A second aspect of the QIRC is the desire to be “right.” This is to be distinguished from the desire to “get it right.” The latter knows that he may be wrong, that being wrong isn’t a theory, it’s a reality. The question isn’t whether he is wrong but rather where he is wrong and how frequently. The fellow who knows he is right knows that because he must be right. He cannot be right. You’ve had discussions and arguments with such folks. If you say the sky is blue they will tell you that it isn’t really. Even when they’re demonstrably wrong, they will doggedly insist that they are right even if they cannot demonstrate quite how they are right.
Dr. R. Scott Clark, The QIRC-er Must Be Right
I wonder if Van Tilians ever claim to be right? Oh, wait. Dr. R. Scott Clark is not claiming to know what is right. He is just trying to get it right and he does not really know whether he is right or wrong. He is just progressing as he goes along. This reminds me of a verse in the Bible:
“always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith;” (2 Timothy 3:7–8, NKJV)
I guess for Dr. R. Scott Clark he cannot know if the trinity is right or not? Maybe the Bible could be wrong?
Really, these strawman arguments against dogmatic presuppositionalism or Scripturalism are just repetitious fallacies. Repeating a fallacious argument over and over again does not and cannot make it so.
And Scott Clark knows that Scripture is an analogy and it must be so. After all, if it is not so then the Van Tilians would have to admit they are wrong, would they not? As the redneck plow boy once said, "Say it ain't so!" Would Scott Clark entertain the thought that he might be wrong about Dr. Gordon H. Clark's fundamentalism and Scripturalism? No, he would not. So it would appear that the theology of paradox and contradiction extends even to the Van Til/Clark controversy. The difference is not that Van Tilians are just trying to get it right while the Clarkians know they are right. The difference is not even that Dr. Gordon H. Clark claimed to be infallible, unerring, or always right. He upheld the doctrine of total depravity, including the noetic effects of sin. Gordon H. Clark said many times that people can err by misunderstanding God's Word. In fact, the Bible says that individuals can and do twist the Scriptures to their own destruction:
“and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.” (2 Peter 3:15–16, NKJV)
Really, what R. Scott Clark is doing is deflecting any criticism of his own views. It is similar to the arguments used by Pentecostals and Charismatics that misuse the Scriptures to stop critical examination of the flaws in their experiential and subjective theology.
Saying, "Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm." (1 Chronicles 16:22; Psalm 105:15 NKJV)
The Van Tilian has more in common with the Anabaptists in this regard since their theology is based on existentialist paradoxes, inspired myths, and relativistic theology that changes with multi-perspectivalist logic. Of course, Scott Clark disagrees with John Frame's triperspectivalism. But a relativist disagreeing with another relativist is like saying, "I'm trying harder to get it right than you are!"
The only argument Scott Clark can mount against Scripturalism and Dogmaticism is to use the abusive ad hominem fallacy: "You're a rationalist. You're a gnostic." Of course, the Scripturalist view is not that we have secret knowledge. Rather, the Scripturalist view is that we are God's image and the mind and the intellect is not evil. In fact, Scott Clark is the gnostic because he thinks he has a secret insight that Clarkians do not have. The Clarkian view is that even a plow boy can read and understand the plain and perspicuous teachings of the Scriptures. Even a child can read and understand the Bible (2 Timothy 3:15). Why? Because even a child thinks logically and all language is formulated in terms of logic. A cat by definition is not a dog. Good by definition is not evil. I ask Scott Clark, "Is it prying into God's secret decrees and secret knowledge to know the Scriptures are God's literal, logical, univocal revelation?" I think not. (John 1:1; John 1:9). Of course, I do not claim to absolutely know anything. That would require omniscience, which I do not possess and never will possess. However, I do know that Scripture claims to be God's infallible, inerrant, and fully inspired Word (2 Timothy 3:16-16; 2 Peter 1:19-21; Isaiah 8:20). Furthermore, what God sends his Word to do, God accomplishes (Isaiah 55:11).
Scott Clark should come out of his ivory tower and stop hiding behind his curtain like the wizard of Oz. A real Reformed scholar is not afraid to answer his opponents' attacks publicly. Dodging the issues and pretending to be right is what Scott Clark is doing and it is the very thing he supposedly abhors. He is claiming to be right without even debating his opponents on the issues at hand.
Another example of Scott's irrationalism is when he claims to be a presuppositionalist but affirms empiricism as the basis for knowledge:
In such a deconstructed world, in reaction to the prevailing Gnosticism (“the world doesn’t work the way your senses tell you it does. (Ibid.)
Since when do the senses think? Animals have senses that are even more accurate many times than the human senses. Eagles have keener eyesight and dogs can smell much better. But can eagles or dogs think or do calculus? Can eagles do geometry or design a building? How is it gnosticism to insist on a particular epistemological worldview, namely that all knowledge begins with Scripture as the beginning axiom?
The senses are never wrong, right, Scott? Of course, magicians prove this not to be true all the time. After all, the whole point of magic tricks is to mislead the senses. But logic can figure out the trick where the senses never could.
What it really boils down to is that Scott Clark accepts the world's rationalism because he openly endorses the epistemology of the empiricists. Of course, this collapses into skepticism. It does so by allowing science to have equal authority or a higher authority than Scripture. When this happens you get departures from the Reformed view into theistic evolution and outright neo-orthodoxy. This is obvious enough from the recent scandals where both Tim Keller and Bruce Waltke have openly endorsed theistic evolution. (See: Bruce Waltke: Another Theistic Evolutionist Comes Out of the Closet).
Of course, this is a direct result of rejecting Scripture as the final authority. But the major reason that Van Tilians can do this is because they accept the three points of common grace endorsed by the Christian Reformed Church in 1924 during the modernist controversy. In fact, many of the Christian Reformed ministers were kicked out of that denomination because the leaders of the CRC decided that they knew they were right and the Protestant Reformed ministers were wrong.
Worse, because Scott Clark cannot decide what is true or not true, he cannot bring himself to call the Federal Visionists "heretics." Like the Presbyterian Church in America, he has decided that heretics are really just confused "friends." As the old saying goes, "Liberals of a feather flock together."
I do not know I am right. I believe it. And I believe it because I know what the Bible says. Of course, according to Scott Clark, we cannot really believe the Bible is God's Word. If we did that would be trying to be omniscient or something. Really?
Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said,`You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" (Genesis 3:1 NKJV)Well, according to Scott Clark, we cannot claim to be right if we say that God really said anything at all in the Bible. We are just hoping beyond hope we can get it right. Will we ever get there? Is it really a sin to practice sexual immorality or homosexuality, Scott? Do you know the Bible is right? Or maybe that is open to interpretation, too? So much for paradox. What's wrong today may be right tomorrow--including homosexual marriage (Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:24-28).
“To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:20, NKJV)