Scripturalism's Immediate Knowledge Related to Infant Salvation by Drake

Discussion in 'Apologetical Methods' started by Drake, Dec 21, 2010.

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  1. Drake

    Drake Puritan Board Freshman

    WCF 10.3 states,
    III. Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated, and saved by Christ, through the Spirit, who works when, and where, and how He pleases: so also are all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.

    The scripture that is quoted for this doctrine is “JOH 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

    Yet the Scholastic and the Van Tilian cannot believe this. On their view as was the case with Barlaam of Calabria, “God is only knowable through the mediation of his creatures.” There must be a “sensation” through a created nature for knowledge to be attained by a human person on the Scholastic and the Van Tilian system. Ergo, the Van Tilian and the Scholastic needs to posit the doctrine that all infants dying in infancy go to hell. What creaturely sensation can an elect infant have in the womb of its mother that leads to salvation? Only on the Scripturalist view of immediate knowledge can an elect infant even have a fighting chance.
  2. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    The Confession of Faith is not Scripturalist. 29.6 makes it plain that the false and abominable teaching of transubstantiation "is repugnant, not to Scripture alone, but to common sense and reason." Further, "infallible assurance of faith" is "founded upon the divine truth of the promises of salvation" together with "the inward evidence of those graces unto which these promises are made" and the testimony of the Spirit (18.2).
  3. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    The Divines use "light of nature" five times throughout the Confession of Faith and another five times in the WLC. Furthermore, in Jus Divinum Regiminis Ecclesiastici, the light of nature is appealed to as an argument for the Presbyterian form of Church government.

    Can you give an account of what the Puritans meant by "light of nature" from their own writings and not by an anachronistic reading of them?
  4. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Scripturalism is only another post-Cartesian post-Kantian idea such as neither the Puritans, Calvin, or Augustine would have recognized.
  5. Drake

    Drake Puritan Board Freshman

    Not sure what that has to do with infant salvation. You are making valid points but that is for a different thread. Start one on that issue and I will go with you on it.

    ---------- Post added at 11:34 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:27 PM ----------

    Hi Semper

    Q. 2. How doth it appear that there is a God?
    A. The very light of nature in man, and the works of God, declare plainly that there is a God;3 but his word and Spirit only do sufficiently and effectually reveal him unto men for their

    The Light of nature is not in some external material world. The light of nature is within. This is the apriori structures of Clark’s theory, i.e. Logic/reason, moral law, language structures. The Scripturalist view is that this light of nature in man, is what General Revelation is, i.e. Joh 1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

    I have shown this to some of my Van Tilian and Scholastic Seminary friends and they immediately propose a revision of the Catechism here.
  6. Zenas

    Zenas Snow Miser

    Here seems quite good if you're arguing that only Scripturalists can consistently hold that all infants are not damned and the Divines, purportedly not Scripturalists which you seem to acknowledge, hold the same. The conclusion is that you're stating the Confession is inconsistent or otherwise false. The conclusion past that is you're advocating anti-Confessional views.
  7. Drake

    Drake Puritan Board Freshman

    1. This does not refute my argument. 2. Then what do you do with WLC q. 2 and how do you provide saving knowledge for an infant? I would refer the reader to Robbin’s article: The Trinity Foundation - The White Horse Inn: Nonsense on Tap

    How do you interpret 2 Peter 1:3-5 with the belief that knowledge only comes through creatures? The issue is the Puritans did not deal well enough with the Eastern Church: 1. How the Reformed hypostatic union differs from the earlier view (It’s a bit difficult to determine how one view deifies the human nature inside the Godhead and the other does not) 2. The debate between Palamas and Barlaam of Calabria over created light. The Van Tilian view teaches that knowledge only comes through creatures which posits participation in created nature only. Yet 2 Peter 1:3-5 posits uncreated knowledge giving us participation in uncreated nature. 3. Please spare me the philosophical historical revision. I guess then that Puritans were Van Tilians and held to the transcendental argument. Calvin despised proofs for the existence of God and they certainly did not believe that God was one person.

    ---------- Post added at 11:46 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:42 PM ----------

    I think the confession is inconsistent on a couple things, The Covenant of grace being one that the Sum of Saving knowledge had to clear up later. The confession does not assert that it is infallible and so it is not anti confessional.
  8. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Of course they didn't: they were good pre-modern direct realists.

    It doesn't: the Chalcedonian view is the view of the confession.

