Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Second Sunday in Lent.

The Collect

ALMIGHTY God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Collect from the First Day of Lent is to be read every day in Lent after the Collect appointed for the Day.

Daily Bible Verse

Saturday, February 05, 2011

The Noetic Effects of Sin: Subjectivity and Objectivity in Telling History: A Response to Carl Trueman's Interview on the Reformed Forum

[I have not followed a formal style of citation below. In some instances I provided a direct hyperlink and in others I provided a footnote with hyperlinks wherever appropriate. The notes are for your reference only and do not represent a particular style of citation. The hyperlinks to the endnotes do not work.  Scroll down.  Charlie].

The Noetic Effects of Sin: Subjectivity and Objectivity in Telling History
by Charlie J. Ray

In a recent broadcast of the Reformed Forum the guest speaker was Carl Trueman, professor of historical theology and church history at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. Dr. Trueman is the author of a new book, Histories and Fallacies: Problems Faced in the Writing of History. I will not comment on the book itself since I have not read the book. I will, however, be offering comments about what Dr. Trueman said in this promotion of his book at the Reformed Forum: Historical Methodology.

This brief introduction of the book is given by Richard Muller, Professor of historical theology at Calvin Theological Seminary:

"Carl Trueman’s cogent and engaging approach to historiography provides significant examples of problems faced by historians and the kinds of fallacies frequently encountered in historical argumentation. Trueman steers a clear path between problematic and overdrawn conclusions on the one hand and claims of utter objectivity on the other. His illustrations, covering several centuries of Western history, are telling. He offers a combination of careful historical analysis coupled with an understanding of the logical and argumentative pitfalls to which historians are liable that is a service to the field and should provide a useful guide to beginning researchers. A must for courses on research methodology." Histories and Fallacies.i

Muller's own approach to church history and historical theology could be called into question based on significant errors he makes in his lecture on Jonathan Edwards' theology of predestination and providence.ii If not errors, then at least let us say his lecture is extremely misleading since Muller seems to confuse “free choice” with “free will” and Muller does not adequately explain what he means by his thesis that Edwards is out of line with both the Westminster Standards and the broader Reformed tradition on the issue of the necessity of the will. But I digress. The point I wish to make is that it seems that Trueman, Muller, and even R. Scott Clark are part of a school of thought called,“Calvin and Calvinism”.iii It is true that we cannot oversimplify the complexities involved in determining what is and is not Calvinism and what is and is not Reformed. I have to agree that the Reformed tradition is much wider than Calvin himself, although his name is most often identified with the Reformed tradition. 

The problem with Trueman and his colleagues in doing a historiograpy of the Reformed tradition is that Trueman has an overly optimisitic view of objectivity. When pressed on this in his discussion of his book, Trueman responds that he is not a follower of Van Til. Somewhere in the interview he quips, “Luther spoke German and his German is still more comprehensible than Van Til.” To which Camden Bucey responds, “I knew that was coming.” The Reformed Forum has made no secret of their idolatrous adulation of the former apologetics professor at Westminster, Philadelphia, Cornelius Van Til. Trueman admits that his own epistemology is founded in the English common sense school of thought. In other words, Trueman's view is based on empiricism by his own admission. While I have not read his book, I would still recommend that anyone interested in historical methods and historiography should read it at some point. Trueman's assessment of logical fallacies in doing history are valuable in and of themselves.

It seems to me in the interview, however, that Trueman does not wish to honestly admit there is no such thing as objectivity. In his discussion of reification he says that reification gives abstract terms concrete reality. Thus, the term "Calvinist" and the term "Reformed" have a concrete reality in most folks' mind but in the historical examination of those terms one finds that the term "Calvinist" and the term "Reformed" are not so concrete. There is continuity and discontinuity and a broader historical, theological and cultural context to those terms. Trueman admits that earlier in his career he made errors in doing history or telling history and has since tried to rectify those errors. But Trueman's greatest error is reifying the term “objective”. The short answer is that the epistemological factor is indeed important, contrary to Trueman's declaration that the “e” word is overused.iv

