Friday, April 3, 2015

The Emergent Apostate: A Paradigm for Deceptive Unbelief


As I continue to provide an apologetic for the traditional Christian belief about Scripture as over against, let’s call him Ted to respect his request not to be called by name, my detractor, I want to be clear that if the reader thinks we are going to provide the sort of argument Ted thinks he needs to change his mind, then he or she will be sorely disappointed. I told Ted at the beginning of our discourse over at Cannon Fodder that our basic disagreement was at the level of worldview. Specifically, my belief about the nature of Scripture and Ted’s belief about the nature of Scripture are radically contradictory. Ted has repeatedly argued that Scripture is not the Word of God, that it is not authoritative, that it is not binding, and that it is not inerrant. Ted argues that a person’s view on the nature of Scripture cannot rise above the level of opinion. It is all a matter of interpretation and since it is a matter of interpretation, there can be no final word on the subject. Now, it is not my purpose to write a defense of Scripture. I provided a previous post to that end. It is my intent to criticize Ted’s line of reasoning, his method of argumentation if you will.

First of all, we are gong to work with the definition of knowledge as justified true belief. We say that a person possesses knowledge when they hold a belief x, that they have good reason for believing x, and that x happens to be the case. Notice that if Ted is correct in his understanding of interpretation, he cannot know anything at all. The best he can do is form an opinion. Opinions, at least in this context, are not authoritative. Hence, God does not have these sorts of opinions. In order for Ted to refute traditional Christianity, he will have to do better than give us his opinion. Second, Ted wishes to make claims about whether or not other people possess knowledge. For instance, he says that I cannot know God’s position on Luke’s belief that Adam was a historical person. To what does Ted appeal in order to substantiate his claim? After all, if everything is a matter of opinion and interpretation, so too is this view. And if this statement by Ted is nothing more than Ted’s opinion based on his own fallible interpretation, then why should I bother to pay any attention to what he says? Does Ted possess knowledge that all human opinions are just human opinions and that none of them ever rise to the level of knowledge? Would not such a position require omniscience? I suspect Ted would deny that he makes this claim even though this is the logical end of his argument.

Now, Ted believes that the Scriptures are not the Word of God. Ted’s belief is based on his claim that Bible never claims to be the Word of God. Is it the case that the Bible is not the Word of God? Does Ted demonstrate justified true belief?

The key to Ted’s claim to knowledge is in the second proposition: “Ted’s belief that the Bible is not the Word of God” is based on his view that the Bible does not make this literal claim about itself. Is this a good reason for Ted’s belief? Does the Bible have to say that it is the Word of God in order for me to believe that it is the Word of God? I do not know how such a proposition can be defended. Does Ted have to claim to be a man in order for someone to believe he is a man? Does my wife have to claim to be my wife before I believe that she is my wife? Does a dog have to claim that it is a dog in order for me to believe it is a dog? Are there other reasons that would justify my belief that the Bible is the Word of God? I think I have given those reasons. The Bible communicates with presumed final authority. The authors of Scripture refer to other parts of Scripture as the Word of God and binding. Jesus’ own position lends itself to this view. Ancient Judaism and historic Christianity have both held this view of Scripture. The history of the Bible itself demonstrates that at the very least, the Jewish and Christian authors, and leaders throughout the centuries testify to this belief. But more than that, the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit on Christian beliefs lead us to conclude that the holy Scripture is the Word of God, binding, authoritative, inspired by God, and inerrant. Christianity as a system affirms the Bible is the Word of God. Christianity also affirms that only the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit can open human understanding to know this truth. Finally, Christianity affirms the belief that the Bible is the Word of God is a faith position.

The conclusion is that Ted’s reason for rejecting the belief that the Bible is the Word of God is simply not plausible. It follows then that Ted’s reason for his belief is not a good reason. Since knowledge requires good reason for the belief, we can conclude that Ted cannot possible know that the Bible is not the word of God because his knowledge claim involves insufficient reasons. What we end up with is that Ted believes that the Bible is not the X. But his reason for believing that the Bible is not X is logically implausible. Additionally, it is actually not the case that the Bible is not X. Hence, Ted’s claim to knowledge in this case turns out to be a logically indefensible argument. I should also mention that Ted’s claim that I nor anyone else can know that the Bible is the Word of God is even more of a epistemological and logical blunder than his claim that it is not the Word of God. The reasons are obvious and I will not get into them here. How could Ted know what someone else knows?

