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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

Monday, February 04, 2013

Daniel's Place - (Reformata et semper reformanda): The 20th century Reformed downgrade

At the risk of being called a "fundamentalist" again, I will make a brief comment about Daniel Chew's analysis of Dr. R. S. Clark's article on republication of the covenant of works in the Mosaic law.  According to Chew, Clark acknowledges that there has been a misuse of the doctrine of common grace.  R. S. Clark half-heartedly has admitted that common grace ought to be called "general providence," but due to his loyalty to the late Dr. Cornelius Van Til he cannot bring himself to admit that Van Til's theology naturally gravitates toward these errors.  John Frame and Vern Poythress are good examples of where Van Til's theology leads.  

For all practical purposes the theology of irrationalism predominates the theology of Van Til's students and those who claim to support his legacy.  Although I agree that mono-covenantalism leads to a confusion of law and gospel, one has to consider that the theology of common grace has had the same effect by confusing general revelation with special revelation.  The problem with Van Til begins with his adherence to common grace and extends to his exaltation of general revelation above special revelation so that he must compensate for that allegiance to general revelation by using an altered view of the doctrine of God's incomprehensibility to water down special revelation and then conflate the doctrine of common grace with general revelation.  When that happens the next step is to emphasize God's works above his special revelation in Scripture.  We cannot know what Christian history is or what salvation history is apart from the verbal plenary inspiration of Scripture and a solid understanding of the infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture.  

Mike Horton's systematic theology, The Christian Faith, for example,  downgrades the doctrine of verbal plenary inspiration and instead chooses an eclectic mix of modernism, postmodernism and an emphasis on Eastern Orthodox theology in regards to God's "energies."  This is nothing more than a clandestine attempt to undermine propositional truth as revealed in Holy Scripture.  Horton claims that Scripture does have propositional truth but that Gordon H. Clark and Carl F. H. Henry were "prying" into the "secret being" of God by saying that Scripture is the Word of God.  The theology of analogy is essentially a capitulation to neo-orthodoxy.  Once that happens everything collapses into an anthropocentric theology from below.  The Bible is not theology from below.  It is the very words and thoughts of God univocally revealed on the creature's level.  If Scripture is not the same thoughts that God has, then man knows nothing about God's will whatsoever.  If all truth is God's truth, then where God knows a truth that is true and man knows something of that same truth as it is revealed to man, then at that point both God and man know the same thing--even if God knows much more than man does about that point of truth and convergence.  If David was the king of Israel, is that true for both God and man or is it false for God and only true for man?

The most recent example of the effect of exalting common grace and general revelation above Scripture is Bruce Waltke's conversion to the theistic evolution view.  Of course, science knows more about creation than Christians do.  After all, Scripture is just inspired myth in Genesis 1-11.  But these theologians do not seem to realize that if creation is a myth then so is Adam and Eve and the whole system of theology derived from Scripture by the Reformed standards collapses.  That's why Fuller Theological Seminary, once a fortress of Evangelical and Reformed theology, has fallen into liberalism and why mainline Reformed denominations are now liberal.

The downgrade is common grace and Van Til's theology of paradox and irrationalism.  If only Mike Horton and R. S. Clark could see the direction their theology is headed, would they change course?  I think not.  The doctrine of total depravity makes it clear that man is unable to change himself, including corrupt and proud advocates of theological error.

Daniel's Place - (Reformata et semper reformanda): The 20th century Reformed downgrade

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