Thursday, May 11, 2006

Staring into the "Void"...

“There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus” - Blaise Pascal, Pensees

"You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you" - Augustine of Hippo, Confessions,

"Codswallop" - The Internet Monk, A God-Shaped Void? Maybe Not

The latest essay by the Internet Monk really caught my attention. It is challenging and thought provoking in a number of topics, and I wanted to spend some time going over his ideas.

I’ve lived most of my life submerged in the world of churches, Christians, Biblical language, and the Christian worldview. (Sorry Joel) As I’ve moved into the second half of life, I’ve become aware that I need to separate myself from the Christian culture that has dominated my life, and to look closely for where my own assumptions are deeply embedded with the concepts, presuppositions and categories of the spiritual/intellectual/social/religious environment that surrounds me.

As part of my journey to deconstruct this evangelicalism I’ve lived in, I have consciously attempted to appreciate the thinking and experience of those who do not share my Christian faith. This process has been difficult, because the “house” of my personal experience is completely furnished with the furniture of a Christian society, church language, Biblical presuppositions and the basic beliefs of the Christian community.

Any number of people I am aware of would find nothing wrong with the basic idea Michael is criticizing here. "Given the state of decay in our culture, should we not attept to build our own community, our own language, our own presuppositions, in order to keep the more corrosive aspects of 'the world' at bay?" Given my own growing appreciation for the liturgy and the greater Christian traditions in music and theology, I am sympathetic to the notion that we ought to strive for our own language and way of viewing the world, in opposition to the way the wider world does so.

But I am speaking here from my own experience, as an adult convert to the faith who had not grown up in a community of faith. Michael has done so, to an extent I cannot understand. And even with my limited experiences since my conversion, there is much in the "spiritual/intellectual/social/religious environment" in American evangelicalism that is not helpful - that is either "Christianized" bits of the wider culture, or bits of the earlier manifestations of American/Christian culture maintained out of inertia or fear of change. And Michael's concern throughout his essay is for evangelism - how do we speak across the divide between the culture of the Church and the culture of the world. And his main point is that one of the key assumptions of much evangelical effort - the famous "God-shaped vacuum" extolled by Augustine and Pascal - may not fully apply in our day and age...

One day, in a class discussion about a recent chapel message, Steve spoke his mind. I can’t quote him, but it was something very much like this:

“Why do Christians always say that you can’t be happy unless you are a Christian? It’s insulting to a person who isn’t a Christian to be told that they will never be happy without Christ. I’m not a Christian, and I am happy most of the time. I am happy with my friends and they things I enjoy doing. I don’t want or need Christianity to be happy.”

To quote the hanky-waving lady in the local African-American church….”Well……” So should we argue this point? “Steve, you just don’t know what happiness is. Trust me. You have no idea how happy I am compared to you.”...

What was meaningful to the young people interviewed was life, family, love, work, relationships and the enjoyment of this world. They were comfortably, happily attuned to this world. Spiritual tattoos aside, they had little thought of much beyond what their senses or experiences presented to them.

In other words, Augustine’s famous “God-shaped void” didn’t make its expected appearance in anything near the numbers expected.

This is the problem. The people Michael is profiling here don't see a need for the Christian faith. They are, as Ravi Zacharias puts it, "happy pagans".

The dilemma of the "happy pagan" is real. But how did these "happy pagans" appear in such numbers? I have two ideas on that.

1) The West is RICH. Though it doesn't get preached on much in the West these days, the Bible (both Old and New Testaments) is chock full of warnings of the spiritual corrosiveness of wealth. As Michael so aptly puts it in the conclusion of his essay, we are physical beings. If our physical needs are met and exceeded, and our minds are entertained, we naturally have a sense of well-being. And we in the West are, in the vast majority, very well taken care of, and very well entertained. If we have what we want in this life, and we have no expectation of another, what need is there for God and the Cross? Trying to tell someone like this that Christianity will make him or her "happier" - especially if we tie the moral demands of the faith into the package that directly impact their cherished means of continued happiness - what is their motivation to cross over to our side?