The Nature of God

Ted also argues against the traditional view of God’s righteous nature. Ted claims that the actions of OT Israel, where children were killed are immoral. The Christian God, Ted claims, is a loving God and He would never participate in such conduct. First of all, Ted provides no argument for how he knows this about the Christian God. Remember the requirements for true knowledge. Ted must believe that God is X; he must have good reasons for believing that God is X; and X must actually be the case. But when pressed about his claims, Ted provides no objective reasons whatsoever. All he gives us are his own opinions about what God is like. The basis of Ted’s opinions is not objectively grounded in knowledge about God but rather, Ted’s feelings or sense of what God must be like. Ted may want to quote the New Testament in order to support his view. But if he does, he will have to explain to us why his fallible interpretation should be preferred over two millennia of Church history and scholarship. Secondly, Ted will have to explain why he thinks Scripture is unreliable in other places but reliable when it comes to this or that isolated text that describes God as loving. An example of God’s wrath is displayed in Acts 5 when Ananias and Sapphira were both executed by God for lying. Here we have two people who sold their property and gave half of it to the Church. Couldn’t God have overlooked a little vanity? After all, to give half is more than generous. Yet, God killed both of them. Ted may retort that this story should be taken as myth. But Luke gives us no reason to think that the story is anything but actual history.  We are not entitled to relegate historical narrative to myth just because we don’t like how the narrative depicts God.

Ted says that it is immoral for God to send a 16 year-old boy to hell just because the boy sinned for 3-4 years. Now, this is an example straight out of Rob Bell. This is emergent nonsense. By thinking along such lines, Ted reveals a gross misunderstanding of God’s righteous nature as well as the nature of sin. Sin is behavior contrary to the perfect holy nature of an infinite God. Temporal punishment would never satisfy the nature of an infinitely righteous God. Additionally, Revelation 21:8 confines all men who were guilty of rejecting God in this life to eternal damnation and this is without respect to their age.

The Nature of Man

Ted has also denied that men are born sinners. Paul explicitly refutes this view in Romans 5:12-21. Ted’s view of sin does not comport with Paul’s teaching on Sin or on Jesus teaching on the necessity to be born again. David clearly said he was formed in sin in his mother’s womb. Men are not good people that make pretty bad mistakes from time to time. We are wicked people who engage in grossly wicked conduct from birth. But for grace, no man would ever submit his life to the holy God of Scripture. Ted denies that men hate God yet when the God revealed in Scripture is described to Ted; it is not hard to see how Ted feels about Him. He is an immoral monster unworthy of worship.

The Nature of Language

Another interesting move by Ted in his effort to eradicate historic Christian orthodoxy is his attempt to assign the biblical texts to that of the products of men, natural works with no supernatural components. Moreover, Ted claims that the OT historical narrative is really best understood as myth rather than Jewish men like Moses writing under the influence and control of the Holy Spirit to produce exactly what God wanted written. Why does Ted believe this? He claims that since all the other ANE narratives contain myth, so too must the Jewish religious texts. Once again, we have to ask if this argument is logically cohesive. Upon examination we discover that it is not. It commits the genetic fallacy, and that, in a very loose way. It is simply wrong to think that because writers from this era utilized myth as a literary device, that the Hebrew writers like Moses must have used it as well. Why should we believe this? Remember true knowledge is defined as follows: one believes X; one has good reasons for believing X, and X happens to be the case. Does Ted have good reasons for thinking that the Hebrew writers wrote just like every other ANE writer? What is the connection? Why is Scripture classified with those documents when it is clearly unique? Moreover, is all the material from the ANE mythic in nature? Are there details that are intended to be literal historical records? The problem for Ted is that he does not like the behavior of God on the one hand, the miracles on the other, and then, Ted’s idol of modern science that serves as his sole authority for what he will and will not believe. As it turns out, the argument that the OT is filled with myth or legend is based on an overly loose view of how ANE writers approached history on the one hand and, more importantly, it completely ignores the unique character of the sacred Scripture on the other hand.