In fact, this is the same sort of dispute that arose in the Clark/Van Til controversy.v While Van Til emphasized the discontinuity between God's knowledge and human knowledge in the confessional exposition of the incomprehensibility of God. Gordon H. Clark, on the other hand, emphasized the doctrine of Scripture and the comprehensibility of propositional truth as it is revealed in Holy Scripture. It could be pointed out that both parties in the dispute went to great lengths in refuting the other, sometimes overstating their case. Ironically, even though Van Til championed the Evangelical cause against Karl Barth's neo-orthodox view of Scripture, Van Til's own position so emphasized the disconnect between God's thoughts and our ability to know what God had revealed in Holy Scripture that Van Til's own position was similar to Barth's position in that Van Vil viewed theology in a dialectical fashion drawing his doctrine of Scripture from a Hegelian philosophy and Kantian philosophy. In other words, when there are apparent contradictions Van Til appealed to paradox and mystery rather than trying to work out a sound theological solution. There is some basis for this in Calvin's Institutes but it should be noted that Calvin never gave up so early on the problem. Barth's view of revelation is so Kantian that Barth's view of Scripture was that it was not the word of God but was only the outward appearance of the word of God. God is so incomprehensible that God cannot speak to humans even in baby talk. So for Barth the Bible is only a symbol of God's revelation. Revelation occurs only in an existential encounter. There are in fact close parallels between Barth's theology and Van Til's doctrine of incomprehensibility.

Gordon H. Clark, on the other hand, so emphasized the logical and rational basis for our faith and our intellectual capability to resolve theological problems and contradictions that towards the end of his life he comes close to accepting a Nestorian view of the incarnation of Jesus Christ.vi Although Clark was not perfect, it seems to me that Clark's view is the superior one over Van Til since Van Til's doctrine of incomprehensibility is overreaching and I think that Van Til's legacy has led to divisions and even heresies within the Reformed camp here in the United States. That would include theonomy and reconstruction and the overly optimistic postmillennialism of Greg Bahnsen, Gary North, Rousas John Rushdoony and others.

Gordon H. Clark's notable supporters include Carl F. H. Henry, Robert L. Reymond, and Ronald Nash, all solid defenders of the doctrine of Scripture as propositional truth. One could even note D. Broughton Knox of the Sydney Anglicans and one time principal of Moore Theological College as a beneficiary of Clark's theology of scripturalism and propositional truth.vii

This brings me to the next point in my critique of Carl Trueman and the Calvin and Calvinism school of historical theology. Trueman sidesteps the issue of objectivity. He wants to say objectivity exists but acknowledges that even objectivity in any real sense of the word is utterly impossible. By reifying the term “objective methodology”, Trueman must assume that there is at least some sense in which the concept of absolute truth exists. But Trueman also acknowledges that there is a sense in which the telling of history involves a fictional and recreative element of the facts, not to confuse fiction with history, however. If history is a reconstruction and an interpretation of the “facts” of the past then history in and of itself is subject to the interpreter's presuppositions and biases. The very idea of empirical truth as an accurate source for history or science has been disputed by Gordon H. Clark in a lecture on empiricismviii and in his writings.

For the record I would like to ask Trueman, “Who gets to decide which story to tell?” In other words, I have to call into question the Calvin and Calvinist school of thought since it seems to me to be an arbitrary and ad hoc selection of the materials which one will choose to support one's presupposed thesis. And even if we change the thesis along the way to reflect corrections those corrections in turn could prove to be wrong at some point. How can we have any confidence that we have arrived at a clear picture of the past with so many competing interpretations of the past? Trueman is certainly na├»ve when he says that the unbeliever can do “objective” historical research. There is no such thing. The Arminian, for example, over and over again demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of Calvinist theology much less the historical development of Reformed and Calvinist theology. A good illustration of this in politics is the continual give and take of what the Constitution means. The conservatives say one thing and the revisionists another. How Trueman can defend the empirical view of historical reconstruction is beyond me. Does he really think an atheist can understand the Protestant Reformation in the same way that a Reformed and conservative believer would?

This raises other problems as well. How do we define the term “Reformed” and who gets to define it? For all practical purposes the term “Reformed”, like the term “Evangelical”, is becoming so broad, elusive, and ambiguous that no one seems be able to tell us what it is, not even allegedly confessional Presbyterian or Dutch Reformed scholars. Some denominations in Presbyterian circles are so downplaying their foundational confessions and standards that no one is quite able to nail down for us what those confessions stand for if anything and even if they do nail things down, a minister can apparently object to anything and everything and still be accepted as a legitimate teaching elder. The Federal Visionist fiasco in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church in America comes to mind here.