What do we say in response to this? I don't claim to have a pat answer, but perhaps one opening is a consideration of the ephemeral nature of life's happiness, and the effect that overabundant wealth has in even a secular frame of reference. Civilizations more often fall from within than from without - and growing soft and secure through wealth and leisure is a surefire way to start and accelerate the process. The current state of affairs concerning the West vs radicalized Islam is a prime (albeit un-PC) example of this.

Of course, the ultimate Christian answer is that this life is NOT all there is - and that the next life is of the utmost importance as opposed to this one. Alas, here the second factor in the disappearance of the vacuum appears...

2) the West is POST-CHRISTIAN. Whatever concensus Christian thought may have held in the West - and even in Medieval times, it was still an amalgam of Christianity with Roman and Germanic cultural elements - the concensus has been lost. Our culture has been fed by four consecutive centuries of secularization, privatization, and in some cases outright denigration of religious belief. That cultural background is there in all of us, even in the most Bible-thumping Young-Earth-Creationist charismatic-non-cessationist Christian alive. The cultural tide is against outright appeals to the Age to Come - what Marx famously derided as the "opiate of the masses". Even if someone grants the necessity for faith in something, the sense is that "we tried Christianity, it didn't work, let's move on to something else". I think it was C.S. Lewis who said that the difference between evangelism in a pre- vs post-Christian society is the difference between wooing a virgin and wooing a hardened divorcee.

(Another thought struck me as I was composing this - where is the Church growing today? Where are the pagans being converted? In places of suffering. In places where the Church is persecuted. "The Blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church." How much is the Church in the West suffering? Why should we expect great results if we are not? ... And do you find this train of thought as uncomfortable as I do?!?)

Scripture tells us that if there a God-shaped void, we will rarely see or encounter it in obvious ways. What we will see is a race numb and dead. A planet of people refusing to think about God or think about God except in idolatrous- self-serving- terms. A world of people who see no more relevance to the Gospel than to a thousand other things that make absolute no sense or have no claim upon a person at all.

This is, however much it may pain those like Michael and myself who are tired of the endless wranglings over Calvinism in evangelical blogdom, "total depravity". However much I may deplore the debates over the TULIP, the truth of the matter is that humanity is hostile to God. They always have been.

So, how do we reach them?

([A]re) we aware to the extent that we insist everything outside of our belief systems conform to our own thoughts, presuppositions, concepts and beliefs?

Well, to a certain extent I sympathize with those whom Michael is criticising. If there is any conviction to our faith, we *have* to believe that our "thoughts, presuppositions, concepts and beliefs" - especially regarging Christ and the Gospel - ARE TRUE. And that what Mohammed, Marcus Borg, and Dan Brown say is NOT TRUE. The real problem here, though, is *how* one apprehends that truth. And here Michael is spot on - most apologetics walk unbelievers through a scripted part, which in reality few are willing to play. I still read - and enjoy - Peter Kreeft's books of Socratic dialogues between his Christianized Socrates and all manner of unbelievers. But the unbelievers in Kreefts books are too logical, too willing to back down from their core beliefs when his Socrates shreds their arguments. Kreefts books are a stimulating intellectual fantasy, but a poor preparation for real-life discussion.

I am amazed at the hostility many of these same Christian friends have to the notion of having extended, equal and fair conversations with unbelievers. In affirming the necessity of a spiritual operation on the mind and heart of a person, and the importance of making Christ the central focus of saving faith, we are not told to do nothing but preach, and to preach only in the way, voice, content and forms that we are comfortable with. The call to be a witness or a missional communicator is an invitation to incarnation and Christlikeness in motive, method and message.

If we take seriously the unbelief of unbelievers, then we pray, share the Gospel and do so in a way that is completely incarnational. We do not make them into projects. We fully humanize the process of evangelism, and we take unbelief seriously.

I think what Michael is saying here that we should seek to build *friendships* with those whom we would witness to, and not try to get them to read the scripts in our evangelistic plays. We must walk a fine line between witness and compromise, a line that cannot be standardized for every believer and every situation...

For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. (I Corinthians 9:16-23)

The burden of reaching out is on us, not the pagan. And the "reaching out" is not by compromising our worship or our beliefs - they are what makes us Christians. If we abandon our worship and our faith, what exactly are we calling people *to*? No, our outreach is with *ourselves*, as Christ reached out to us...