For example, when we compare the Genesis creation account with the Enuma Elish, we observe a number of very significant differences. First, the Babylonians gods are identified with nature while the God of Genesis is separate from all of creation. The gods of Babylon depend on magical incantations while the God of Genesis is viewed as powerful within Himself. The God of Genesis is one while the Babylonian gods are many. The creation account in Genesis is orderly and structured while the Babylonian account takes place through intense conflict and warfare. These are just a few significant differences. In addition, the Enuma Elish was written somewhere around the 18th to the 12th century while Moses wrote Genesis around the 15th century. Given the context of Moses’ life, it is simply a position of rank unbelief to think that he would have borrowed from such a pagan polytheistic source.

In summary

Ted’s doctrine on Scripture is based on his own indefensible claim that the Bible must claim to be the Word of God. Now, I believe the Scriptures actually do make that claim and they make it clearly. But for the sake of argument we shall be satisfied with debunking Ted’s method of argumentation.
Ted’s doctrine of God is based on his own philosophy as opposed to God’s own divine self-disclosure. He thinks he picks Christ over the God of the OT when all he has done is make the revelation for both completely unreliable, at least within his system.

Ted’s claim that men are not born sinners and that they do not hate God is a matter of outright contradiction to the teaching of Scripture on the subject. 1 Corinthians 1-2, Romans 1-3, 8 are all clear about this. Finally, Ted’s philosophy of language literally leads to skepticism. Based on Ted’s own view of true knowledge, no one could really know anything with any authority whatsoever. And if they could, then Ted’s entire argument reduces to nonsense. Ted’s entire approach is consistent with that of the emergent Church. They stand for nothing, or so they think, and question everything.

Ted’s position on the nature of Scripture, God, humanity, and language are each non-Christian positions. Ted’s argument is an argument from unbelief. Whatever Jesus Ted claims to love, it is not the Jesus who was brutally crucified today, 2,000 years ago to satisfy the wrath of a righteous God so that we might have life and have it more abundantly.

פסח מאושר


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16 comments:

  1. Okay, Ed, in the previous post, assures me he will answer my questions...

    I will answer your questions.

    And so I will engage long enough to see if he holds true to his word. Ed, as I answer your questions/address your points, I will place my questions to you in bold so you can be sure to address them.

    I am "Ted," should anyone be reading this besides Ed. I pointed out in the previous post that this post is full of misrepresentations of my actual positions. Rather than back down and admit an error, Ed has asked me to point out what he has wrong. And so, here I go.

    Ed says about my supposed positions...

    Ted has repeatedly argued that Scripture is not the Word of God, that it is not authoritative, that it is not binding, and that it is not inerrant.

    1. What I have actually done is simply point to some observable facts, facts that anyone can see and accept.

    2. I pointed to the fact that the Bible makes no claims about "the Bible." That is a fact, one that Ed appears to concede, although he says it's not necessary for the Bible to make that claim for someone to extrapolate out the idea out from what the Bible does say.

    But just to be clear, Ed, do you agree that the Bible makes no claims about "the Bible," just as a simple point of fact?

    3. I am saying that the Bible makes no claims about "the Bible," and does not claim to be "authoritative," or "inerrant" or any other of your human terms/ideas. Not in those words or in any other words, not directly. Some humans have read the words and, using their human reasoning, extrapolated out the notion that "the Bible" is "authoritative" and "inerrant," but these are not direct biblical teachings at all.

    Do you agree with this, that the Bible does not directly at any point call "the Bible" inerrant, authoritative, etc? Again, this is just a fact, but if you disagree, please provide the places where the Bible says this about the Bible.

    I believe you can agree with that reality.

    4. I personally hold the opinion (not from God, just my unprovable opinion - just as your opinions are YOUR unprovable opinions) that the Bible is "inspired" by God (not "written/co-written by God," which the Bible does not say and for which we have no data to support the idea... but there is a line that mentions scripture being inspired and I can agree with that).