    My response to this is "yes."
  9. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    If my points are valid they are valid against Scripturalism. What would that have to do with infant salvation? To begin with, it would require that we look for an explanation of WCF 10.3 which comports with confessional epistemology.
  10. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    [Moderator]Drake, perhaps this is not what you meant, but let me give an ounce of prevention just in case. An anti confessional argument is an argument that contradicts the confession to which you subscribe. If you believe the confession is wrong and argue against it, that is anti confessional, not because the confession is presumed to be infallible, but because you are contradicting the confession to which you subscribe.[/Moderator]
  11. Drake

    Drake Puritan Board Freshman

    WCF 29.6
    “VI. That doctrine which maintains a change of the substance of bread and wine, into the substance
    Christ's body and blood (commonly called transubstantiation) by consecration of a priest, or by any other
    way, is repugnant, not to Scripture alone, but even to common sense, and reason; overthrows the nature
    the sacrament, and has been, and is, the cause of manifold superstitions; yes, of gross idolatries.”

    Scripturalism holds to scripture and reason but rejects common sense. This would not produce any different doctrine or practice than the WCF. The Free Church continuing allows for exceptions to the wording of the confession but not to the essential doctrine.

    I would agree that assurance of salvation is not infallible. This would be an exception. I would like to know though what you have to say to a few comments made by William Cunningham in The Reformers and the Theology of the Reformation :

    1. William Cunningham says in pg. 118
    "It is very evident that no man can be legitimately assured of his own salvation simply by understanding and believing what is contained or implied in the actual statements of Scripture. Some additional element of a different kind must be brought in, in order to warrant such an assurance...And when they are called upon to state and vindicate to themselves or to others the grounds of their assurance, they must of necessity proceed, in substance, in the line of the familiar syllogism, "Whosoever believeth in the Lord Jesus Christ shall be saved; I believe, and therefore," etc. There is no possibility of avoiding, in substance, some such process as this; and while the major proposition is proved by Scripture, , the minor can be established only by some use of materials derived from consciousness and self-examination."

    2. Cunningham says on page 145-146
    "We are confident that no one who is competently acquainted with this subject, and who surveys the history of the discussions regarding it, with calmness and deliberation, can fail to see that this is the true state of the case. And if this, or anything like this, be indeed the true state of the case, what an extraordinary misrepresentation must be the view given of the matter by Sir William Hamilton I His view is to be exposed and overthrown by establishing these two positions: 1st, That, from the nature of the case, no doctrine upon the subject of assurance could have been the fundamental principle of the Reformers; and, 2d, That the difference between the Reformers and the generality of modern Protestant divines is not one of fundamental importance, even when regarded merely in its relation to this non-fundamental subject, and, of course, sinks into insignificance when viewed in its relation to the general system of Protestant doctrine.
    Sir William seems to have been half conscious of this; and therefore he makes an attempt, in conclusion, to involve the great Protestant doctrine of justification in one common ruin with the comparatively small doctrine of assurance...Even if the deviation from the views of the Reformers, and the return to popish notions upon the subject of assurance, had been as great as Sir William represents it, this would not have affected the differences between Protestants and Romanists upon anything really involved in the doctrine of justification.”

    He clearly asserts that those who rejetc an infallible assurance do not change the system of Reformed doctrine. Also, I just do not see how you get around the fact that an infallible assurance of your salvation is an extra scriptural special revelation that you have received.

    ---------- Post added at 11:18 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:10 AM ----------

    1. Ever heard of Thomism?
    2. This is simplistic. I am sure you didn’t recognize my deification citation because most reformed people do not read councils 5, 6 and 7. There is a noticeable difference. They base their view of the atonement, theosis, iconography and adoration of the host on the hypostatic union.
    3. Yes, ? What? Yes that the Puritans did not deal with this issue well enough, ok then.

    ---------- Post added at 11:26 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:18 AM ----------

    WCF 1.2 describes the scriptures to be, “All which are given by inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and life.” If it had said faith then you would have no problem but it adds the word “life” as well. Most Protestants add to confessional epistemology and add charismatic gifts, mini and maxi empirical environments (Plantiga), Thomism (Roman Catholics, Van Tilians, Classic Evidentialists), etc. Their philosophies are mixed with induction, empiricism, and other forms of "science falsely so-called (KJV). 1 Timothy 6:20 “Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge”

    I argue that WCF 1.2 is Scripturalist.