The God-shaped void is absolutely there. It is the HUMAN PERSON! But it is not a void…it is someone made in God’s image, a person loved by God; a person for whom Christ did all his mediating work. This person and their beliefs (or lack of beliefs) are not a threat to us. We do not need to manipulate or control them. We can allow them to have their life, their journey and their experiences. We do not need to demand anything of them for us to present/represent Christ to them.

Packaged presentations, timetables, competitions for most converts, bait-and-switch Gospel ploys, "seeker-sensitive worship" - if someone played these tricks on us Christians, would *we* feel honored? Would we be more attracted to what they were offering by these methods? The modern ideal of truth separated from incarnation - in reality a *Gnostic* ideal - must be set aside. If we want to talk to others about a God of love, *we* have to *love* them - and not just by handing them tracts.

Today’s young people are bored with God. They are not “seeking” God at all, but are living on the hardened surface of a fallen human experience, seeking to make sense of what is incomprehensible apart from Christ. We cannot “create” interest apart from the work of the Spirit. Our calling to be witnesses is not to approach the world like cattle to be herded, but as persons to be loved in the way God loves this fallen world through Jesus Christ. We live in a generation and time dead to God and alive to entertainment and a consumer mythology that promises and delivers meaning through stimulation and amusement.

Christ has become the servant and savior of such a world. We live in that world, fully human, fallen, redeemed, rescued, living and hoping in the new creation. How do we speak of these things? It’s a question we must keep answering fearlessly.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The T4G Statement

The official version of the T4G statement is now online. The Tavern has been discussing the matter, and I recommend the points made by Joel and Phillip and Joel again about it. But I promised my two cents, and here they are...

Articles I-IV (Scripture & Truth)
Much of the content in these four articles is standard boilerplate (affirmations of inerrancy, repudiations of postmodernism and pragmatism, etc), but three issues in particular caught my attention.

Authority of Scripture – there appears to be a contradiction between Articles I and II regarding the role of Scripture as the Church’s authority. In Article I, the Bible is described as “the sole authority for the Church”, whereas in Article II it is “our final authority for all doctrine and practice”. There is a BIG difference between sole and final, as any Reformed person would gladly tell you (especially in regards to the great Solas of the Reformed tradition). I know that the majority of the drafters of this document fall into the Baptist end of the ecclesiological spectrum, where the idea that only the Bible should have any constitutional authority is widely accepted. But Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and Lutherans (and even some Baptists), while acknowledging Scripture as final authority (at least in theory), regularly use creedal documents to organize their theology, church life, and liturgy. Are they in error to do so? Is Scripture the “last court of appeal” (the final authority), or is it really the only valid authority (the sole)? An editorial faux pas like this is quite astonishing.

Truth and Scripture –
the phrase where the signatories affirm “the ability of language to convey understandable truth in sentence form” caught my attention. I looked at the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy last fall, and one refrain that returned again and again in that document was the centrality of “propositional truth”. Is the use of the phrase “understandable truth in sentence form” a fall-back from hard propositionalism? After all, poems have sentences, do they not? And do they not convey meaning?

Expository preaching – The phase at the heart of Article IV is left undefined. What sort of “expository preaching” is vital? Word studies? Theological systematics? What is the role of “story” and redemptive history in preaching? Where does exposition about the Gospel depart from proclamation of the Gospel? (The two are NOT synonymous, unfortunately.)

Articles V-VII (The Godhead and the Incarnation)
Nothing in here caught my eye as being too far beyond the pale.

Articles VIII-XIII (Salvation and the Gospel)
Article VIII stood out in my eye (and to others) as a sore point. “(T)he Gospel is revealed to us in doctrines that most faithfully exalt God’s sovereign purpose to save sinners”. What exact “doctrines” are being discussed here? At this point, perhaps a working definition of “the Gospel” should have been given. We were told in Article VII that the life, substitutionary death, and resurrection of Christ are essential parts of the Gospel. We are also told in Article XII that justification by faith alone is also an essential part of the Gospel. But are these parts the whole? They seem to be telling us about the Gospel without really telling us what the Gospel really is. This confusion seems common in some Reformed circles – the assumption that discussion of parts equals presentation of the whole. If the situation in the Church is really as bad as the preamble would seem to indicate, perhaps giving us some basic definitions of the terms they are defending might have been useful?