    5. So, my actual point is that the Bible is not ALL of God's Word. My actual point is that "God's Word" is a way of referring to all that God believes/wills/wants/plans/desires. To that end, God's Word (the literal thing) is much bigger than the Bible (which is inspired by God and thus, I believe, has "God's Word" - God's Will/God's Plan - in it, but it is not ALL of God's Word).

    When we use the term "God's Word" in reference to the Bible, it is a euphemism, a term saying that, to us, the Bible is as God's Word, it is part of/descriptive of/employs stories passing on "God's Word," in part, to us. It makes no claims of being ALL of God's Word/God's Will. It makes no claims that the Bible IS "God's Word," that is a human euphemism, not a term from God to us.

    Do you agree with me that God's Word is not a biblical term for the Bible?

    Do you agree with me that God's Word is larger than just the Bible, that the Bible does not contain ALL of God's Word/God's Will?


    I will await to see if you answer these relatively easy questions and do so directly.

    Respectfully and with God's Love for you, Ed,

    Dan

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    1. You know Dan, I don't think any intellectually honest person could ask the question once again about whether the Bible claims "the Bible" claims that "the Bible" is the Word of God. Since the Bible did not exist in its present form when the authors penned it, it was impossible for any one of them to look at it and say or write "the Bible is the Word of God." Your question is meaningless because it involves impossibility. However, the contents of the Bible as it stands claims, implies, infers, and assumes to the be the Word of God in all places. To ask a question like you have ask is to ask a meaningless question because it offers us absolutely nothing concerning the question: are the holy Scriptures the Word of God? These DO claim to be the Word of God and the evidence is abundant. Therefore, by inference we can say that Bible does claim that the Bible is the Word of God in an indirect, but very clear way.

      I will answer your question one comment at a time because it is more convenient.

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    2. I agree that it was impossible for the Bible to make any claims about the Bible because the authors of the documents that became the Bible were all dead by that point in time.

      It is like collecting the top chemists in all the world, say a dozen and asking them to write an article in their specific area of expertise. The writings of these chemists would be deemed THE authority of chemistry in the world. Now, suppose a few years later we collect those articles and place them in the Bible of Chemistry. We could look at this one book of articles and recognize its nature to be THE authority on Chemistry even though it never once refers to itself in that way. Your argument is ridiculous Dan and you should have paid better attention to my blog post.

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    3. Deuteronomy 29:29 (NASB95)
      29 “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.

      What God wills beyond what He has revealed in Scripture is off-limits. We know this because God revealed it to us in Scripture. Whatever God reveals is binding and authoritative. Whatever God does not reveal cannot be known. God's revelation is captured and set down for us in Scripture. How do we know?

      1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.
      Heb 1:1–2.

      The Scripture, which is God's revelation to us, is sufficient for faith and practice. It is all we need to be concerned with to please and glorify God in this life. What God has not revealed cannot be known.

      Second, there is nothing in God's hidden will that contradicts what He has revealed in Scripture. Any attempt to get at that which is hidden can never move beyond conjecture and speculation.

      What do you mean by inspired?

      Men wrote as the Holy Spirit moved them so that what they produced was NOT the product of human will, but divine activity.

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    4. Reformed theology holds that God's Word is God's revealed will. We also hold that God's hidden will while totally consistent with God's revealed will (synonymous with Gods Word, the Scriptures, now called the Bible) is hidden for a reason and it belongs to the Lord which implies it is off limits. You cannot know it. It is unrevealed. Do I think God speaks apart from His written Word? no I do not. God's last Word is His Written Word which is Christ speaking in Scripture. Every time someone came along in the NT claiming God spoke outside of apostolic tradition, they were tagged false teachers and dealt with harshly.

      The Scriptures are sufficient. 2 Tim. 3:16-17. Now, that text tells us that ALL SCRIPTURE. It does not say that some Scripture is God's Word, or that Scripture contains God's word, it identifies Scripture as God's Word, and it says ALL OF IT. The Scriptures are enough for whatever needs we might have in our life in Christ.

