Puritan Board Senior
I was Meredith's student. I was his colleague. I was his friend. MGK was no anti-Trinitarian. He wasn't making systemtic-dogmatic points. He was explicating passages from a redemptive-historical point of view.
Might he have used infelicitous language? Yes, but what was his intent as measured by the immediate context and the broader context of his work and ministry? Does anyone care about that or are well happy just to besmirch the reputation of a faithful minister?
Where was all this concern about Nicene orthodoxy when he was alive? This is the first I've EVER heard about this since 1984.
We can all appreciate and respect your loyalty to a beloved teacher, colleague and friend. However, the intention of those of us concerned with his doctrine is not to make personal attacks thus "besmirching the reputation of a faithful minister". Rather, by quoting Kline in his own words it is to draw attention to places in his works that are not in accord with our confessional teachings and have dangerous implications.
You claim that Kline's intent was not to make "systematic-dogmatic points". And yet in the passage above quoted Kline is actually suggesting an addition to the Nicene creed. I do not see how this is compatible with your assertion. The creeds are most definitely "dogmatic" documents and Kline was proposing a change in them.
Secondly, the so called "redemptive-historical point of view" must conform to accepted dogmatic standards or it is justly liable to the charge of heterodoxy. I believe you are creating a false dichotomy between the two that biblical theologians such as Geerhardus Vos did not make.
Some of us did not have the opportunity to know Dr. Kline personally. All we have to go on is his "infelicitous language". Even if we want to judge him by his wider work, we are left with Kline's own comments in that book that this is how he was interpeting his own work. It is just and fair to judge a man's writings, especially when his own claims are that they represent his work as a whole and is suggesting alterations to our creedal standards.
Dr. Kline's work grew over time. In his last book he is far more explicit on some of these heterodox points than in his earlier career. I was not around through his 50 years of ministry, and I cannot answer for his presbytery in the OPC (neither do I feel responsible to do so--they are answerable to God). But if a minister in my presbytery were making statements such as these, irrespective of his name or reputation, I would feel compelled to charge him with heresy.
Appealing to personal history, reputation and so forth as you keep doing in no way justifies such blatantly heterodox statements, in which Kline in his own words disagrees with the creeds. That was the question in the OP. Are Kline's views confessional? The obvious answer is no.
Yes, well you boys here waited until he was dead to start beating up on him didn't you? That's what irritates me.
Further, this whole thread started hostile and has remained so. I've only seen one attempt to try to read him charitably and that attempt was rebuffed immediately.
Finally, there has been a fairly constant drumbeat on the PB to discredit Meredith. It's hard for me to see this as fair, careful, contextual investigation of an orthodox OPC minister (and it seems that one doesn't necessarily have to be in the same presbytery of the OPC to initiate investigations so I don't see why it's just his presbytery that shall have answer to God) but rather a jaundiced attempt to smear a man's reputation and to discredit his work comprehensively.
The thread did not begin by asking, "I wonder what this might mean? It did not begin by looking into the context or by placing his work in a broader context.
Here's a context. Meredith did most of his work in a time when people were a little less aware of historical theology. Frankly there just wasn't much of it being done in our circles when he was being trained and when he was teaching. Historians were seen but not heard. He didn't work in a context where bib-studies profs were held accountable for their historical claims. I think this fostered some bad habits.
As I've noted here before, he also had a bad habit of making up words. If we're going to dig up his corpse and smack him around why don't we try to find out what he meant by his unique vocabulary rather than assuming the worst?
Finally, wasn't there some post that we all had read lately about treating ministers in our churches with respect? What? Meredith doesn't count? I was chastened by that post and it made me think about the ways I've spoken about ministers in good standing and I wasn't thinking about completely orthodox ministers either. I confess that, in the heat of battle, I haven't always been as churchly as I should have been -- I over reacted to Presbyterian politeness at times -- in this respect.
If MGK received the benefit of the doubt the tenor of this thread would be very different.