    2.WLC, Q. 2. How doth it appear that there is a God?
    A. The very light of nature in man, and the works of God, declare plainly that there is a God;3but his word and Spirit only do sufficiently and effectually reveal him unto men for their salvation.4

    Here the divines posit the light of nature in man, not in some external material world. As I have stated before I have Van Tilian friends that hate this passage in the catechism and have admitted to me they want it amended. This view of the light of nature is the Scripturalist view of General Revelation.
  12. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Without common sense, reason goes wild and leads to absurdity. Also, is reason affected by the fall or is it not?

    Obviously, given my familiarity with summa theologiae. Not all direct realism is thomistic in nature (I would recommend Thomas Reid's Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man. Reid was a CofS pastor).

    They are using a Cyrillian view of hypostatic union, whereas the Western Church has historically held to the communicatio idiomatum.

    No, I say "yes" to your dichotomy. I affirm the disjunct until you can show that the two are mutually exclusive, ie that one cannot have both created and uncreated knowledge, depending upon the object(s) of knowledge.

    Induction, empirical knowledge, and the like are perfectly legitimate so far as they go. Indeed, the Scriptures themselves presuppose that one has certain kinds of background knowledge. Your distrust of these epistemic methods needs justification. As I said on the other thread, if the senses (and we all know what they are, so don't play that card) are God-given, then to systematically doubt them is to systematically doubt God.

    As for "confessional epistemology" it has become abundantly clear that both common sense and practical application (the "life" part of the passage you quoted) are part and parcel of the confession. If you don't like that, ok, but don't go complaining about it on a confessional board.
  13. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    This could be used in a textbook for faulty hermeneutics. One does not determine historical usage by quoting a single sentence and then reading into it what he believes it must mean because, a priori, Puritans were Clarkians.
  14. Drake

    Drake Puritan Board Freshman

    P.F. a.k.a. Captain Assertion

    1. That depends on your defintion of common sense.

    2. You missed my point completely. The point is, that many of the Puritans were Thomists. You had implied they all followed Thomas Reid.

    3.Cyril also held to the communicatio. You don't have a clue what you are talking about and you have failed to actually provide what I requested. You are Captain Assertion from now on.

    4. Hold on, so you are saying that you can have created and uncreated light? 1. You have failed to tell me what other knowldge you have besides created. You told me that lamps, material objects, ect. are objects of knowledge but I know you believe something else and until you tell me you reamin Captain Assertion.

    5. "Your distrust of these epistemic methods needs justification." So I have to prove a negative? This is a classic fallacy. You are a waste of time man, please stop posting on this board you are saying nothing.

    6. "If you don't like that, ok, but don't go complaining about it on a confessional board." Yet I know of one doctrine that you and what your other buddies in the Fv movement definately do not believe as well as a number of so called Puritan Presbyterians: The doctine that the Pope is the Antichrist. I affirm this. Do you? I get quite alot of grief over this and strangley by the same peoople who come after me about my scripturalism not being confessional, huh?

    ---------- Post added at 03:53 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:48 PM ----------

    I did not say that the Puritans were scripturalists. I am saying that this passage is distintinctly scrp. and the divines are inconsistent here with the common sense doctrine.

    ---------- Post added at 03:54 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:53 PM ----------

    I noticed you also did not answer my argument but introduced a diversion to save face. An assertion on top of that.

    ---------- Post added at 04:10 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:54 PM ----------

    I would like to emphasize that no one has even been able to touch the argument of this post and no one has even been able to attempt an argument or refutation.
  15. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    The irony of posting this right after calling Philip "Captain Assertion" is killing me. :rofl:
  16. Zenas

    Zenas Snow Miser


    I think that if you'll tap the side of that victorious conclusion, you'll find it will ring hollow.

    ---------- Post added at 03:47 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:41 PM ----------

    1. He attacked an assumption of your argument, thus attacking it at its foundation.

    2. I'd suggest you refrain from accusing Rich from "saving face," i.e. acting out of pride, without some pretty serious evidence to back that up.