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    5. I have some questions for you.

      If the Scriptures (the thing we now call the Bible) are not binding or authoritative, why aren't they and how do you know?

      Why wouldn't God judge a 16 year old for his sin and confine him to eternal damnation because of his rejection of Christ?

      Do you believe that same-sex behavior is a sin that God will judge under any and all circumstances?

      Can people go to heaven without becoming Christians? How? How do you know?

      Do you believe the Bible is the Word of God? How do you know?

      Is all belief just an unprovable opinion that no one can ever really, truly know?

      Can anyone really truly know anything?

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  2. Ed...

    You know Dan, I don't think any intellectually honest person could ask the question once again about whether the Bible claims "the Bible" claims that "the Bible" is the Word of God.

    What is dishonest about asking a clarifying question? I noted, in my words, that you appeared to agree with me on this ("That is a fact, one that Ed appears to concede"), I was just clarifying.

    The point of the question, Ed, is to make the distinction between simple, observable fact and human opinion.

    It is a fact that the Bible never speaks of "the Bible," nor that it ever calls itself "authoritative," "binding" or "inerrant."

    Some humans have the opinion that, even though the Bible does not say any of that, that these are reasonable extrapolations from what the Bible does say.

    Other humans disagree with that opinion, holding other opinions.

    We are agreed, then, that the first is a fact (The Bible does not make any of these claims) and the second is human opinion (it is a reasonable extrapolation to make)?

    The question then moves from whether or not the claim (These are reasonable extrapolations to make) is a "fact" or "God's Word" - since they're not - to "Are these reasonable extrapolations to make.

    Agreed?

    I'm just establishing a baseline between fact and opinion so we can move forward discussing the rationality (or not) of your opinions.

    Ed...

    What God wills beyond what He has revealed in Scripture is off-limits. We know this because God revealed it to us in Scripture. Whatever God reveals is binding and authoritative. Whatever God does not reveal cannot be known.

    Here, you are question-begging, thus making a logical fallacy and undermining your point.

    It is an open question "Are human interpretations of ideas extrapolated out of Scripture inerrant?" You can't rationally then say, "They are inerrant because all of our interpretations about scripture are 'revealed in Scripture...' and thus, inerrant..." Revealed to whom? Your camp holds one opinion, other camps hold other opinions. Why is your camp's opinion the one that "wins..."? On what authority?

    If you say "scripture" you are engaging in a rational error of circular arguing and question begging. You and I are both looking at Scripture and reaching different conclusions.

    On what rational basis is your opinion the one that wins out?

    Looking forward to your answers. I'll answer your question in a separate comment.

    Respectfully (and Joyous Easter to you!),

    Dan

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    1. The Bible cannot speak of the Bible. To ask me this question is like asking blind person how many fingers I am holding up. The answer to your question is meaningless to our conversation and unless you can demonstrate why it matters and how the question is actually intelligible, then I am going to ask you to stop asking it. How can something make statements about something that does NOT exist in a particular form? STOP IGNORING MY POINT Dan. You blow right by my point as it I didn't make one. Address it or shut up about the absence metabiblical comments that are meaningless.

      Did any author of the Bible have the opportunity to write anything about the Bible in its current form? If the answer is no, that means the question is idiotic. You think it means something. I think it means you are not the sharpest tool in the tool shed and it makes me wonder about your ability to keep up in what should be a simple discussion.

      No, it is NOT human opinion that the Bible is the Word of God. See my Bible of Chemistry example and deal with it.

      You cannot establish a baseline off a question that is such an outrageous and logically fallacious way to reason.

      Human ideas that agree with God's ideas have conclusions that rise to the level of knowledge. Because God reveals facts and truths about Himself we are safe in assuming that humans are created in such a way so as to be able to understand them.

      Jesus is the Son of God, God incarnate. Christians know this with certainty. We are His. He has saved us. We have eternal life. We know the truth. We know these things with certainty because the Holy Spirit applies His Word of our hearts and minds which have been regenerated by God's work and grace. Those who reject these teachings demonstrate that they are NOT of us. If they were of us, they would believe with us. But since they do not believe with us, they cannot be of us. Get it?