Basically, there have always been revisionists who have arisen within Reformed or Reforming denominations. Those revisionists always make false claims that they are in fact the true interpreters of the tradition in question. The English Reformation got off to a great start under Cranmer but was soon challenged by the high church Arminians under Archbishop Laud, which then led to civil war. The Tractarians came along in the 19th century with another agenda, being to take the Church of England back in the direction of Rome. The Federal Visionists wish to reverse the Protestant Reformation as well with a confusion of the doctrine of justification by faith alone with a blending of faith and works. I might point out as well that even though Norman Shepherdix was officially condemned and dismissed from Westminster Seminary, Philadelphia, his teaching on faith and works continues to confuse and divide. Combine that with the spin of the theonomists and you have a formula for apostasy.

I could also mention here the dispute between classical Reformed theology and the neo-Calvinists who support the innovations of Abraham Kuyper and his student Herman Bavinck when they introduced the three points of common grace without any support from Calvin's writing or in fact any other Reformer of Calvin's time.x The three points of common grace have in fact opened the door to liberalism in the Christian Reformed Church and a denial of biblical inerrancy. R. Scott Clark, who follows the teaching of the Christian Reformed Church regarding the doctrine of common grace along with Robert Godfreyxi, both of whom are semi-conservatives, denies that the literal 24 hour days of creation should be a test of orthodoxy. On the other hand, Clark is inconsistent because he holds that Adam was an historical person. Such naivete can only be attributed to the three points of common grace, which the Protestant Reformed Church says is an incipient form of Arminianism. Common grace also elevates reason above revelation in Scripture. This is particularly interesting because one of the key points of contention in 1924 at the time of the dispute was the issue of biblical inerrancy and the influence of science on the interpretation of the biblical accounts on creation. A professor of Old Testament at Calvin Seminary, Dr. Ralph Jansssen, in fact started teaching higher critical views at the seminary just before the three points of common grace were adopted by the Christian Reformed Church.xii The CRC of today is the result of adopting common grace and general revelation as equal to or above biblical revelation and that teaching has been carried down to the current state of liberalism within the CRC.xiii

Now you're asking how this applies to the Anglo-Reformed movement in general? My point so far is that there are always competing schools of thought. The problem with some schools of thought, however, is that they tend to play fast and loose with their scholarship. That would be particularly true of Anglo-Catholics both conservative and liberal within the Anglican Communion at large. When Scripture is either ignored or submitted to reason or tradition or the authority of the church rather than the other way around what happens is a rewriting of church history and the theology of church history. Even some Evangelical Anglicans have been guilty of that. I'm thinking here of D. Broughton Knox's view of the atonement as unlimited. He argues his position based on a misunderstanding of Calvin's position in the Institutes and in Calvin's Commentaries. Knox also claimed that the Synod of Dort in fact allowed for unlimited atonement, although every Dutch theologian I know of in conservative circles would argue the exact opposite view and convincingly so.

Although Trueman and Clark and others are correct that the Reformed movement is much broader than Calvin himself, it is also true that even in his own day Calvin was a recognized leader in Reformed circles and was able to work out a consensus on the theology of the sacraments known as the Consensus of Tigerinus. Calvin came close at several points to reaching a compromise with Lutherans by offering the position that Christ was “truly presented” in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. However, radicals were able to stir up the Westphal Controversy and Calvin's efforts were stifled.

Trueman fails to recognize the inherent danger of opening up to a broader view of the Reformation in that liberals and revisionists may take his idea of a relative concept of the Reformed view and turn that into an excuse to claim for themselves some part of the heritage even if they do not belong. I have observed this first hand in the Reformed Episcopal Church and other late Evangelical branches of continuing Anglicanism which were at one time Reformed and Calvinist but have now gone over to a broad church latitudinarian and Anglo-Catholic view. Some Anglo-Catholics and high church Laudians will even claim to be a representative example of “Reformed” Anglicanism. I can only conclude that such attempts are meant to proselytize and deceive Evangelical and Reformed Anglicans into joining with what are either liberal congregations and denominations or theologically conservative but Anglo-Catholic denominations. We can observe this effect as well in Dr. David Virtue's claim that the Anglican Church in North America is an “orthodox” and “evangelical” province of the Anglican Communion.  (The White Horse Inn:  The Future of Anglicanism). Although two thirds of British Anglicans are Evangelical the situation here in the United States is opposite. Fewer than one third of Anglicans or Episcopalians are Evangelical much less Reformed or Calvinist.

