Aquinas Disagreement

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
The point is that we give Augustine a free pass even though he errs on justification
No one gets a free pass. The answer I gave before is still the same. The standard is scripture and specifically Galatians in this discussion. Did he do what Paul said makes you accursed? If our beliefs violate this, then we are lost. I'm not willing to go against God on this and think I know better.
 

Charles Johnson

Puritan Board Sophomore
The doctrine of Galatians that those who preach a false gospel is clear, but we should not overlook the fact that Paul wrote to those who had been "bewitched" with a false gospel as if they were still brothers, because of his confidence that they could we restored, and did not hold firmly to a false gospel. The point being, not everyone who at some point in their lives expresses an incorrect formulation of the gospel is damned. Augustine's and Thomas's formulations of the gospel both exclude any imputation, and are somewhat similar, the main difference is that Thomas more clearly articulated what we call the doctrine of merit. Neither is orthodox from a protestant perspective, as Jacob has pointed out. Personally I do not feel the need to speculate on whether either is in heaven to read them. What errors they committed and how these errors can be avoided is the more pressing matter. Personally I would not recommend the reading of Thomas to those who cannot already explain reformed doctrine on all points from the Scriptures, and who have not already studied the biblical languages and our controversies with the church of Rome. Then one reads the fathers and scholastics to learn historical theology. This is the order that Hoornbeek recommends. But the Reformers give us a good example of how to usefully appropriate scholastic categories and learning, while rejecting their errors. It is unwise to try to start from zero, as if the reformation, or worse yet, old Princeton, or 20th century Westminster seminary, is the starting point and genesis of what is good and useful in theology. Our doctrine of God is in shambles and countless men who should know better have fallen into some form of Arianism or Tritheism in trying.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
The doctrine of Galatians that those who preach a false gospel is clear, but we should not overlook the fact that Paul wrote to those who had been "bewitched" with a false gospel as if they were still brothers, because of his confidence that they could we restored, and did not hold firmly to a false gospel. The point being, not everyone who at some point in their lives expresses an incorrect formulation of the gospel is damned. Augustine's and Thomas's formulations of the gospel both exclude any imputation, and are somewhat similar, the main difference is that Thomas more clearly articulated what we call the doctrine of merit. Neither is orthodox from a protestant perspective, as Jacob has pointed out. Personally I do not feel the need to speculate on whether either is in heaven to read them. What errors they committed and how these errors can be avoided is the more pressing matter. Personally I would not recommend the reading of Thomas to those who cannot already explain reformed doctrine on all points from the Scriptures, and who have not already studied the biblical languages and our controversies with the church of Rome. Then one reads the fathers and scholastics to learn historical theology. This is the order that Hoornbeek recommends. But the Reformers give us a good example of how to usefully appropriate scholastic categories and learning, while rejecting their errors. It is unwise to try to start from zero, as if the reformation, or worse yet, old Princeton, or 20th century Westminster seminary, is the starting point and genesis of what is good and useful in theology. Our doctrine of God is in shambles and countless men who should know better have fallen into some form of Arianism or Tritheism in trying.
Nothing to disagree with here and I do understand what you are saying about Galatians and that he is warning them to cease from their current path. However, this does not change the fact that it is also saying that if the path is continued then the gospel will be of no use/effect to them.
 

Redneck_still_Reforming

Puritan Board Freshman
I don't agree. The Bible is clear on how a man is saved and 2 Timothy 3:16 and following makes it clear the Bible is enough. Galatians also is very clear on how we should view people who add works or rituals to the gospel. You aren't disagreeing with me, you are disagreeing with God. Your philosophy is twisting you up and you are giving passes to people who the Bible does not. Perhaps they won't be judged as severely as those who persisted in their error as those after the reformation, but I don't see anywhere in the Bible where people get a pass because they decided to follow human tradition rather than search the scriptures. Thomas was wrong on salvation and nothing will change that. We are supposed to mark and avoid teachings that will send you to hell.
I know this is about Aquinas but you have regularly advocated Puritans and other Reformed authors. If this is your standard, that adding to justification is wrong (and I agree), I assume you reject Jonathan Edwards (for he redefined justification with affections) and "mark and avoid" him. Pre and post Reformation still isnt clean. I think we should still read him but with a Bible in hand.