    Up until now I've just thought you a bit of an odd bird. I'm now beginning to conclude you're the type of guy who walks into a room full of people, berates them repeatedly with his toughts, and then haughtily concludes that everyone present is wrong and that they are unable to contend with him. It's not that they're wrong or can't contend, they just have no desire to argue with someone who presents himself so foolishly. I need this advice just as much as you do: perhaps you ought to re-examine how you hold discussions with others.
  17. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

  18. Phil D.

    Phil D. Puritan Board Junior

    Rich asked:

    "Can you give an account of what the Puritans meant by 'light of nature'?"​

    Drake, citing WLC 2 ("The very light of nature in man..."), responded:

    "The Light of nature is not in some external material world. The light of nature is within."​

    Rich countered:

    "One does not determine historical usage by quoting a single sentence and then reading into it what he believes it must mean..."​

    (addition to original post)

    Drake does not answer Rich's argument, but simply retorts:

    "I noticed you also did not answer my argument but introduced a diversion to save face."​

    (end of addition to original post)

    The WCF states:

    "The light of nature showeth that there is a God..." (21.1)​

    and then gives as proof two Scripture verses that directly speak of the external material world:

    "For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse." (Romans 1:20)​

    "The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth..." (Acts 17:24)​

    I'll let people draw their own conclusions from the datum...
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2010
  19. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Common sense: prephilosophical intuition/practice/usage. All definition should be more or less common sense.

    Thomism means following Thomas Aquinas. Thomas Reid was the primary opponent of David Hume in the 18th century (after the Puritan period) and was mainly involved in questioning the whole Cartesian/Lockean project. If Reid is right in this questioning, then the Scripturalist project is unnecessary and superfluous.

    Cyril held to a version of the communicatio where the Divine bleeds into the human, much closer to the monophysite and EO positions than the western/reformed/Anselmian view.

    Since the common sense position is the default, yes.

    I have knowledge of God. I thought this was a given.

    1) This is beside the point (and the accusations of FVism are becoming comical)
    2) I have never heard the doctrine of Pope-as-Antichrist described as a central doctrine, moreover, I hold to the 1789 revision (used in the PCA) which does not contain this language.
    3) Your critique strikes at the heart of the confession---namely, you would doubt the very existence of the confession itself. The rejection of the confession's own language about common sense also strikes at the methodology of the confession, and thus is manifestly unconfessional.

    Drake, the ad hominem attacks and posturing are becoming tiresome.
  20. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    First, if one rejects common sense, he has no way of knowing that the substance (bread and wine) has remained the same; and if he cannot claim that the substance has remained the same he cannot maintain that the miracle of transubstantiation has not taken place. So a change of words would materially alter the sense of the passage.

    Secondly, you may want to consult a Free Church Continuing office-bearer for clarification on ordination vows and the relationship that creates to the Westminster Confession. Without qualification they declare that it is the confession of their faith. Since 1905 the Free Church has had no Declaratory Act in place allowing for a looser subscription to the Confession.

    Thirdly, but this is beside the point if a person is not an office-bearer. Since he does not stand in any official capacity to declare the Word of the Lord he is not required to subscribe the Confession as the confession of his faith.

    I completely agree with his position. The minor proposition of every practical syllogism (and the appropriation of any promise of Scripture) can only be ascertained by an appeal to one's own conscious experience.
  21. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Do you have one in mind?
  22. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Philip used the phrase pre-modern direct realists. I think he meant that they were not concerned with the subjective problems which have been raised by Hume's gap and Kant's wall. Rather, they accepted man's rational capabilities as a natural gift of God and worked on the basis that "right reason" gave a correct picture of the world. They also had a Calvinian understanding of natural limitations with respect to divine things as well as the noetic efects of the fall. Within the Christendom worldview this meant that they were unspoken presupoositionalists. My personal belief is that common sense realism best reflects the realism of the divines and ably answers the doubts of the critical world with respect to sensory experience and miracles.
  23. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Graduate

    I think that your whole argument goes away if it is stated that the Confession is not a philosophical confession but a confession of faith. This is like saying that it is unconfessional to believe in anything other than the dual-substance theory of man because the confession uses the word soul, now matarialism would be ruled out actually but that is just a consequence of Christianity in general. Your argument is a philosophical one that is trying to mistankenly use the the WCF as the battle ground. You can't limit the meaning of a word like knowledge to one meaning that is consistant with your view of things and rule out arbitraraly the many varied usages of the word in society. The later Wittgenstien's therapy aproech to philosophy is very useful hear because you problem only arises because of your strict limiting of the word knowledge. If one looks to ordinary language as the place to decide what knowledge means than one comes to a much different conclusion.

    This is an argument against your argument only it is a more or less a transcendental one. I am looking at your conception of things and criticising that instead of assuming you are more or less right and attempt to argue there. It is your conception that is faulty here not the Confession; also Scriptualists are just as much a valid Reformed view as any Classical, Van Tillian, or Common-sense Realist is.
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