern which scripture to enshrine as “holy scripture?” Such discernment was required during the era of the old covenant and then a couple of centuries into the era of the new covenant. The church must have believed that the Holy Spirit would guide them in the quest to recognize which scripture bore the imprint of divine inspiration, even while acknowledging the impairment of their own powers, namely, the sin clinging to their own reason.

  6. Reed Here said,

    December 31, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Justin, it is a bit different than that. We begin with God. We don’t presume God exists because the Bible is true. We presume the Bible is true because God exists.

    That is, to be sure, based on a circularity. Yet this is not a fatal flaw. Any argument concerning the essential nature of anything/everything must by definition be premised on something that then is presupposed to prove all else, including that which affirms that the initial presupposition is true.

    This is simply the nature of our existence. The problem is not circularity, but whether or not the initial/foundational presupposition is true. By definition, such a presupposition cannot be empirically validated. Verified as credible, reasonable? Yes, but never objectively proven beyond any shadow of doubt.

    This necessity of circularity in the initial/foundational presupposition does not leave us without a true knowing the truth of the presupposition. Knowing is not solely through empirical considerations. Indeed, the Bible’s basis for knowing truth truly is relational based, not empirically based.

    The basis is not we know him because the Bible tells us so, and it can be (empirically) proven. The Bible teaches that we know Him because He knows us, i.e., He enters into a real relationship with us.

    This is why the ministry of the gospel is never “positively” proving anything about God.* Instead it is declaring what is true, and leaving the issue of proof up to the subjective work of the Spirit of truth.

    Hope I’m a bit clearer than mud here. Thanks for the prompting to think.

    *I.e., biblical apologetics is defense oriented, the demonstration of the failure of arguments against biblical arguments. Logically disproving a challenge does not prove that which is challenged.

  7. December 31, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    Berkhof is almost repeating what Calvin had said. God’s word doesnt need the validation of sinful man. Its His Word.

  8. johntjeffery said,

    December 31, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    Reed Here: You are much more than “a bit clearer than mud”! In fact, you expressed what was on my mind and more, and expressed it much better than I could hope to. Your comment contains several very profound truths that are worthy of repitition, further contempation, and development. Thank you for posting this comment!

  9. Steve Drake said,

    January 1, 2015 at 8:55 am

    @ roberty bob #5,

    From reading your past comments I understand you are a man of Roman Catholic faith. Is this correct? Forgive me if this assumption is wrong.

    I understand the fun and intellectual challenge of commenting on blogs with which I have fundamental theological differences of opinion.

    Your comment has intrigued me, for I think you are correct in your statement that the use of discernment was required to canonize the Old and New Testaments. Discernment requires the use of reason. What intrigues me is the implied implication. Can you expand on that a bit?

  10. January 1, 2015 at 9:39 am

    Did the Apostles or Prophets canonize God’s word? No God spoke the world into existence by his Word, raised Lazarus from the dead, called Abraham out of idolatry, and saves by his word, incidentally, the Jews werent thankful at the passover for infused grace, but that God passed over them. They deserved thd same fate as the Egyptians , but God did not destroy them, He passed over them. Forensic, legal. Happy New Year everyone. K

  11. roberty bob said,

    January 1, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    to #9 . . .

    One of my favorite books is Herman Bavinck’s condensed systematic theology with the English title Our Reasonable Faith. When a man is redeemed, his rational mind falls into line with the The Faith revealed in the Holy Scripture; such a man believes God, submits all of his faculties to God, and obeys God.

    I do not know why greenbaggins, in remarking on Berkhof’s quote, wanted to point out that even the regenerate have sin clinging on to their reason. Perhaps he said it because it is a commonplace in the Reformed camp to always acknowledge that God’s called and chosen ones [The Redeemed], even while acting and thinking their best, cannot shake themselves free from the cling of sin.

    So, I said to myself, let’s run with that. Let’s look at the way the Holy Scriptures was canonized. Redeemed men with sin clinging to their reason nevertheless used their rational faculties to reach a decision on which scriptures to include in the canon, and which to exclude. So, we see fallible men [a fallible church] able to recognize those scriptures which are holy and infallible. Is there any way that they can be mistaken in their judgment? Well . . . with sin clinging to their reason?

