Sunday, July 10, 2005

In the Beginning was the Logical Inference...

I posted a few weeks back on John Robbins and the inflated role he gives logic in the Christian faith. Now, one of his allies has come out with a new post at Trinity Foundation, which claims that doctines logically inferred from Scripture are equivalent to Scripture.

Pause. Reflect on that.

Now, I'm no relativist. I happen to think logic is a good thing. But logic is a tool, like all other tools. And when you put even the best tool in the hands of a sinner (which we all are), you're going to get mixed results even under the best of circumstances. Logic is fine, but we're never 100% logical. Everyone, when push comes to shove, ends up tweaking their use of logic to protect their pet ideas (which more often than not are not the results of that logic, but are pre-conceived BEFORE we even begin to apply that logic).

If I understand them correctly, the Trinity Foundation folks are Presbyterians and Calvinists. Which means that, according to their system, infant baptism, presbyterian government, limited atonement, etc, are all sound logical inferences from Scripture. And, if the system outlined in the linked article is correct, that means they *are* divine revelation to be believed and obeyed as much as any direct quotation from Scripture. So all Baptists, Anglicans, Arminians, and anyone else who does not draw the same logical conclusions from Scripture they do are heterodox at best, heretics at worst.

If they are consistent, that's what they will say. (From what I've read, in some instances that's exactly how they act as well.) And if they don't - if they accept that there are legitimate differences in interpretation that cannot be resolved in this life - then the whole system of "logical inference = divine revelation" is, as an RTS prof used to say, "wildly counter-intuitive" - which was his kind way of saying that something was utter codswallop.

If that doesn't convince them, then perhaps they should go to the Scripture verse that says, "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known," (I Cor 13:12) and logically infer some humility from it.


Blogger GL said...

Scary stuff. One popularizing Reformed theologian used to say in the '90s that the God of Arminians was not the God of Scripture, and thus there was a real question as to whether Arminians were even Christians. Yikes!

Epistemological humility is a good thing. I remember Frank James at RTS-Orlando saying that Calvinists should be the most humble people around because we realize that all we have is grace. If we happen to apprehend a truth adequately it is because the Lord graced us to apprehend. I believe Dr. James was right but it would seem some in the Reformed community don't share his humility.

6:16 AM  

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