Where they lay-person is concerned, should we so vocally support Puritans so quickly without proper context? They commited regicide (see Cromwell and Owen), violated the standards of Christian obedience to government through an imposition of an over-realized Church dominated society, and eventually evolved into unitarians in New England (with much of this resulting from Edwards and his disciple in spirit, Finney). Many Puritans are a beautiful help to the Christian life, I love them, but they arent without flaws. Nobody here has said anyone is flawless!

Part of what I don't get with the arguments is that nobody here is advocating a contra-confessional view concerning the reading of Scripture and its interpretation on the PB at least. We aren't saying that nobody understands Scripture without Aquinas or Aristotle, we are merely making use of natural revelation that is hidden in various places. Scripture is still our firm foundation amd we reject that which is repugnant to it. Even though the truth may be buried, it is still of use. Aquinas is not being sold in the church bookstore for everyone to read (for example), he is being advocated among confessionally reformed men and women who seek to engage in educated discourse.

I mean what I have said not to be combative but after reading the entire thread, these are my thoughts. I now understand more nuance. I appreciate everone looking to Scripture and holding fast to justification by faith alone. We are dealing with each other with respect even when we disagree in what is prudent for the lay-persons library. Im glad that we all know that when working with impure metal, you have to remove that which is dross to get to the best part (which might be tin or gold). We do this with all men. But we know only God's Word is perfect (Ps. 12:6-7).
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
Part of what I don't get with the arguments is that nobody here is advocating a contra-confessional view concerning the reading of Scripture and its interpretation on the PB at least. We aren't saying that nobody understands Scripture without Aquinas or Aristotle, we are merely making use of natural revelation that is hidden in various places.
I would agree this is true of many, but based on some of the things I see on Twitter and other places I'm not sure it's true of all. There are some that seem to advocate that we can't understand scripture without tradition and philosophy. That is what I am pushing back against.
 

Tychicus

Puritan Board Freshman
He's no WGT Shedd, of course, but still better than any modern.
So I'm at this makeshift Christian bookstall, and I go around to the used books section scouring for something worth getting. And there, among the Benny Hinns and TD Jakes, I find the 3 volume Dogmatic Theology, the 1981 set published by Thomas Nelson. Picked it up in a jiffy, and got a reasonable price for it.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
I wasn't referring to you, per se. As I said, I was dealing with White's disagreement. I haven't seen much in response to him other than labelling and charging him.
Barrett, Carter and others have done well researched articles on these topics. white responds with DL episodes
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
My internet gets fixed this afternoon. Until then, Credomag has done outstanding work
Are you saying they publish good articles on the topics in general or that they are publishing articles directly interacting with James White's criticisms? If it's not the later then I don't believe this actually accomplishes anything. You seemed to disregard White responding on the DL, but you yourself spend ample time responding to things on Twitter and these boards, so why is his show not a valid format for responding to criticisms? That was a pointless comment and an attempt it seems like to poison the well. On Twitter the stuff you and your group posts is no more mature than any other random tweets, except I would say they come off as far more arrogant. As far as I can tell, he reads the material directly (including Thomas) and then makes a response. Then, as far as I can tell, your side responds by name calling and offers no exegesis. I'm starting to think your side is incapable of exegesis. You yourself are constantly avoiding ever opening your Bible. If these articles or responses are out there, please point us to them so we can be corrected. I'm not interested in philosophy if it cannot be backed up by scripture.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
What is lacking in the treatment of this problem by the Reformed Scholastics?
I'm concerning that in this whole discussion, the juxtaposition is being made between modern manners of dealing with these matters, including the approach of Van Til, and the method of Thomas, with the Reformed Scholastics getting lost somewhere in the middle. If there is any value in appropriate Aquinas, I think it is to be found in how he has already been appropriated by Turretin, Ames, Maccovius, Voetius, etc. It's fine to point out this or that problem in Aquinas himself, I supposed, but are these problems also present in the Reformed Scholastics?
I wouldn't say that anything is really lacking in the Reformed Scholastic treatment of the issues here. The Reformed Scholastics rigorously avoided mutualism, so on this point they disagreed with Aquinas. They may have agreed with Aquinas on some points concerning natural law. But I think they stop short of affirming any sort of mutualism. The very consistent archetype/ectype distinction in the Reformed Scholastics would preclude it, when applied consistently, as the Scholastics did. Van Til would therefore be in continuity with the Reformed Scholastics on it as well. Some people try to drive a wedge between Van Til and the scholastics because Van Til wrote pre-Muller, when most scholars thought of scholasticism as a description of content instead of method. But in substance, VT is, I believe, in continuity with the Reformed scholastics.
Could you recommend any particular episodes of Reformed Forum on this issue?
I would recommend the Tipton courses on Van Til, and the lectures on mutualism in particular. You can sign up for free on those classes.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
You seemed to disregard White responding on the DL, but you yourself spend ample time responding to things on Twitter and these boards, so why is his show not a valid format for responding to criticisms? That
I do write articles. Some are published on heidelblog.

