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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

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Free Offer of the Gospel | R. Scott Clark

"In reply the Presbytery wishes to suggest that if man does not know at least one truth that God knows, if man's knowledge and God's knowledge do not coincide in at least one detail, then man knows nothing at all." -- 1944 Philadelphia Presbytery of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.


Dr. R. Scott Clark persists in misrepresenting the late Dr. Gordon H. Clark as a "rationalist" and a "hyper-Calvinist."  In a posted article he says:


Given the necessary chasm between God and the creature, as taught by Calvin and defended so ably and so long by Cornelius van Til, God must accommodate himself to his creatures. This accommodated revelation of God’s mind and will is ectyptal theology (theologia ectypa). It is based upon God’s self-understanding, but not identical with it. Ectypal theology, as the adjective suggests, is a reflection of the archetypal theology. It is true, but it is accommodated to human creature.

It would appear that neither the Hyper-Calvinists nor the Open-Theists have understood or accounted for this distinction. All revelation is necessarily an accommodation. It is not as if, sometimes we have direct, unmediated access to God and at other times we do not.   The Free Offer of the Gospel | R. Scott Clark

It would appear that Dr. R. Scott Clark is ignorant of The Answer given to these charges by the Presbytery of Philadelphia when it responded to Ned Stonehouse and Dr. Cornelius Van Til.  That response cleared Dr. Gordon H. Clark of the charge of rationalism.  Yet Scott Clark continues to post straw man arguments against G. H. Clark.  If these men had bothered reading G. H. Clark's numerous books they would clearly see that G. H. Clark rejected rationalism outright many times over.

First of all, the charge that G. H. Clark said that ectypal knowledge is equal to archetypal knowledge or the incomprehensibility of God is patently false.  What Gordon H. Clark said was that the accommodated revelation of God to our level is univocally the very words of God.  Simply because this revelation is accommodated to the creature does not make it less than God's very words revealed in logical and rational propositions.  The dispute is over the claim that "at no single point" does God's knowledge and our knowledge coincide, not even in the Bible.  If that claim is true then it implies the neo-orthodox position.  I suspect that Dr. R. Scott Clark and Mike Horton believe in theistic evolution due to the framework theory of Genesis 1-2.   Basically, if you buy the idea that Genesis 1-11 is "inspired myth" then you can appeal to a modified form of Thomas Aquinas' theory of analogy to justify your capitulation to what can only be called neo-orthodoxy. 

What is amazing is that the neo-Calvinists like R. Scott Clark, Mike Horton, and Scott Oliphant keep repeating the same charges leveled against the late Dr. Gordon H. Clark while ignoring that The Answer rejects their view and approves of Dr. Gordon H. Clark's view.  G. H. Clark was not a rationalist:

What Dr. Clark said was that though God's knowledge of a truth is different from man's knowledge of the same truth, it is none the less the same truth that they both know; if indeed man knows anything. The Complaint avers that it is a prerequisite of ministerial good standing to believe that God's knowledge and man's knowledge do not “coincide at any single point” (P. 5, 3; O. 21). It tries to set up as a test of orthodoxy the denial that man knows even one truth God knows. If therefore God knows that two times two are four, and that Christ died for our sins, man cannot know these propositions. Man and God, according to the Complaint, cannot know the same truth, because God's knowledge and man's knowledge do not “coincide at any single point.” And this view the Complainants are attempting to make a test of orthodoxy. In reply the Presbytery wishes to suggest that if man does not know at least one truth that God knows, if man's knowledge and God's knowledge do not coincide in at least one detail, then man knows nothing at all. God knows all truth, and if man's mind cannot grasp even one truth, then man's mind grasps no truth. Far from being a test of orthodoxy this test imposed by the Complaint is nothing else than skepticism and irrationalism.   (The Answer:  On Incomprehensibility, Part Six).

The smoke screen for closet liberals is to raise a fuss against "fundamentalists, rationalists, and hyper-Calvinists" to disguise their own departure into liberalism.  Dr. Bruce Waltke resigned from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida because he believes in theistic evolution.  His justification for that view is "common grace."  After all, "science" is equal to Scripture, is it not?  Dr. R. Scott Clark is guilty of what I call the QIRU or the Quest for Illegitimate Religious Uncertainty.