Articles XIV- (the life of the Church)
The Lord’s Supper – Article XIV states that “the Lord’s Supper can(not) faithfully be administered apart from the right practice of church discipline.” Again, a major definition is left hanging in mid-air. Just what is meant by “right church discipline”? Based on my knowledge of at least one of the participants, I suspect that the presupposition lurking behind this statement is that only intra-congregational communion is acceptable. IOW, if you are a member of our congregation, we can theoretically tell if you are not living in a way as to endanger your participation in the Supper - but if you are a visitor professing faith in Christ, how can we tell? The merits of “open vs. closed communion” can and should be debated, but it would be good to know what is really meant by this denial, so that second-guessing is unnecessary.

Gender roles – this one has generated the most “heat” in online discussions, and I leave that debate to others. I’ll only say that I am sure that the Church in America is doing many things that is “damaging its witness to the Gospel” – I’m not at all sure that the question of womens’ ordination is the most pressing of these things, however…

As I noted in the Tavern last week, a much more thorough, balanced, and ecumenical treatment of the Gospel was done seven years ago, called The Gospel of Jesus Christ: an Evangelical Celebration. I think it is by far the worthier and more weighty document, and deserves far greater attention that it has received up to this point.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Pound Re-Opens

(Blows dust off of the Blogger template and looks around)

Getting re-adjusted to life back home took up a lot of my time - in addition to spotty internet connections, and sheer inertia. But recent stirrings on the Internet have given me an opportunity to reassert myself for... well, I don't know if there's any audience left, but that's probably for the best as I meant this mostly as an online diary for myself anyways.

I haven't kept up with the Christian conference circuit for quite a few years now, but evidently a high-profile one just wrapped up called Together for the Gospel, featuring a lineup of evangelical luminaries such as Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, C.J. Mahaney, and Al Mohler. One of the results of this latest conference is a confessional statement called "The Together For The Gospel Statement" (initial online versions are here and here, but evidently the conference website is going to issue an "authorized version" quite soon). The Tavern has been chatting the document (and the conference) up, and looking the statement over I was interested in jotting down what I thought of it. I was just going to do this on my own computer, but Adrian Warnock has put out a call for bloggers to join him in a systematic analysis of the document once the official version is online. So, I once again take up my ethereal pen and put down my thoughts for no one in particular. ;-}

Sunday, February 05, 2006

It's Been a Long Time...

Over a month, by my estimation. It's been a busy one at that, and not all good. Moving, getting sick, moving again, starting at work, starting at church...

Anyways, Peter, I'm sorry I missed your meme. My bad. Anyways, send me an e-mail and let's get RE:Union back on track.

On a more theological note, at one point in the last month I was counseled by my pastor to jump-start my prayer schedule again. He recommended finding a quiet, worshipful place to pray. He actually recommended the Basilica of the National Shrine to the Immaculate Conception. I've visited it a few times, and here is my observation of it.

1) Architectually, it is mindblowing. It was really brought home to me how much evangelicals have abandoned the use of art and architecture in our churches.

2) Mary is quite the center of attention. Well, I suppose that's hardly a surprise. I wouldn't feel comfortable praying in all the chapels there because of this - in fact, there's only one I really use, the Byzantine Chapel. I am not on the pro-Marian bandwagon to the same extent Paul Owen is, and I don't see myself ever doing so. But walking out of the Basilica after my first prayer time there, and considering the way Mary was venerated (as I believe, wrongly), I had to ask myself, "Is this really so different in God's eyes from the way we evangelicals venerate the USA in *our* worship?"

Is it, really?

3) They have a kick-butt bookstore there. I'd probably appreciate it more if I were a Roman Catholic, but I have been able to add some hard-to-find Chesterton books to my collection because of this store.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

On My Way Home

"One stage of your journey is ended - another begins." Gandalf, The Two Towers

It's been a busy two weeks at school, what with final assignments and packing and what not. Today, my dad and I start the long drive home. Prayers for our protection would be appreciated.