He’s welcome to do his DL. But he isn’t demonstrating any analytical understanding of the issues
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
I do write articles. Some are published on heidelblog.

He’s welcome to do his DL. But he isn’t demonstrating any analytical understanding of the issues
You accused me before of not answering the question. Do you feel this response answered the question that was actually asked? If your blog articles directly interacting with white, even to point out where he is not understanding, I will gladly read them. Or, are these just random articles? If you provide links I can read them either way.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
You accused me before of not answering the question. Do you feel this response answered the question that was actually asked? If your blog articles directly interacting with white, even to point out where he is not understanding, I will gladly read them. Or, are these just random articles? If you provide links I can read them either way.
Until my internet gets fixed, that’s about all I can do
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
Maybe we could all get together on a teams, Skype, or zoom call someday and just talk straight to each other about all this. I sometimes fear we can lose a lot when we just message at each other. I have always found my in person chats with @Charles Johnson to be extremely helpful (thank you brother).
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
As to responding to White in some formal way. Well, there are several ways to look at it. To my knowledge he hasn't written on these topics (I'm excluding his earlier book on the Trinity, since it didn't really deal with simplicity, inseparable operations, etc). At best, all I have to go on are Dividing Line transcripts. We did talk about that once where it seemed like he affirmed the kenotic heresy. I know he rejects it, but still...

He does have at least one AOmin article on simplicity where he lists his problems with it. About all one needs to do in response is quote Dolezal's "all that is in God is God." If Dolezal's claim is false, then it means God depends on something besides God to be God.

Any of my reviews where I formally state and champion the classical view of God can serve as an initial rebuttal to White's view.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Now, to address some ambiguities:

1) What does it mean to "go beyond Scripture?" We hear that a lot but I am not sure what to make of it. Go beyond the "words of Scripture?" We must do that to affirm the Trinity. Go beyond the "teaching of Scripture?" Well, that begs the very question.

