Gordon H. Clark on Logic and Scripture

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ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
I would say that one needs natural revelation/natural theology in order to care about Jesus and understand why he needed to come. Without it, all you have is someone claiming that you have to believe in him or order to be saved etc. Why should someone even care or even think that they are in need of salvation if there is no natural revelation/natural theology.

What specifically is there in natural revelation/natural theology which teaches me to care about Jesus?

The need for salvation and the bankruptcy of somehow earning it.

CT

-----Added 4/17/2009 at 03:29:53 EST-----

We are not yet agreed upon reason, which generally can end up dying the death of a thousand qualifications.

I guess the point around which this discussion has revolved is "is reason self-existent" or "is it derived from something outside itself?" The next layer of discussion is "whether reason is self-existent or derived, what can unaided reason discover about God, without borrowing from Scripture?"

My stance has been that reason is derived and not self-existent (aseity), and that it can know nothing of significance about God apart from Scripture.

How are you defining, significance?

CT
 

Whitefield

Puritan Board Junior
Rom. 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Says revealed from heaven, not nature.
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Rom. 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Says revealed from heaven, not nature.

That is why I added 19 and 20 to remove any smidgen of doubt. But even if I want to just stick to vs. 18, it certainly does not say from scripture.

And if you wanted to make it mean scripture then you have to hold that no one knows right from wrong without first reading and believing the Bible.

Also Westminster Chapter 1 section 1 blows your position apart.

CT
 

Whitefield

Puritan Board Junior
That is why I added 19 and 20 to remove any smidgen of doubt. But even if I want to just stick to vs. 18, it certainly does not say from scripture.

And if you wanted to make it mean scripture then you have to hold that no one knows right from wrong without first reading and believing the Bible.

Also Westminster Chapter 1 section 1 blows your position apart.

CT

Well, v. 19 does not tell us that this wrath was discovered by men, it was shewn by God.

And I don't think we can know right from wrong without knowing what God says is right or wrong.

And if the WCF 1.1 blows my position apart, then I'm done.
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
That is why I added 19 and 20 to remove any smidgen of doubt. But even if I want to just stick to vs. 18, it certainly does not say from scripture.

And if you wanted to make it mean scripture then you have to hold that no one knows right from wrong without first reading and believing the Bible.

Also Westminster Chapter 1 section 1 blows your position apart.

CT

Well, v. 19 does not tell us that this wrath was discovered by men, it was shewn by God.

And I don't think we can know right from wrong without knowing what God says is right or wrong.

And if the WCF 1.1 blows my position apart, then I'm done.

People who believe that natural revelation/natural theology exists/has content, do not believe that God was trying to keep something secret and then man busted down the door to see what he was hiding. God wants man to know how they should live and give him glory. God is not playing a game of, "If I can keep them from knowing, then I can send them to Hell for doing wrong/evil".

Also you didn't seem to have much to say about 20....

Westminster 1-1
I. Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable;

To know the goodness of God, one has to know wickedness, right?

CT
 

Whitefield

Puritan Board Junior
And if the WCF 1.1 blows my position apart, then I'm done.

What do you mean here? Done with this thread?

It is my experience that when the WCF is invoked as the :judge: the thread doesn't last long. And questioning the "common interpretation" of the WCF quickly degenerates into accusations of questioning the WCF itself and *poof* thread is closed. So to avoid going down that path, I'll just step away from the discussion for a while.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
It is my experience that when the WCF is invoked as the :judge: the thread doesn't last long. And questioning the "common interpretation" of the WCF quickly degenerates into accusations of questioning the WCF itself and *poof* thread is closed. So to avoid going down that path, I'll just step away from the discussion for a while.

If the intention is to cast light on the WCF then threads remain open. Problems only arise when adherence to the confession is brought into disrepute. :judge:
 

Beth Ellen Nagle

Puritan Board Senior
The discussion came to a rather abrupt stop. I want to share a couple excerpts to stimulate discussion on the role and use of reason in us.

It is acknowledge by those who uphold the ministerial use of reason that reason is necessary to receive the revelation (the formative use of reason). It is also acknowledged that reason is useful in giving reasons for the truth of revelation. But it must never be magistrate over or judge of the truth of revelation. It is a maidservant, not a mistress, and the strongest condemnation is reserved for the arrogation of the role of magistrate by reason. It is of use in systematizing truth (the constructive use of reason). And it is used to interpret scripture and to support one interpretation over and against another interpretation (the interpretive use of reason). It may even be used to critically test alternative beliefs for coherence of meaning. But here the line is drawn by those regarding reason as servant, not judge. They claim it cannot -it shall not- be used to judge the truth of revelation. Is this line being arbitrarily drawn?

It should be granted here, over and against deist (Herbert) and dogmatic rationalists (Wolff) that special revelation is necessary and does not and cannot originate from reason. But since reason is necessary to receive and to understand revelation, revelation must necessarily pass the minimal test of intelligibility. What is contradictory and is seen as contradictory is unintelligible and cannot be thought and therefore cannot be believed. What is an actual and what is an apparent contradiction must be discerned, often with much effort, to uncover hidden assumptions. To separate the formative and interpretive uses of reason is artificial and to apply the critical use of reason to other scriptures and not to one’s own scripture is arbitrary in the extreme. As an alternative to several forms of SD – whether a vague higher being (Calvin) or basic theism (Hodge) or full theism (Oliphint) or the triune God (Van Til)- one can posit innate (non-empirical) concepts that are applied either to God or to creation (e.g., finite or infinite, temporal or eternal, changing or unchanging). All men have these concepts. How they should be applied (whether only to God or to the creation) is clear to reason.

Surrendra Gangadean, Philosophical Foundation: A Critical Analysis Of Basic Beliefs, 2.3 The Magisterial vs. the Ministerial Use of Reason pp. 24-25


Reason, it is said, is one thing, and the work of the Holy Spirit another. What is necessary for faith is the witness of the Holy Spirit, the testimonium Spiritu Sancti. Man by reason cannot presume to do the work of the Holy Spirit. Salvation is by grace, not works. Man’s reason, it is said, is finite and fallen. Sin has had a negative effect on the human mind (the noetic effect). Reason does not persuade; the Spirit does. The Spirit regenerates. No one else, and nothing else, can.

The work of the Spirit is not in question. But does the Spirit work by and with the Word or apart from the Word? Does the Spirit work to convince, persuade, enlighten, and illuminate the mind by and with sound argument or above or apart from sound argument? Are there independent and inherent characteristics of a sound argument or must something be supernaturally added to make it sound? Do sound arguments ever fail to accomplish their purpose- is that purpose only to persuade or is it either to compel or to persuade? Can it compel a person to shut one’s eyes (turn off one’s mind) in order to avoid the force of a sound argument? Is it reason that is finite and fallen or is it man that is finite and fallen? Is it reason that fails to understand or man who fails to seek and understand through reason? Is the use of reason opposed to or independent of grace, or is the use of reason itself a work of grace? Is the use of and proper response to sound argument a purely natural occurrence or is it itself something of a miracle?


Surrendra Gangadean, Philosophical Foundation: A Critical Analysis Of Basic Beliefs, 2.6 Reason and the Testimonium Spiritu Sancti pp. 26-27
 
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