      My rational basis is not a rational basis. My basis is God speaking in Scripture and the fact that He has opened my understanding to receive the things He teaches me through the work of God the Holy Spirit.

      Tell me more about your rational standards.

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  3. If the Scriptures (the thing we now call the Bible) are not binding or authoritative, why aren't they and how do you know?

    I don't "know" objectively and authoritatively that they are not, but I also have no reason to suspect that this human theory is reasonable or biblical. I do have rational and biblical reasons why I doubt it, beginning with the very simple, very observable fact that the Bible never makes that kind of claim. Ever. Not one time, not in any similar words. So, why would I?

    Why wouldn't God judge a 16 year old for his sin and confine him to eternal damnation because of his rejection of Christ?

    The idea is an affront to our God-given notion of justice. Justice, to be just must include the notion of proportionate punishment. If I put a four year old in Time Out for lying about something, that is an appropriate punishment and just. If I kill the child for lying about something, that is WILDLY disproportionate to the crime and UNjust.

    Do you disagree?

    Justice, as we recognize it in God's Word/God's Law written upon our hearts and consciences and as supported in biblical teachings, must not have punishment disproportionate to the crime.

    Do you disagree?

    Do you believe that same-sex behavior is a sin that God will judge under any and all circumstances?

    Absolutely not. Why would I?

    Can people go to heaven without becoming Christians? How? How do you know?

    I am not able to speak authoritatively about what may or may not happen to people after death. I have no objective data on which to make any fact claims. I do have opinions, but they are not provable.

    Just as is true for you, agreed? Your opinions are not provable facts, they are just your unsupportable opinions on any ideas about this topic, agreed?

    My opinion is that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all people should be saved. My opinion is that God so loved the world that he came to seek and to save the lost.

    Additionally, My opinion is that God has given us free will and will not force anyone to be part of God's Kingdom, we have that choice, but it is God's will that all be saved. How that balances out is beyond my certain knowledge as it is simply not provable one way or the other. I can certainly offer you more opinions on the topic if you wish, but they will be, as with you, my unprovable opinions.

    cont'd...

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    1. If you do not know, then your best course of action is to excuse yourself from such conversations. What have you to contribute but..."I don't know." And that is just not helpful. You should leave the conversation to those who do know.

      Concerning the 16 your-old, your response is purely subjective. My sense is that it is perfect just for God to confine any and all God-haters to eternal damnation. The history of man clearly demonstrates that just is not at all an idea around which we are even close to achieving consensus.

      Your understanding of justice is far from that revealed in Scripture. Perhaps you should read it again. And if that Scripture is not binding, and so wide open to interpretation, how do you get to this conclusion?

      It was easy to predict that you would endorse the perversion of homosexual behavior. You guys are all alike. Very easy to predict.

      Actually, the things that I am representing are uncontroversial within the Christian community and have been recognized as divine truths revealed by God for thousands of years now. So, yes, they are undisputed facts by those who are in a position to judge them.

      You quote the Bible where it suits you and where it condemns you or contradicts you, you dismiss it. God will not be mocked Dan. Apostasy is a serious matter and you reside in a position before God that should make you tremble. If it does not, then there is a good change you are reprobate.

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  4. Do you believe the Bible is the Word of God? How do you know?

    I believe it, taking it on faith. I don't objectively "know," nor can I prove it, nor can I prove what it means specifically that it is "the Word of God." I do not hold the opinion that it is the Entirety of God's Will, for I have no reason to suspect that it is and rational reasons to doubt that opinion.

    Is all belief just an unprovable opinion that no one can ever really, truly know?

    We can know observable, demonstrable facts. My car is blue and that is verifiable. I have two children and that is verifiable. I have been legally married for 30 years in June, and that is verifiable. These are facts that I can know.

    When we move to ideas that can't be verified, then we can not demand that they are "known facts" or "proven facts" when they are, in fact, human opinions about unprovable matters.

    Now, not all opinions are equal. Some are more rational/supportable than others, but they ARE opinions, not proven facts.