    Now I understand why, as the commenter DeMaria has pointed out, the Roman Catholics hold to an infallible Church. The Holy Bible, though divinely inspired, is the production of the church; Holy men of God spake [and wrote] as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

  12. January 1, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    Roberty bob, you said you wondered why greenbaggins made that comment about sin affecting our reason. Calvin was very strong about in Ephesians how the church including its leaders are in need of cleansing each day. Rome says that sin has only affect on the lowere appetites while thecreason and the mind survive pristine. But this is wrong. Paul says that apart from being born again man cant come to the knowledge of the gospel thru reason. Rome has faulty axioms, 1 the nature grace innerconnection, namely fallen human nature can receive grace, and 2 the church as the continuing incarnation of Christ, usurping his uniquely finished work.Even though we receive a new nature, we still live in this flesh, and are impaired in our understanding. Scripture tells us we now see as if in a mirror, then face to face. Read Romans 7 and you will see the results of sin on the mind of a mature Christian. The Apostles wrote what was God breathed, infalibly. At the same time they didnt understand evrything. When Paul says I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, nevertheless I live. He didnt fully understand. Councils errored, Popes error, church leaders error, because men are sinners. Catholics have a hard time understanding this because they have no clue of the affect of sin on nature. There are none righteous, none who understand, none who seek for God. Sin has corrupted thecwhole of man and men supress the truth in unrighteouness. We have a new nature, but we still look in a mirror. K

  13. roberty bob said,

    January 1, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    to #12 . . .

    “Read Romans 7 and you will see the results of sin on the mind of a mature Christian. ” — Kevin

    That is not what I see when I read Romans 7. I see the how sin overpowers God’s Israel [Paul is identifying with them when he says “I”] under the Law. As much as Israel loved the Law, which was given to them by God so that they might live, sin took every opportunity to frustrate Israel from attaining the life they were seeking. Paul illustrates how sin takes advantage by citing the specific example of the command “thou shalt not covet.” at the end of Romans 7 is the cry of despair, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death?” This is not the cry of the mature Christian. It is the cry of a man under the bondage of the Law. Should such a man be delivered, he will say, as Paul says, “Thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ!” Romans 7 ends on that note of thanks . . . which takes us into Romans 8 where Paul describes the mind of the Christian as one that is in the control of the Holy Spirit, submissive to God’s Law, at peace with God, and enjoying the life of God. There is no question that the mind of sinful man has sin clinging to it; but there is quite a serious question as to whether the mind of the regenerate man should be described this way.

    I agree with the Berkhof quote regarding the natural man. I think that the commentary by greenbaggins about the regenerate man having sin yet cling to his reason pushes beyond what Berkhof says — and raises some issues. One of those issues has do with those regenerate men of the church who judged with their minds which scripture to incorporate in the canon. With sin clinging to their reason, why should we trust their decision?

  14. roberty bob said,

    January 2, 2015 at 12:07 am

    I, as a believer in Christ, take the trustworthiness / infallibility of God as a given; so, it follows that the Holy Scriptures are to be received as God’s truth, even as the Christ — God’s Word Incarnate — is The Truth!

    By means of preaching and bearing witness to the Truth, the church may, in fact, use reason to persuade men to believe the Truth. One can, in reasoning with a non-believer, make a case for the Truth by putting forth evidences or proofs. Non-believers are known to have been converted to the faith by means of persuasive reasoning. So, I would say that it is possible by means of reason to persuade someone that God [and God’s Word] is trustworthy.

    Having said, “reason cannot prove the trustworthiness of Scripture,” does greenbaggins believe that a Christian can, with the use of his reason, prove to a non-believer that God / God’s Word is trustworthy?

