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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 Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Immanent or Transcendent? Quote of the Day: Gordon H. Clark

"To speed the dissolution of Christianity, it is not necessary to say that we know a contrary philosophy is true; it is equally effective to say that we do not know anything is true. The Gospel is a message of positive content, and whether it is dogmatically denied or merely silenced makes little difference."    --  Gordon H. Clark


However peculiar this type of philosophy may be, contemporary Protestantism is largely dominated by it. The Neo-orthodox ministers may talk about god and revelation, but they do not have in mind the objective God and the objective revelation of the Westminster Confession. They do not believe that the Bible tells the truth. For example, Emil Brunner, who through his books and through his one-time position in Princeton Theological Seminary has become popular in the United States, is so far removed from the Confession that he holds neither the words of Scripture nor the thoughts of Scripture to be the truth. To quote: “All words have merely an instrumental significance. Not only the linguistic expressions but even the conceptual content is not the thing itself, but just its framework, its receptacle, and medium.” A few pages later he continues, “God can…speak his word to a man even through false doctrine.” God then reveals himself in falsehood and untruth. What a revelation!


This type of theology is to be explained partly as a reaction to the immanentism of Hegel, for whom God or the Absolute is nothing other than the unity of the total universe. For Hegel, without the world there could be no God. Kierkegaard, Brunner, and their disciples want a transcendent god. Either immanence, or transcendence; not both-and. By insisting on the transcendence of god, they are able to cloak themselves with the pseudo-piety of their infinite passion and to deceive many Christians who know little about German theology. They can quote Scripture: Of course it may be false, but it is still a revelation. For example, in exalting god above all human limitations they remind us that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. Therefore, they say, the divine mind is so far above our finite minds that there is not a single point of coincidence between his knowledge and ours. When a Calvinist attempts to reason with them logically, they disparagingly contrast human logic with divine paradox. God is Totally Other. He is never an object of our thought. In one ecclesiastical meeting I heard a minister say the human mind possesses no truth at all. And last year in Europe I visited a certain professor who asserted that we can have no absolute truth whatever. When he said that, I took a piece of paper and wrote on it, We can have no absolute truth whatever. I showed him the writing, the sentence – We can have no absolute truth whatever – then I asked, Is that sentence absolute truth? Do you not see that if the human mind can have no truth, it could not have the truth that it has no truth? If we know nothing, we could not know we know nothing. And if there is no point of coincidence between God’s knowledge and ours, it rigorously follows, since God knows everything, that we know absolutely nothing.


With such skepticism, it is not surprising that their religion consists in a passionate inwardness that appropriates nothing objective. Unfortunately skepticism, particularly when discussed in such an academic tone as this address, does not provoke as passionate a reaction among the evangelically minded as it ought. But one ought to realize that even the most gentle and innocuous skepticism is sufficient to defeat the Gospel. To speed the dissolution of Christianity, it is not necessary to say that we know a contrary philosophy is true; it is equally effective to say that we do not know anything is true. The Gospel is a message of positive content, and whether it is dogmatically denied or merely silenced makes little difference.

What is more unfortunate is that the skepticism of Neo-orthodoxy is especially insidious. Men who adopt the position of Kierkegaard and Brunner not only make use of terms such as God and revelation, but they also talk of sin and justification. Some of them might even preach a tolerably good sermon on imputed righteousness. This deceives simple-minded believers. When people hear the familiar words, they naturally assume that the familiar ideas are meant. They fail to see that the Neo-orthodox consider neither the words nor even the intellectual content to be the truth. Although the sermon may be on Adam and the Fall, the Neo-orthodox minister understands the words in a mythological sense. Adam is the myth by which we are stimulated to an infinite passion.

Gordon Clark (2011-07-02T18:48:21+00:00). God's Hammer: The Bible and Its Critics (Gordon Clark) (Kindle Locations 3429-3461). The Trinity Foundation. Kindle Edition.

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