2) Thomas and Aristotle. I'm not sure how tagging Thomas with Aristotle is supposed to reflect poorly on him. Some of what Aristotle said is wrong. Much of what he said is correct. If Thomas is bad for using Aristotle, then he must be using the bad parts of Aristotle. What are those?
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
Now, to address some ambiguities:

1) What does it mean to "go beyond Scripture?" We hear that a lot but I am not sure what to make of it. Go beyond the "words of Scripture?" We must do that to affirm the Trinity. Go beyond the "teaching of Scripture?" Well, that begs the very question.
I think you know what is meant. Words of scripture would be very shallow. Teaching of scripture is what is meant. No question begging, I believe again, you know what this means. I see you made sure to call White a heretic again when you know it isn't true. He actually has a program aimed specifically at the charge of him being a heretic. You can see it here: https://odysee.com/@aominorg:0/james-white-is-teaching-heresy!:6?r=HtsnXLUzt1Q6NKMA91A8gS9mbQxD1ncQ.

2) Thomas and Aristotle. I'm not sure how tagging Thomas with Aristotle is supposed to reflect poorly on him. Some of what Aristotle said is wrong. Much of what he said is correct. If Thomas is bad for using Aristotle, then he must be using the bad parts of Aristotle. What are those?
My comments throughout this entire thread are about Thomas as a heretic...which he actually was, not that he used Aristotle. So, do you believe Thomas is more orthodox than White at this point?

This entire subject is beyond insider baseball at this point and seems to only be useful in driving a wedge in between Christians. Both sides are being immature and don't seem to have much to say to the other besides calling each other names. I don't believe there has been any actually interaction and you are unable to provide any evidence of this either. Perhaps this is because neither side is willing to actually directly engage. As far as I can tell though, White has not resorted to calling everyone heretics that disagrees with him. He is arrogant at times, sure, but I don't see him casting people out of the kingdom.

This subject is clearly really important to you. Be careful to stay balanced. This isn't the gospel though and I don't think it's very edifying to just know a bunch of facts and philosophy and terms. It doesn't bring me any closer to Jesus. If it does for you, great, go for it. I just don't care anymore. I should have learned that the last time we did this dance. In any case, I will try my best to keep silent when these conversations come up from now on.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
So, do you believe Thomas is more orthodox than White at this point?

On the doctrine of God and Christology, yes. On justification, no.
I think you know what is meant. Words of scripture would be very shallow. Teaching of scripture is what is meant. No question begging, I believe again, you know what this means

It was a legitimate question. Everyone believes his view is the teaching of Scripture, so simply saying "the teaching of Scripture" doesn't tell me all that much.
I see you made sure to call White a heretic again when you know it isn't true. He actually has a program aimed specifically at the charge of him being a heretic.

I did not call him a heretic. I said it seemed he promoted the kenotic heresy.
I don't believe there has been any actually interaction and you are unable to provide any evidence of this either.

I can very easily provide evidence of all the invitations White has received from numerous scholars to discuss these issues. He refuses.
and I don't think it's very edifying to just know a bunch of facts and philosophy and terms.

How is that remark helpful? I'm literally promoting the same view of God (which the ancients always believed lead to adoration) the church has always confessed.

It doesn't bring me any closer to Jesus.

Studying God does bring me closer to Jesus. At this point we are just trading anecdotal experiences.
 

Phil D.

Puritan Board Junior
For myself, discussions like this tend to become overly pedantic, and 1 Cor. 8:1-3 comes to mind. But then I've been called simplistic...
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Here is another reason we read Thomas. As we are reading guys like Ames (didn't someone say that the Puritans said everything that was good in Thomas?), we might not always be aware of what Ames is talking about.
(starts around 3:00)
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Here is another reason we read Thomas. As we are reading guys like Ames (didn't someone say that the Puritans said everything that was good in Thomas?), we might not always be aware of what Ames is talking about.
(starts around 3:00)

If you do not have some background in the Patristics and Medieval scholastics, you will be at a loss to understand what the Reformers, Puritans, and even the Westminster Confession itself are actually teaching on various issues.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
If you do not have some background in the Patristics and Medieval scholastics, you will be at a loss to understand what the Reformers, Puritans, and even the Westminster Confession itself are actually teaching on various issues.

As I love to keep saying, the Confession says that God's foreknowledge is the First Cause.
 
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