  15. January 2, 2015 at 9:36 am

    Augustine rightly believed that the Romans 7 man was indeed a believer, and I would argue the most mature one. Paul iscdescribing the war with sin true believers undertake. No wayvan unbeliever would be aware of that inner struggle ” the very thing I do, is the very thing I dont want to do, and vice versa. In Roman Catholicism, man’s not so bad, abd God is not so mad. Sin corrupts us, and our understanding of things. It affects every aspect of man. 1 John says if we say we have no sin, we make God a liarcand his truth isnt in us. In fact MacArthur argues that the closer we get to God the more we see our sinfulness, much like the Romans 7 man. There are militant commands in scripture to buffet our body, and pursue holiness, do not love the world etc. Why? Because we battle sin. We have the Spirit to win those battles, but we dont win them all, because sin remains. And even regenerate man’s understanding is impaired until we are glorified. Romans 8 says men love the darkness. Our flesh loves the darkness. Incidentally, a non Christian couldnt say, who will free me from this struggle, thanks be to God etc. Romans 7 man is a mature believer aware of his struggle with sin and who will deliver him.

  16. roberty bob said,

    January 2, 2015 at 10:20 am

    to #15 Kevin . . .

    I did not say that Roman 7 describes the experience of the unbeliever; it describes the experience of the man who is under the Law, where sin take every opportunity to bring forth death, frustrating the quest to attain unto life. Such a man cries out for deliverance from this body of death, does he not? This man is crying out for salvation. Thanks be to God, he is saved through our Lord Jesus Christ. The change that he experiences is then described in Romans 8.

    The mature believer can very well relate to the frustration of the Romans 7 man as he knows of it from past experience; but this frustrating struggle is the very thing from which the saved believer has been delivered. Roman 8 describes the remarkable freedom from this frustration that follows when Christ delivers us from sin’s power.

  17. January 2, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    roberty bob, Augustine considered the Romans 7 man a believer. He changed late in life. Could a non believer make this statement ” Wretched man that I am ! Who will set me free from body of this death? Thanks be to God thru Jesus christ OUR Lord. He is a believer of the most mature order. The he says So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other with my flesh the law of sin.’ No way could an unbeliever say this. Then he resolves it for us in 8:1, therefore, meaning in light of what I just said, there is NOW no condemnation for those in Christ, continuing who walk by the Sprit …… When we are united wit Christ thru faith we are justified. The opposite of saying there is no condemnation is there is NOW justification. We possess permanent justification and reconciliation and adoption etc…. Note also in 8:4 that it is Christ who fulfills the law IN US, not by us, its a passive verb. IOW those who are walking by the Spirit possess justification. And we are told that He wo began a good work in us WILL perfect us until the day of Christ. I believe believers cannot lose their salvation, because its up to God to get his elect home, and He will do it. Yes we run the race knowing there is an inheritance that will not fade away reserved in heaven for us. It called the promise, and God doesn’t break his promise, even if I fall into serious sin for a period. If I do, which i pray I don’t, I will experience the conviction of the Spirit that leads to repentance. He died for the ungodly, while they were yet sinners. If He gave us life while we were wretched sinners, He certainly isn’t going to take it from us when we fail. I agree with your last paragraph, except to say we have been delivered from the penalty of this struggle, not the reality completely. Roberty bob, if your honest with yourself, you will identify with the struggle of Romans 7 man, and you will be glad God passed over us. He just decides not to count our sins against us. K

  18. roberty bob said,

    January 2, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    Once again, Kevin . . . the Apostle Paul in Romans 7 describes what it felt like when under the Law, and under the reign of sin / death, before Christ’s work of rescue / redemption / reconciliation. Even the man who wanted with all of his heart to obey God’s commandments found to his dismay that sin was standing in the way. He is frustrated and desperate because he has not yet been delivered. He cries out, Who will deliver me from this body of death? The Lord hears his cry and delivers him. Thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ!

    Now he is a new man in Christ and he has a new master, even the Spirit of Life. The frustration is over because he has been set free from the Law of Sin and Death, and he is now able to obey the Lord and prevail against Sin’s tempting power. He’s a new man!

    The new man in Christ, says Paul, is not cursed with the ongoing frustration of wanting-to-obey-the-Lord’s-commandments-yet-not-able-to-do-so. Romans 8 goes on to show how the new man pleases God in contrast with the old man who remains in bondage.