Lord willing, I'll be back home for Christmas - and back at this blog.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Musings on the CSBI Part IV

Part III of the CSBI is laid out in articles of affirmation and denial. I am going to focus on those articles I would like to see clarified or reconsidered.

Article V

We affirm that God's revelation in the Holy Scriptures was progressive.

We deny that later revelation, which may fulfill earlier revelation, ever corrects or contradicts it. We further deny that any normative revelation has been given since the completion of the New Testament writings.

Article XVIII

We affirm that the text of Scripture is to be interpreted by grammatico-historical exegesis, taking account of its literary forms and devices, and that Scripture is to interpret Scripture.

We deny the legitimacy of any treatment of the text or quest for sources lying behind it that leads or relativizing, dehistoricizing, or discounting its teaching, or rejecting its claims of authorship.

Here we get into those "hermeneutical" issues that Peter keeps bringing up. ;-} The relation of the Old Testament to the New - the question of the applicability of the Mosaic Law to the Church and the present world - is a hermeneutical question of the highest import. If we are no longer to stone Sabbath breakers, use bitter waters to decide cases of adultery, or not eat pork, have not those commandments been "corrected" and "contradicted"?

"Grammatico-historical" exegesis of Hosea 11:1 alone yield the exegesis of it that Matthew used? The exegesis of the Old Testament by the New is usually *typological*, not grammatico-historical. I do not want to see GH exegesis disposed of, but used in conjunction with the NT pattern of OT exegesis. This, BTW, would also have the advantage of taking care of a lot of dispensational excesses. ;-}

The question of how to read the OT comes down to whether or not we read the Bible Christologically. I would like that to have been made more explicit here.

Article XI

We affirm that Scripture, having been given by divine inspiration, is infallible, so that, far from misleading us, it is true and reliable in all the matters it addresses.

We deny that it is possible for the Bible to be at the same time infallible and errant in its assertions. Infallibility and inerrancy may be distinguished but not separated.

Article XII

We affirm that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit.

We deny that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science. We further deny that scientific hypotheses about earth history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood.

Article XIII

We affirm the propriety of using inerrancy as a theological term with reference to the complete truthfulness of Scripture.

We deny that it is proper to evaluate Scripture according to standards of truth and error that are alien to its usage or purpose. We further deny that inerrancy is negated by Biblical phenomena such as a lack of modern technical precision, irregularities of grammar or spelling, observational descriptions of nature, the reporting of falsehoods, the use of hyperbole and round numbers, the topical arrangement of metrical, variant selections of material in parallel accounts, or the use of free citations.

The whole question of what standard of truth is being used as the canon of inerrancy is again raised. Here they qualify what does *not* qualify - modern technical precision, exact quotations, etc. So what *does* qualify?

This question also impacts the article on creation and the flood. And again, the hermeneutical angle is prominent. How are we to interpret these chapters of Genesis? Does observation of creation today have any valid place in that interpretation?

Article XVI

We affirm that the doctrine of inerrancy has been integral to the Church's faith throughout its history.

We deny that inerrancy is a doctrine invented by scholastic Protestantism, or is a reactionary position postulated in response to negative higher criticism.

The affirmation of the truthfulness and inspired nature of Scripture *has* been the concensus of the Church throughout its history. But the nature and intensity of the inerrancy debate in the past 100 years, I think, *does* have some bearing on the dual rise of scholasticism and liberalism - both being sides of the same Enlightenment coin. The framework of Enlightenment thinking was tailor-made to spark this debate, and fed both sides of it.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

What *Is* the Bible, Anyways?

Fellow tipster Jim at the Tavern asks some very good questions about the Bible.

What saves? What sanctifies? Is it the paper? The binding? The leather cover? The words on the page? The page numbers? The cross references? The running commentary by Saint Scofield? Further, is it the whole BIble that saves me, or just particular verses? Are some verses more salvific than others? Are people who memorize more scripture than me more sanctified? Is there a minimal subset of the Bible needed to save people? Is that why we print and hand out the Gospel of John? Can you be saved by the RSV? The NIV? The Jerusalem Bible? The KJV? Do we have to be able to read the original languages?