Organizations like Church Society and the Sydney Anglicans in Australia give us some hope for reforming the American Episcopal and Anglican denominations and perhaps the Anglican Communion at large. However, even these groups are a mix of broad Evangelicalism, Amyraldianism, Arminianism, and true five point Calvinists and Anglo-Reformed theology. Sydney would fall more into the category of Amyraldian and five point Calvinism. Moore Theological College itself produces more students adhering to the Amyraldian view, although the archbishop, Peter Jensen, is himself a five point Calvinist. Others like Mark Thompson and Michael Jensen have made their position clear that they will not move from their moderate Calvinism. Gerald Bray and Lee Gatiss also offer us some hope, both of whom are from the Evangelical and Reformed Anglican tradition in the United Kingdom. Rev. Gatiss has a new book forthcoming on the theology of Augustus Toplady and his reformed views on the atonement. I look forward to reviewing that book in the near future.

Could it be that the Amyraldians are really one point Arminians rather than four point Calvinists? It seems to me that conceding even one point to the Remonstrandts opens the door for future compromises. As we have seen, liberals like to muddy the waters and throw in lots of details and rabbit trails to make their position seem tenable. But that is the same tactic taken by N. T. Wright and other New Perspectives on Paul advocates, including that of John Piper who claims to oppose the Federal Vision but winds up endorsing it by inviting Doug Wilson to his Desiring God Conference last year.

Trueman likewise dislikes polemics. If we take Trueman's position at face value then we cannot criticize Amyraldian views as outside the Reformed camp nor can we say that the Arminians, Federal Visionists or even Anglo-Catholics have no place within the Protestant Reformation. That is obviously wrong. Even if Trueman does not say this or even intend to imply that view, it is nevertheless true that his view can be wrongly seen as promoting a broad latitudinarian version of Reformed theology. Likewise, Trueman fails to see that his view is itself polemical. He argues that we all ought to just get along as best we can and stop condemning each other. That view is liberal and ecumenical, unfortunately, and those of us trying to argue strongly for the Reformed and Protestant catholicity of the Calvinist view—the reified view—find ourselves facing an uphill battle because of the insipid tolerance view promoted by what can only be called “popular” ecumenicalism and a broadly Evangelical perspective rather than a Reformed and confessional perspective. But in an underhanded way Trueman is saying that polemicists have no place in the Reformed center, which Trueman, Clark, Muller, and others get to define for us—and all the while they are claiming they are objective and everyone else is not! I have some swamp land for sale in Florida if you are interested!

May God have mercy!

Charlie J. Ray

Postscript:  I should add that Dr. R. Scott Clark's book, Recovering the Reformed Confession, is a dogmatic work.  Whether it goes far enough is another question.  John Frame's review of Dr. Clark's book reveals a huge gulf between a more dogmatic approach and a wider view of the Reformed tradition.  Frame's view is more open to the charge of latitudinarianism than any of the above except perhaps Dr. Muller.

i While I have not read much of Muller's work, he is seen in a positive light by at least one calvinistic Baptist over at the Founders.Org. [See God, Creation, and Providence in the Thought of Jacob Arminius: Sources and Directions of Scholastic Protestantism in the Era of Early Orthodoxy, by Richard A. Muller; Baker Book House, 1991; 309 pp. (paperback). Reviewed by Mark Dever of Nine Marks.

iiSee, Jonathan Edwards' View of Free Will. See also Edwards' book, The Freedom of the Will. Cf. Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will: The Sovereignty of God. Luther says to Erasmus, “This, therefore, is also essentially necessary and wholesome for Christians to know: That God foreknows nothing by contingency, but that He foresees, purposes, and does all things according to His immutable, eternal, and infallible will. By this thunderbolt, "Free-will" is thrown prostrate, and utterly dashed to pieces. Those, therefore, who would assert "Free-will," must either deny this thunderbolt, or pretend not to see it, or push it from them.” It would odd for Richard Muller to claim that Jonathan Edwards was an innovator regarding the necessity of the will when in fact Luther taught it way before Edwards came on the scene!