    If I were under the Law and not yet delivered from its curse, then I would honestly be able to identify with the frustrating struggle Paul describes in Romans 7. I’ve read the commentaries and the sermons of those men who see this as the mature believer’s ongoing struggle, but this is by no means settled theological science as other men of stature happen to side with me [or I with them!]. Don’t pretend there is no debate on this.

    The sticking point is important, however. Once side sees the new man in Christ [still, after all that was done for him] as damaged goods; the other side sees him as renewed man.

  19. January 2, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    Roberty bob, I understand that there are different views on this. However as I said Augustine had come to view him as saved. My question is what unbeliever understands this innercstruggle with sin. None, I submit to you. When Isaiah saw the glory of the Lord, this righteous man’s first words were, oh me a man of unclean lips. Paul says he concurs with the law of the inner man. He saysvhe understands the principle of evil in him, yet he wants to do good. Non Christians dont understand let alone are introspective about this. Who was the last heathen that you knew who joyfully concured with the law of the inner man, or could say that. And He isnt saying as a non christian thanks be to God Christ is about to save me in Romans 8:1. He is saying it proclaiming Christ has already saved him, and he is free from the guilt and penalty of this struggle with sin. Remember non christians are dead in sin, no way could they understand this depth. K

  20. January 2, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    Incidentally, is Paul not writing Romans 7 as a believer?

  21. roberty bob said,

    January 2, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    to #19 and #20 . . .

    Yes, Paul writes all of Romans, chapter 7 included, as a believer.

    Kevin, you are not reading my posts with your eyes open. I have not said that the Romans 7 man is an unbeliever; I have said that he is under the Law, and therefore under the power of sin. Paul shares what it felt like for the pious Jew under the Law who wanted to do good, but was continually hindered in his quest by Sin’s tempting presence. Paul says that there was a law of sin at work within his members [faculties!], which enslaved him. He confessed to being unspiritual and sold as a slave to sin. He wanted to be freed from this enslavement.

    Clearly, this cannot be the present ongoing experience of the Christian [mature or otherwise]. A Jewish Christian believer like Paul knew firsthand the dramatic change from having lived under the Law to now living under the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. The change from the Law administration to the Grace administration was dramatic and liberating. Neither you nor I, Kevin, have had that experience. We were never under Law as that administration ended when our King of Grace was enthroned.

    How do you describe your present experience as a Christian?

    As the Romans 7 man . . . ?
    unspiritual
    sold as a slave to sin
    does not submit to God’s law
    mind controlled by the sinful nature
    wanting to do the good, but doing evil instead

    As the Romans 8 man . . . ?
    spiritual
    set free from sin
    does submit to God’s law
    mind controlled by the Spirit of life
    wanting to to the good, and doing it to please God

    I do not identify with the Romans 7 man.
    I do identify with the Romans 8 man, thanks to my Lord Jesus Christ.

    Do I describe myself as damaged goods? No. I have been redeemed, renewed, restored.

  22. January 3, 2015 at 12:42 am

    In Mathew 5 Jesus says unless your righteouness exceeds that of thecscribes and pharisse you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Men who ecruciatingly tried to keep the law, unless all exceeded their righteouness, we could not enter.The standard of the law could not be kept. Yet a sinner on his knees crying for mercy in faith, went home righteous..I believe the closer we get to God, the more we see our sinfulness as the Romans 7 man, the more we understand there are two religions, the religion of divine accomplushment, and the religion of human achievemant. One must understand his utter bankrupcy spiritually as Paul did in Romans 7, to understand he considered all his righteous deeds as dung in Phil 3:9 to be found in Christ righteouness. ThecJews werent thankful for infused righteouness at Passover, but that God passed over them. God justifies the ungodly, not the inherently righteous, by faith. When I reflect myself in the mirror of God’s holiness, I see my sin like Isaiah, and I understand that I am justified by anothers obedience. Rom. 5:19. Yes I am a new creature being sanctified every day, but as Augustine and Calvin said our most righteous deeds are stained by sin and could not stand before God’s requirement. K

  23. roberty bob said,

    January 3, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    Let me see now . . .