    Basic reason and mere human humility would demand that we not conflate our unprovable opinions with facts or "God's Word..."

    Agreed?

    Can anyone really truly know anything?

    We can know as fact that which can be verified and established as fact.

    It is entirely possible that there are facts that exist that we don't know. For instance, if I hold the human opinion that God loves gay folk and is entirely fine with them marrying, that is my human opinion and it is not provable. But, if after I die, God says, "You know what Dan, you were absolutely right about my will/my opinion on that topic," THEN I will know it as a fact and, it will turn out that my opinion WAS a fact, it just was not an established fact and therefore, not "known."

    Again, this is just reasonable and sound logic.

    Do you disagree? Or do you think that there are some "facts" that exist (about God's Will, for instance) that you can't prove, but are somehow "known facts..."? If so, based on what, if it can't be demonstrated/corroborated?

    Respectfully,

    Dan

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    1. I am not sure what you mean when you say "God's will." Do you mean God's plan? Do you mean God's prescriptive for belief and behavior? Why would God have a will that he wanted us to know but that He does not tell us clearly what it is?

      There are at least two problems with your principle of verification and I dealt with one of them in my post. You have ignored it. How do you verify your principle that everything ought to be verifiable? That statement itself is no verifiable. Yet you build such dogma on it. Secondly, you seem to ignore that biblical faith actually provides for the highest sort of verification. If you are left guessing about the things that I am affirming, it is because you have not experience genuine faith. Those of us that have been given the gift of faith through regenerating work of the Holy Spirit do not have a high degree of certainty about our salvation and knowledge of God's truth. Our views do not feel highly probably true. We know they are true. We are certain about them. God has made them evidence to us as much as 2+2 = 4 is evident to the natural mind.

      There is a difference between opinions and true knowledge. It is my opinion that Christ will reign 1,000 years and then the great judgment comes. Others believe that the number 1,000 is symbolic. I am not sure. I am open to the latter and intend to look at it closer as time permits. However, I know with certainty that Christ will literally come again. I know with certainty that He died and on the third day he rose again and that my sins are taken away and that I am justified. These things are not a matter of my opinion. The Scripture uses plain grammatical-historical human language to communicate. It is why Scripture can be grasped by the simple as well as the educated so long as their minds have been regenerated.

      You are now going to have to justify your principle of verification. If everything must be verified, then so too must your principle. And your justification for your verification will also require verification, and so on and so forth.

      It is not reasonable and sound logic to make an argument that leads to an infinite regress. And that is precisely what you have done. Somewhere, your claims to knowledge will have to be anchored in something.

      The view that science alone is a rational approach to the world is simply false. At the end of the day, your science too rests upon, not scientific foundations, but upon philosophical ones. And I will not allow you to ignore that fact nor will I allow you to take such an uncritical approach to your idol of science and human reason.

      Your philosophy of fact begs the question Dan. In order for a fact to be fact, it has to comport with your definition of fact or it is not a fact. Can you demonstrate that you are a real person with a real mind? Can you prove that you are more than just a blob of molecules in motion?

      It is a fact that God forbids homosexual behavior of any kind. We know this because God, speaking in plain language in Scripture using rules of grammar with which we all are familiar stated it as clearly as it could possibly be stated. I can take that as a fact. Now the serpent says, "but how to you know?" That may not be what God meant. Are you sure that is what God said?

      You need to go back to my posts and do more than just call things into question. You need to understand that you cannot challenge one position without holding to one yourself.

      You seem to dismiss the Bible from the category of known facts. Christians think the Bible is our greatest source of known facts, that we cannot know anything with greater certainty that we can know those things the Bible teaches. That is what Christianity teaches.

      Your positions Dan are the product of an apostate who has denied the faith, retaining only those things that you grew up with that you like and purging everything else because at the end of the day, YOU are your own measure for what is true. You pick the method by which you decide how every other claim will be measured.

      Delete
  5. Ed...

    However, I know with certainty that Christ will literally come again.

    So, our difference seems to come down to this: You are willing to call things "known facts" when you don't factually know them to be facts because you have nothing on which to base that facts except your opinions. Your worldview, then, appears to be a self-confirming one where your opinions are facts NOT because they can be verified but because you REALLY believe them to be facts.