iv “Every philosophy, as I will explain in a moment, has presuppositions; some philosophers just won’t admit it. All philosophies, for the same reason, are dogmatic, though some pretend to be open-minded.” John Robbins in An Introduction to Gordon H. Clark,” Trinity Review, July/August 1993, p. 2.

v See, The Clark-Van Til Controversy, by Herman Hoeksema, Trinity Review, Number 249, November, December 2005.

viThe Incarnation, by Gordon H. Clark. (Jefferson: Trinity Foundation, 1988). See pages 75-77. Unfortunately, Clark died before completing his book and we are left hanging as to the full explanation of his position. However, I found problems with his attempt to dismiss the “human nature” as impersonal if we follow the Definition of Chalcedon 451 A.D. I had problems with his definition of a human person as a set of thoughts and propositions. It seems to me that this definition was as paradoxical and even more so than the definitions offered in the Definition of Chalcedon.

vii“The denial of “propositional revelation” is the denial that God reveals himself to men through the medium of words, that is to say, through meaningful statements and concepts expressed in words, for such is the only sense that can be given to the word “propositional” in this phrase. The denial that revelation is propositional in form, though widespread and repeated nowadays from writer to writer, runs counter to the biblical view of revelation. The view of the Bible is that revelation is essentially propositional. This may be established in two ways. First, by considering how the Bible describes reveleation, and secondly by examining biblical revelation to see what in fact its nature is.” D. Broughton Knox: Selected Works, Volume I: The Doctrine of God. Tony Payne, ed. (Kingsford: Matthias Media, 2000), pp. 308-309.

“If it is possible for an ordinary human to make a completely true proposition which is a revelational fact for those who have ears to hear, it is again the height of impiety to say that God cannot ensure that His servants do so, if He will; and not make one such true proposition only, but to make a whole series of them within the pages of the Bible, and to exclude from among them any erroneous propositions, if He will. That God has in fact done so must be believed by all who give credence to the teaching and attitude of Christ and of His apostles and of the whole of Scripture with reference to the character of Holy Scripture.

“The apostles explicitly affirmed that their words were the words of God, and that the propositions that they composed were verbally inspired by the Holy Spirit, e.g., “We teach not in words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth”. (1 Cor. 2:13).

“It is highly inconsistent to accept the authority of Christ and the apostles, and Scripture in general with regard to God and His relation to His creation, while rejecting that authority with regard to God’s relation to part of that creation, namely, to the words of Scripture.” Ibid., p. 316.

viiiEmpiricism, by Gordon H. Clark. Free MP3 lecture posted at Trinity Foundation downloads.

ix Shepherd is now an ordained minister with the Christian Reformed Church, a fact that should raise questions about that denomination's commitment to its own confessional basis. See, “Justification by Faith in the Theology of Norman Shepherd,” by Dr. David Van Drunen, Banner of Truth website.

x “. . . the Reformed confessions do not so much as mention the common grace that is supposed to be the very foundation of the Christian worldview, much less emphasize and extol it as the vital doctrine that Kuyper made of it. In fact, the only reference to 'common grace' in the 'Three Forms of Unity' is a condemnation of it as part and parcel of the Arminian heresy:

The Synod rejects the errors of those … who teach that the corrupt and natural man can so well use the common grace (by which they understand the light of nature), or the gifts still left him after the fall, that he can gradually gain by their good use a greater, viz., the evangelical or saving grace and salvation itself. And that in this way God on His part shows Himself ready to reveal Christ unto all men … (Canons of Dordt, III, IV, Rejection of Errors/5).
See, The Failure of Common Grace,” by David Engelsma. [I have to wonder here if the term “common grace” is not equivalent to “general revelation”. God reveals Himself in nature which can lead to a use of reason in the arts and sciences but not to the salvation of individuals or nations. Romans 1:18-32.]

xiTo his credit Dr. Godfrey left the Christian Reformed Church and helped to found the United Reformed Churches in North America. Scott Clark and Michael Horton are both ordained ministers with the URCNA.