    Berkhof is saying that the natural man [unregenerate, his rational faculties corrupted, not indwelt by the Holy Spirit, unable to discern the things of the spirit] cannot possibly give a true evaluation of what God’s Word means; the natural man is therefore unqualified / disqualified from being the judge of God’s Word. God’s Word judges him.

    Greenbaggins, going beyond Berkhof, is saying that since human reason comes packaged in damaged goods [in men ruined / corrupted by Adam’s fall], it is not to be trusted at all — and especially on those occasions when it might attempt to prove the trustworthiness of God’s Word. Even the mind of the regenerate man is untrustworthy as sin continues to cling to his reasoning; therefore, his [renewed ?] mind is an imperfect instrument for meddling with the perfect Word of God.

    I am perplexed. Berhhof’s assessment of the mind of the natural man reflects what the Bible says, but Greenbaggins applies that assessment to the regenerate man so that both the “old man” and the “new man” are judged to be of faulty, untrustworthy reason. I think that the new man in Christ, as revealed in Romans 8, stands in a much better light than Greenbaggins allows. The renewed mind is rightly aligned with God and His Word!

  24. January 3, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    Robert bob, put in google Orthodox Reformed Prebytyrian reformed view on original sins. He answers these same questions of a Catholic. Its good.

  25. roberty bob said,

    January 3, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    to #24 . . . Kevin . . .

    Thanks for the google search to the OPC q/a.

    I came across the question I was looking for [I’m paraphrasing]: Are the regenerate still in bondage to sin? The answer: The regenerate struggle intensely throughout their lives against sin; although they may slowly advance in their sanctification, the gains are so small that they, in effect, remain in bondage until Christ’s second coming . . . where they are finally set free.

    I think that the OPC answer sees the experience of the regenerate as typified in the failed struggle of Romans 7 man, as you do, and not in the triumphant struggle of the Romans 8 man.

  26. January 4, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    Roberty bob, yes you are correct thats how reformed see it. We are justified, not by anything wrought in us, but by the righteouness imputed by faith alone in Christ alone thru the regeneration of the Holy Spirit and the Word. Because we are united with Christ, we are in Him, and He is in us. Our sins have been pardoned for Christ’s sake. Incidentally Paul wasnt under the Law in Romans 7, he was a believer. In facr Romans 7:6 says he was freed from the law. Please note, this is very important, at Passover, the Jews who deserved th see same fate as the Egyptians, werent thankful for infused grace, but that God had passed over them, forensic, legal. The bible never speaks of infused grace. Our sanctfication is never complete in this life, yet we are justified permanatly by faith, and posess present peace.

  27. roberty bob said,

    January 4, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    to #26 . . . Kevin . . .

    OK. I’ll take you at your word. You are unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin, disobedient to to God’s Law, the sinful nature controls your mind, and you do not have the ability to do any good thing. This is you. You identify with this description of your Christian life. I feel sorry for you.

    Who, then, is the Apostle Paul talking about when he describes the man who is spiritual, set free from the sin that once bound him, obedient to God’s Law, the Holy Spirit in control of his mind, and having the ability to do the good that he wants to do? Could that man be you, Kevin? Could it be me? I think that Paul is describing both you and me. I think that Paul is talking about all who are in Christ, governed by God’s Holy Spirit. Do you disagree?

    I’ll re-iterate what I already said. Paul writes from his position as a believer in Christ who had once been in bondage to sin while under the Law. Romans 7 describes his condition of being in bondage to sin while under the Law from that Christian perspective. He was unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin, disobedient to God’s law, his mind controlled by his sinful nature, and unable to do the good that God required of him. The good news is that Christ saved him from this body of death! This futile struggle ended. He was set free by Christ, and the Holy Spirit took control of his mind and his actions. Romans 8 describes the astonishing conversion of the new man in Christ. I self-identify with the new man of Romans 8 who is free, not the old man of Romans 7 who is a slave to sin. Do you still disagree?