Someone will come back with, "we're talking about the content of the Bible, not the physical book." But then, I ask, where is the content? what is the content? What are we talking about? The ideas that the bible conveyed in the Bible certainly are ideas about how salvation and sanctification are accomplished, but are we saved by the ideas? It seems to me that runs up against the problem of mental competence; we're back to being saved by subscribing to a set of principles, rather than being saved by (Christ).

Making such propositional statements about something that's understood by faith is problematic. It seems more than a little silly to me, and I suspect it might be the source of grave errors.

Musings on the CSBI Part II

Continuing my series on the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, I now turn to the Summary Statement.

1. God, who is Himself Truth and speaks truth only, has inspired Holy Scripture in order thereby to reveal Himself to lost mankind through Jesus Christ as Creator and Lord, Redeemer and Judge. Holy Scripture is God's witness to Himself.

I do like the Christocentrism of this first clause. The centrality of Christ to understanding the Bible is the critical issue - something Our Lord Himself taught.

2. Holy Scripture, being God's own Word, written by men prepared and superintended by His Spirit, is of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches: It is to be believed, as God's instruction, in all that it affirms; obeyed, as God's command, in all that it requires; embraced, as God's pledge, in all that it promises.

It would be nice if they offered a definition of "infallible" up front, rather than assuming it. And the Scriptures "require" a lot of things - the OT law is a prime example, are Christians bound to any or all of *its* "requirements"? A blanket statement like #2 here makes cannot be made, without some hermeneutical qualifications.

3. The Holy Spirit, Scripture's divine Author, both authenticates it to us by His inward witness and opens our minds to understand its meaning.

A biblical truism (II Cor. 3; I Cor. 2). But as Paul Hazelden points out in his commentary on the CSBI, "I have had far too many nutters telling me they know something is true because the Holy Spirit gives them an 'inward witness' to its truth." I think the use of the plural here in this clause is the key - the Spirit works in and through the Church in all ages, and we ought to weigh our insights with theirs, especially in the core matters of the Faith (Trinity, Christ, the Cross). We do best if we do not read the Bible in a vacuum, by ourselves.

4. Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God's acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God's saving grace in individual lives.

Wholly and verbally? I don't think this is supportable even by Scripture itself. As the author of Hebrews says, God spoke to the prophets in many and diverse ways (Heb 1:1-2). Did God dictate the Psalms to David? There are certainly places where God dictated His word out - Sinai being a prime example. But that is not the only paradigm to understand where Scripture came from.

And again, the question of hermeneutics comes in. I will grant that God does not tell us lies about His works. He created the world, it did not arise spontaneously out of nothing. But what exactly *does* Scripture tell us about God's acts in creation? Ask Henry Morris, and Hugh Ross, and you'll get two diametrically opposed answers. Hermeneutics again raises its ugly head. The assumption of some sort of blanket perspecuity seems to be lurking in the background of this clause, and I think this will come back to the fore again as this goes on.

5. The authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired if this total divine inerrancy is in any way limited of disregarded, or made relative to a view of truth contrary to the Bible's own; and such lapses bring serious loss to both the individual and the Church.

Ah, the dialectic of "either/or". Either "total divine inerrancy" (and again, inerrancy is not yet defined here), or "(t)he authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired". I'm familiar with this sort of thinking. I used to engage in it myself. Everything is black and white, logical, and if something is not totally one thing it is totally another.

Note the clause about "the Bible's view of truth". Again, a key part of the arguemt is left undefined. What *is* the Bible's view of truth? Cartesian rationalism? Correspondence Theory? Coherence Theory? Propositionalism? I don't think any of these categories completely contains the Biblical revelation.

We are into deep waters here. I am not convinced it is meaningful to talk about a 'view of truth contrary to the Bible's own' because it is at least possible that the Bible contains a number of views of truth. - Paul Hazelden, A Response to the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy

What I take away from this is that there are a lot of assumptions below the surface in this document that need critical attention.