To read Dr. R. Scott Clark's empty charges against those who stand with classical Reformed theology click here:  The Free Offer of the Gospel | R. Scott Clark

Addendum:  R. S. Clark tries to say that G. H. Clark and other "fundamentalists" who reject the theory of analogy somehow endorse anthropomorphism and anthropopathism as part of their position:
Sometimes this accommodation is intensified by the use of anthropomorphism (the application of human behavior to God) or anthropopathism (the application of human emotion to God). Thus, in Scripture, God is sometimes said to have eyes (Zech 2:8) or to travel (Gen 20:3) or to repent (Gen 6:6–7). This sort of language has always been interpreted by the catholic Church to be metaphoric or symbolic not because of pagan a priori notions of God, but because of clear Biblical propositions about God which have been used to interpret the narratives in which God reveals himself anthropomorphically. For example, Scripture teaches clearly that God does not change (Mal 3:6) or repent (Numbers 23:19). Therefore, on the analogy of Scripture and by the analogy of the faith, such clear propositions must interpret what are obviously more difficult passages which seem to ascribe human qualities to God. To do otherwise is to reduce the God of Scripture to an incompetent and worse to an idol.  (Ibid.)
Not once in any of the writings or audio lectures that I know of did Gordon H. Clark ever deny that there are anthropomorphisms and anthropopathisms in Scripture.  However, Scott Clark has confused categories.  Simply because Scripture contains anthropomorphisms and anthropopathisms does not make all of Scripture an "analogy."  Is all of Scripture an anthropomorphism or an anthropopathism?  I think not.  Confusing the particulars with the whole is a serious logical fallacy.  Moreover, Gordon Clark was taken to task by The Complaint for his denial that God has any emotions whatsoever:

First of all, Dr. Clark specifically states (p. 16) that the statement of the Westminster Confession that “God is without . . . passions” means that God is lacking in feeling and emotion. Although he objects to a definition of feeling or emotion which would make those words mean anything different from “passions”, he does not make provision for any other faculty in God's nature which would be non-intellectual and non-volitional. 

*****

What, in the first place, is the Reformed teaching about the aspects of God's nature, or, if you will, the faculties which reside in God? That God has knowledge and will is agreed by all. The questions that must concern us are two: Does God have what may properly be called “emotions”? and, what is the relation between God's faculties?



If we assign to the word “emotion” an a priori definition which in the nature of the case identifies emotion with “passions”, it would obviously be denying our standards to say that God has emotions (Westminster Confession, II, 1). God does not change; there is no shadow of turning in him; he is not a man that he should repent; he is immutable. Certainly, also, God does not share certain of the qualities which we call “emotions”, such as fear, longing, and surprise. If we are to speak of feelings or emotions in God at all, we must confine ourselves to his attributes which are sometimes summed up under the word “benevolence”: love, goodness, mercy, and grace. Even here, we must be careful to defend the immutable self-determination of God. But the question still remains, can these be identified with, or associated with, the idea of “emotion” or “feeling”? Obviously, we define those words in their narrow but perfectly good colloquial sense as something which arouses the will and thus determines action. In fine, is there any quality or faculty in God which is neither intellectual nor volitional, and which underlies or accompanies volitional activity? That question, in similar words, Dr. Clark studiously avoided answering (p. 16).
******

Although love may, perhaps, be volitional, it must involve feeling or emotion—not in the sense of passions, passivity, or change, but feeling in some sense akin to those which we have, which determine our will and action. It is necessary to deny external determination in God's pity, compassion, jealousy, hatred, love, and “repentance”; but it is difficult to see how internal determined feelings can be eliminated.


(The Complaint).
I find it amusing that Dr. R. Scott Clark is accusing Gordon H. Clark and the Scripturalists of idolatry when in fact the followers of Cornelius Van Til were the ones who were advocating that God has emotions in the conflict of  1944.  Apparently, the Van Tilians were "prying into God's secret being" by asserting that God has emotions.  By R. Scott Clark's own admission that view is idolatry.  Gordon H. Clark and his supporters answered the charge this way:

The final reference to this subject is (P. 9, 2-3; O. 36), “A recollection of Dr. Clark's forthright denial of anything that might be called 'emotion' in God, cited above, will thus impress us that he not only does violence to the Scriptural and Reformed doctrine . . .” Dr. Clark never made any “forthright denial of anything that might be called 'emotion' in God.” Love or wrath “might be called an emotion.” Dr. Clark did not deny love and wrath to God. He holds that while some people might call God's love and wrath emotions, it is better to classify them as volitions. In this Dr. Clark is accord with a large section of the history of theology, and even of literary usage. As an example of literature (not of Reformed theology), it is possible to cite Pascal on page 24 of Everyman's translation: “It is natural for the mind to believe, and for the will to love.” As an example of Calvinistic thought these phrases of Augustus Toplady are appropriate (Complete Works, 1869, pp. 106, 107, and 687): God “is not, for instance, irascible and appeasable; liable to the emotions of joy and sorrow; or in any respect passive.” “When love is predicated of God, we do not mean that he is possessed of it as a passion or affection. . . . Love, therefore, when attributed to him signifies . . . his everlasting will, purpose, and determination to deliver, bless and save his people.”  (On Intellect, Will, and Emotion:  The Answer).

What is truly amazing to me is when a professor of historical theology makes a straw man accusation against Scripturalism when in fact it is his own faction that was promoting anthropopathism, which is clearly idolatry.





Charlie

 

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