  28. January 4, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    Roberty bob, I want you to consider a verse by Paul ” It is a trustworthy statement, that Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I AM foremost. Present tense. When Isaiah, one of the most righteous men to walk the earth saw the glory of God, his first words were ” oh me a man of unclean lips. As we grow in holiness and look at the gory of God, we are overwhelmed with our sinfulness. Remember in Mathew it says when we have done everything within us we have only done our reasonable service. Augustine and I disagree with you. Paul was a believer identifying the stubble a believer has with sin. And he tells us that there is no condemnation for those in Christ.. Of course we have a new nature and we overcome these sins. But to say we are morally neutral as Rome purports after baptism is ridiculous. Thats why Christ payed it all. He didn’t come to help us achieve God’s favor with His help, He lived the law in our place and fulfilled all righteousness. He became sin, we became the righteousness of God in him. 2 for 5:21.

  29. Kenneth Winsmann said,

    January 5, 2015 at 1:30 am

    Correct me if im wrong but, isnt the author using his “damaged goods’ to defend each premises in his argument? Seems like this view suffers from the same problems as post modern relativists

  30. January 5, 2015 at 9:16 am

    Kenneth, oh yes this thread would bring you out of the woodwork. Your faith in natural man. Man’s not so bad and God’s not so mad.

  31. roberty bob said,

    January 5, 2015 at 11:05 am

    to #28 . . . Kevin . . .

  32. roberty bob said,

    January 5, 2015 at 11:29 am

    to #28 . . . Kevin . . .

    Christ came into the world to save sinners.

    Every saved person is a sinner whom Christ came into the world to save.

    Christ saved Saul of Tarsus the sinner, the world’s foremost sinner.

    Why did the Apostle Paul [formerly known as Saul] claim to be the foremost sinner? Two choices here: 1) He had become exceptionally holy so that he could see how horrific a sinner he was, even while conducting himself in a godly manner; 2) The Lord saved him when he was the arch-persecutor of Christians and captain of the army that declared war with the Church.

    I do not doubt that Saint Paul had a keen sense of sin [choice 1], but he self-identified as the world’s foremost [chief / Number One] sinner because he was that man [choice 2] when the Lord saved him. Think of it! If God gives saving grace to the world’s number one sinner, what might God do for you?

    ………..

    Kevin, when did I ever say, or suggest, that we are morally neutral?

    Where in the Bible does it explicitly say that Jesus lived the law in our place?

  33. January 5, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Our Lord came as a truly man, adopted the nature of Adam and tooknhis name, so that He might, in his place, obey the Father, so that He might offer our flesh as the price of satisfying the just judgment of God, and in the same flesh pay the penalty we incurred. Romans 5:19 we are right with God because of his obedience. K

  34. Kenneth Winsmann said,

    January 5, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    Reed,

    We begin with God. We don’t presume God exists because the Bible is true. We presume the Bible is true because God exists.

    That is, to be sure, based on a circularity. Yet this is not a fatal flaw.

    The problem isnt that your formulation is circular, but is that the conclusion doesnt follow from your assumed premise.

    1 God exists

    Does not entail

    2. The canon of scripture

    It could just as easily mean the quaran or the Torah. Gods existence does not establish the Christian bible as God breathed.

    Any argument concerning the essential nature of anything/everything must by definition be premised on something that then is presupposed to prove all else, including that which affirms that the initial presupposition is true.

    What do you mean here? Can you give some examples for clarity?

    This is simply the nature of our existence. The problem is not circularity, but whether or not the initial/foundational presupposition is true. By definition, such a presupposition cannot be empirically validated. Verified as credible, reasonable? Yes, but never objectively proven beyond any shadow of doubt.

    This is likewise ambiguous. Can you give examples for clarity

  35. Cletus van Damme said,

    January 5, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    As Kenneth noted, I do not see how this is not self-defeating. If sin so darkens the mind of the regenerate, then that follows for any conclusion the regenerate reasons to, including of course that very principle that his mind is darkened (let alone that the bible is his axiom). If in assuming a position or starting principle as true, I am then equally justified and warranted in holding it as false, that is a sign of incoherence.