    Am I mistaken? If not, on what bases do you elevate your unprovable opinions to facts?

    I'm reading your many words but not seeing an answer to this very basic question. I'm beginning to think (after having dealt with many conservatives in the blogosphere for over a decade now, not to mention growing up in that world for the first 30 years of my life) that it often comes down to this: many conservatives can't separate out facts from opinions and have a sort of emotional-cultural blindness to this reality, because when I point it out, they never see it.

    I am entirely fine with someone saying, "No, I can't prove this to be fact, but I'm convinced that this is the most rational, most moral, most likely biblical explanation for..." whatever the topic is. But that is not the same as saying, "I can't prove it is a fact, but I 'know' it is because..." and no good answer is ever given, much beyond "because I REALLY believe it and so do all the people who agree with me..."

    But if you have an answer to that question - ON WHAT BASIS do you say you can't be mistaken in your unprovable opinion? - I'll be glad to consider your answer.

    In Christ,

    Dan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To be sure Dan, we do have a fundamentally different philosophy of fact. You seem to think that "fact" is just something that is there, apart from interpretation, waiting to be discovered. There is no such thing as an uninterpreted fact, a brute fact if you will. Second, there is no such thing as neutrality in our interpretation and investigation of fact. Your interpretation of the facts rises to true knowledge only when it ends up comporting with God's pre-interpretation of the facts. Here is an example: God created all things. Ants are things. You discovered ants. You think you know what an ant is. But if you interpret an ant as a life form non created by God, you have wrongly interpreted the ant and your knowledge of that ant is actually false.

      I am still waiting for you Dan to defend your philosophy of fact, your principle of verifiability, and your view of science and reason.

      Before you accuse Christians of not being able to distinguish between opinions and facts you better be able to demonstrate the difference yourself and be able to provide a plausible defense of your view.

      The Bible COUNTS as proof Dan. Why do you think you can place the Bible aside and ask us to come up with evidence that only you will count as supporting our case? YOU don't get to set the criteria for what qualifies as a fact of Christian theism, of reality, of the universe. When Scripture says that God spoke to Abraham, I can say it is a fact that God spoke to Abraham. When Scripture says David killed Goliath, Adam had sex with Eve and she had Cain, I can say these are facts of history. I can say that the resurrection of Christ is a fact. I can say that it is a fact that there is no salvation outside of Christ. I can say these things because the plain language of Scripture says them.

      Now, your statement that the Bible cannot be used as a factbook for Christians will require justification. If you claim that that statement is a fact, you will need to demonstrate just who you came to this knowledge. If it is your opinion, then I can dismiss it as the nonsensical opinion of an apostate. But if you put up an real argument, well, then I will deal with your argument. So far, you have offered nothing but your postmodern rubbish at this point. There is no philosophical meat on the bone you offer Dan.

      Delete
  6. Ed...

    The Bible COUNTS as proof Dan. Why do you think you can place the Bible aside and ask us to come up with evidence that only you will count as supporting our case? YOU don't get to set the criteria for what qualifies as a fact of Christian theism, of reality, of the universe.

    1. Your first line begs the question: The Bible INTERPRETED BY WHOM counts as proof. If merely saying, "I read it in the bible and I think it means X" is definitive proof, then I have proof that my views are right, therefore you are wrong...

    do you see the problem in this? WHOSE interpretation of the Bible counts as proof? On what basis?

    2. Of course I do not get to set the criteria for what qualifies as a fact of Christian theism, that is my point. NOR do you.

    Agreed?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ed...

    I am still waiting for you Dan to defend your philosophy of fact

    I hate to break it to you, Ed, but I don't have a "philosophy of fact..." When I refer to a fact, I just am using the word as standardly defined in the English language. No idea what you're looking for, so I can't really help you unless you explain what you mean by that.

    As to what you called my "principle of verifiability," all I am saying is that those things that can be verified are what we can reasonably call "known facts..." I would ask you: How do you "know" something you can't verify? On what rational basis is that "known..."?

    ReplyDelete

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