xii “Janssen, however, meant something quite different. He was not struggling with the question: Is the Bible God’s reliable Word, or is it a collection of fallible human testimonies? He was not a nineteenth-century man! He lived in the 20th century on this side of the great gulf that the First World War had brought about in western civilization. Here the reliability of text was not so much at stake, but rather the reliability of human knowledge. He had a modern problem: can we understand the true meaning of a text? Janssen was looking for another way of reading in order to understand what the Bible meant, and in doing so he used a profusion of other sources, or to put it in theological terms: he made ample use of the rewards of common grace.George Harinck, The Geelkerken Case and Modern Culture”. [It would seem that the thesis of the more conservative Protestant Reformed Church in America is substantiated by scholars in the broader Dutch Reformed tradition.]

xiii “In May, 1952, Dr. Cornelius Van Til told a full house of Calvin Seminary and College faculty and students that if the common grace doctrine of the Christian Reformed Church prevailed one might as well blow up the science building of Calvin College with an atom bomb. This remark mightily irked the leadership of the Christian Reformed Church. It has always puzzled me-not the statement but that Van Til made it. For all his hedging and qualifying, Van Til held the same doctrine of common grace that Kuyper taught in his Lectures on Calvinism and that the Christian Reformed Church adopted in its decretals of 1924. 

In any case, that was the science building that has given the Christian Reformed Church Howard Van Till's denial of creation, Davis Young's denial of the flood, and the 1991 report on creation and science that affirmed full-blown theistic evolution.” Engelsma, The Reformed Worldview: The Failure of Common Grace.”

Reasonable Christian Blog Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost; Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen. 1662 Book of Common Prayer


Charlie J. Ray said...

Due to an e-mail sent to me by Dr. Clark I have corrected the text to reflect that Muller writes against the "Calvin versus Calvinism" school of thought.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Any other suggestions or criticism is welcomed.

Charlie J. Ray said...

I have to disagree with Muller, however when he says that Calvin never addressed universal atonement:

More simply put, was the value of
Christ’s death such that, it would be sufficient for all sin if God had so intended —
or was the value of Christ’s death such that if all would believe all would be saved.
On this very specific question Calvin is, arguably, silent. He did not often mention
the traditional sufficiency-efficiency formula; and he did not address the issue, posed
by Amyraut, of a hypothetical or conditional decree of salvation for all who would
believe, prior to the absolute decree to save the elect. He did frequently state,
without further modification, that Christ expiated the sins of the world and that this
“favor” is extended “indiscriminately to the whole human race.”
. "Was Calvin a Calvinist?", p. 10.

Clearly Calvin did address the issue in his commentary on 1 John 2:2,

2. And not for ours only. He added this for the sake of amplifying, in order that the faithful might be assured that the expiation made by Christ, extends to all who by faith embrace the gospel.

Here a question may be raised, how have the sins of the whole world been expiated? I pass by the dotages of the fanatics, who under this pretense extend salvation to all the reprobate, and therefore to Satan himself. Such a monstrous thing deserves no refutation. They who seek to avoid this absurdity, have said that Christ [1] suffered sufficiently for the whole world, but efficiently only for the elect. This solution has commonly prevailed in the schools. Though then I allow that what has been said is true, yet I deny that it is suitable to this passage; for the design of John was no other than to make this benefit common to the whole Church. Then under the word all or whole, he does not include the reprobate, but designates those who should believe as well as those who were then scattered through various parts of the world. For then is really made evident, as it is meet, the grace of Christ, when it is declared to be the only true salvation of the world.

Seems to me that Muller's presuppositions gathered from his neo-Calvinist and Kuyperian bias toward common grace and the free offer have tainted his reading of Calvin.

Mike said...

I read Broughton Knox many years ago.

In the first volume of his selected works published by Matthias Media, he said something to the effect that Christ the eternal Son of God, in the Incarnation, joined himself to the earthly person of Jesus of Nazareth.

At that point, I closed the book and burned it, and have never read another sentence he wrote.

Charlie J. Ray said...

That's too bad because your view would mean that the eternal Logos or Second Person of the Trinity replaced the human soul of Christ. That's a heresy known as Apollinarianism. I disagree with Broughton Knox's view on the atonement because he was essentially an Amyraldian, though his son, David Knox assures me that his father was a 4.5 point Calvinist. I don't know how he can say that Jesus only half way died for everyone. A hypothetical atonement is no atonement at all. The atonement is efficacious for the elect only.

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