    Kevin, when Augustine did alter his view of the Rom 7 man later in life to reflect a believer, he did not hold that such a believer was constantly mortally sinning every second of his life as you do but rather was exhibiting the struggle against concupiscence and venial sin. Aquinas also outlined the two dominant interpretations of Rom 7 man that Augustine held (a believer vs Paul taking on a persona of natural man) and said both were plausible though he sided with the believer-view as well, although he no more considered that such a view entailed the Rom 7 man was constantly mortally sinning than Augustine did.

  36. roberty bob said,

    January 5, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    A train of thought here . . .

    Green Baggins is convinced that the Holy Bible is trustworthy.

    Human reason cannot prove that the Holy Bible is trustworthy.

    Therefore, Green Baggins is not convinced of the Holy Bible’s trustworthiness through human reason.

    God could convince Green Baggins of the Holy Bible’s trustworthiness, but not by means of human reason.

    What means does God use to convince Green Baggins of the Holy Bible’s trustworthiness?

  37. January 5, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    Cletus has made God out to be a liar, he says he has no sin in him, in violation of 1John 1:9. John says the truth is not in you. He alse bears false witness saying Kevin commits hanus sin all the time.Cletus is also unaware of the scripture wherevPaul says Jesus came into the world to save sinners of which I AM foremost, present tense. Paul as an Aposle and a believer callschimself the chief sinner. Cletus’ points have been soundly refuted. K

  38. January 5, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    Warfield once said Romanist read scripture like a metephysical essay. Aquinas connected a christian faith ethic to a pagan philosophy of autonomous man and came up with a false gospel palpable to natural man. Catholics dont realize fallen human nature has no capacity receive grace apart from the supernatural workd of the Spirit. Faulty axiom.

  39. roberty bob said,

    January 5, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    to #38 . . .

    palpable to natural man?
    or is it
    palatable to natural man?

  40. January 6, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    roberty bob, thanks, it is palatable.

  41. Cletus van Damme said,

    January 6, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    Kevin,

    “Cletus has made God out to be a liar, he says he has no sin in him, in violation of 1John 1:9.”

    Of course in RCism that verse is seen as referring to venial sin and concupiscence, not mortal sin for the very same author also wrote 1John 3:9, 5:18.

    “He alse bears false witness saying Kevin commits hanus sin all the time.”

    Isn’t all sin and imperfection damnable in your view? According to you, aren’t you breaking the 2 great commandments every second of your life (you can always do more/better and have purer motives can’t you)? If you conflate the mortal/venial/concupiscence distinctions, all sin is equally grave and heinous – break one and you’re guilty of all right?

    Paul’s humility is echoed by many RC saints in their writings. That doesn’t mean they thought they were mortally sinning every second of their life.

  42. January 6, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    Cletus, and where will we find the mortal/venial distinction in scripture? Oh thats right its right afterntgat verse on confirmation, and behind the verse on infused juju, 1 Hesitations 1:5.

  43. Kenneth Winsmann said,

    January 7, 2015 at 9:16 am

    Kevin,

    The distinction is found here

    1 John 5:16-18

    16 If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God[a] will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal.

    Thats your cue to ignore this text completely and start quoting Romans and Galatians.

  44. January 7, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Kenneth, you inserted the word mortal. One can go to hell as a policeman or a prostitute. ” For the wages of sin is death” none on these distinctions are found in scripture. Hope you are well Kenneth. At one time you stuck up for me on blogs. But then you fell into the trap of your colleagues, calling all of us who said Rome still has Christ on the altar or cross, trolls. You just proved that original sin is alive and well in men. Reformed theology. I have to give you guys credit, you have all the weak Reformed and other Protestants believing the first 1500 years of the church was Roman Catholic. What an allusion. But Kauffman is doing ground breaking work. No Catholic Apologist will take him on. Kauffman might be the greatest Reformed theologian of this century, and he never went to seminary. Check his stuff out on Baptismal regeneration and the lie of the bread being offered in the Early church. Brilliant work. A former Roman Catholic who knows Rome better than they do. Remember Kenneth, after all your philosophy classes, you can trust my statement. Read Roman Catholic doctrine, believe the opposite, arrive at biblical truth. God bless. Hope you had a blessed Christmas. K

  45. Kenneth Winsmann said,

    January 7, 2015 at 10:25 am

    Kevin,

    I did not insert any words into the text. That is the RSV translation. Peter makes the distinction on mortal sin (sin that leads to death) and lesser sins. This was the very verse of scripture that put me on the road home….er… I mean, to Rome. (I was actually doing John MacArthur’s reading plan so i read it 30 times in a row) The distinction is plain as day.

    I dont remember ever calling all reformed people trolls…. In fact, im certain that i have never said that. I like tim kauffman. He does interesting work and always has something interesting to say. I had a great christmas, how was yours?

  46. January 7, 2015 at 10:25 am

    […] my horror, I just read Lane Keister’s New Year’s eve blog offering.  Here it is in its […]

  47. Hugh McCann said,

    January 7, 2015 at 10:35 am

    Surely Lane means that, “[fallen] reason [alone] cannot prove the trustworthiness of Scripture.

    Sadly, he didn’t say that, and I don’t see any clarifications from him here.

    But this is wholly problematic: Even the regenerate person still has sin clinging to his reason. How could any untrustworthy instrument prove perfection to be correct? To do that, we would ourselves have to be more foundational than the Bible. No, the Bible is our axiom.

    But Lane hasn’t gotten us out of our ‘sin-clung reason.’ Or shown how an ‘untrustworthy instrument’ can even receive and believe the Bible.

    We’re not ‘more foundational than the Bible,’ but its Author is, and his Spirit lives within the child of God.

    One with regenerate reason CAN receive the things of God, for they are not foolishness unto him, but are (only) spiritually discerned.

    I like roberty bob’s syllogism and query @ #36, above!

    What means does God use to convince Green Baggins of the Holy Bible’s trustworthiness?

    Indeed.

  48. January 7, 2015 at 10:57 am

    […] Gerety has written a blog post wherein he attacked my blog post quotation of Berkhof in the following […]

  49. greenbaggins said,

    January 7, 2015 at 11:00 am

    Hugh, see my most recent post.

  50. Hugh McCann said,

    January 7, 2015 at 11:40 am

    Thanks, Lane.

  51. January 7, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    ” Or shown how an untrustworthy instrument can receive and believe the bible.” Certainly not through fallen human nature, the Catholic axiom. Through the supernatural work of the Spirit through the Word. Now we see in a mirror, then face to face. Reason is severely impaired by sin. Look at Paul. ” I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, nevertheless I live etc. He wrote it infallibly, but he didn’t understand all things. And He was an Apostle. I no longer live, nevertheless I live….. We all have to live with the limits in our reason.

  52. roberty bob said,

    January 7, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    to #47 . . . Hugh . . . thank, good observations and questions.

    “. . . reason cannot prove the trustworthiness of Scripture.”

    It sound like Green Baggins is saying that God and God’s Word as truth are “givens.” You don’t argue, debate, or prove “givens” because no matter what someone believes about God or God’s Word, God is who He says He is and God’s Word is the truth that it claims to be [kind of like saying it is what it is].

    What perplexes me is that I read accounts in the Scripture of apostles and evangelists engaged in reasonable acts such attempting to persuade and convince by putting forth evidences or proofs. I see this going on in the missionary preaching as reported in The Acts of the Apostles. It seems to me that when a preacher shows how God has made good on particular promises, or done something so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled, that he is using reason to prove the trustworthiness of Scripture.

    When such proofs are employed in preaching, God has been known to open minds [even darkened minds] in order to shine the light of His truth into it, and even to make people agreeable to that truth.

    Again, if God does not allow for reason to prove the trustworthiness of Scripture, then what means, if any, does He allow?

  53. greenbaggins said,

    January 7, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    Actually, Bob, if you look closely at the argumentation passages, they aren’t trying to prove Scripture as the final authority. They are assuming that, and arguing from Scripture to prove that Jesus is the Christ. In a few others, like the Mars Hill passage in Acts 17, Paul takes a presuppositional approach, using also the point of contact of the “unknown god” stele. They argue for the truth of Christianity, sure. Everyone in this debate agrees we should argue for the truth of Christianity. That’s different from trying to prove your starting point.

  54. roberty bob said,

    January 7, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    OK. Thank you.


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