What would I be classified as?

Discussion in 'Apologetical Methods' started by charliejunfan, Sep 22, 2009.

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  1. charliejunfan

    charliejunfan Puritan Board Senior


    I am wondering if you all can help me figure out what I am apologetically(forgive me if this belongs in philosophy), I have a tendency to read things and think I comprehend them correctly when really I am not, so I have been under the impression that I am presuppositional in the line of Van Till but I could be wrong so, here is my view....

    I believe that one should be a total skeptic(ultimately) unless it comes to having faith that what the Bible says is absolutely true.

    I was discussing my philosophy and apologetic with my friend, Quaid(he is on the PB occasionally), he asked me if the lamp in his room was blue(it is as far as I can know and he agrees) and I said, I think so.

    Between me, Quaid, and the rest of most of the world(except the colorblind or blind) it can be said to be blue, but ultimately in the mind of God it could be different than blue.

    I believe that evidences are appropriate for apologetic but only as the evidences come from scripture ALONE. If you asked me if my grandma was a robot I would tell you that I THINK she is not, but I am not absolutely sure because I do not have authority to know absolutely, but I can have faith that she is not. If, however, you asked me if Christ's ascension was true I would tell you that it absolutely is true and that I can know that because scripture revealed it to me in that way.

    Here is an example of how I reason, lets imagine that I am going to sit on a chair, I do not know the chair will hold me up, I have faith that the chair will hold me, and in this sense I KNOW that the chair will hold me up, but by FAITH only.

    It is the same with Jesus, I do not know Jesus but by FAITH alone, I am resting His promises to me through scripture ALONE so therefore I know they are true, but only by FAITH.

    I DO believe that in context of two HUMANS exchanging information of experience that we can absolutely KNOW the same things, but ultimately humans may be wrong in their interpretation of the facts.

    Am I,


    B. A Van Tillian Presuppositionalist?

    C. A Reformed Epystemologist?

    D. A Postmodern Weirdo?

    E. Made up my own philosophy/apologetic method that might work?
  2. Skyler

    Skyler Puritan Board Graduate

    A lunatic, definitely. :)

    But don't worry; most of us are. So that's not a big problem. ;)

    Anyway, I'd have to ask if you place more faith in your senses or your exegesis? And why?
  3. charliejunfan

    charliejunfan Puritan Board Senior

    exegesis, because it is taken from revelation(I believe this by faith) which is revealed by someone who is revealed to know ALL things as deep as they go.
  4. Just1covenanter

    Just1covenanter Puritan Board Freshman

    I would vote C. Although I'm not quite as skeptical as you, your thinking falls into line with that of Reformed philosophers like Alvin Plantinga and Esther Meek.

    The difference in this kind of skepticism and an Enlightenment rationalism is that this kind of knowing involves risk. And this, in my mind, is why we are confessional. If God is a self-evident, rational phenomenon, and we are equally rational, why would we need reminding, every Sunday, that He is real and sovereign, that we are sinful and broken, and that Jesus is the only way?

    We place, I think, far too much stock in our rationality. Are we rational? Sure, because God is rational. Are we irrational? Absolutely, because sin is irrational.
  5. Skyler

    Skyler Puritan Board Graduate

    The Bible is revealed and infallible, but is your exegesis of the Bible? That's what I'm getting at here. Can you trust your reason above your senses? Or can that be deceived as well?
  6. charliejunfan

    charliejunfan Puritan Board Senior

    My reason can be just as decieved as my senses, but i hold scripture true irrespective of my wrong or right interpretation of it.
  7. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    You, my friend, are a Clarkian fideist.
  8. awretchsavedbygrace

    awretchsavedbygrace Puritan Board Sophomore

    If you think there is a possiblity your grandmother might be a robot..Yes, a lunatic indeed.
  9. discipulo

    discipulo Puritan Board Junior


    Let God be true, and every man a liar. Romans 3:4

    And that is what we truly need, men who tremble at God's Word.

    All Blessings Brother
  10. Confessor

    Confessor Puritan Board Senior


    Might I add that by allowing the fallibility of your senses to prevent you from true sensory knowledge ("that one should be a total skeptic" with regards to anything non-Biblical), you are creating an insuperable barrier that would allow you to know nothing about the Bible.
  11. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    Oops; I meant to quote, but hit "Thanks". So, no thanks Ben :lol:

    Do the eyes see? Does the ear hear? If so, do beings without bodies see and hear?

  12. Confessor

    Confessor Puritan Board Senior

    We definitely have material sensory organs, if that's what you're asking.

    In a disembodied state, though, I'm sure God would accommodate us with some other means of sensation, were He to decide to give us sensation.
  13. charliejunfan

    charliejunfan Puritan Board Senior

    Clarkian Fideist?
    As in G.Clark as opposed to Van Til?

    Or is Clarkian refering to some heretic?
  14. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    I think you're missing the point; learning is not communicated via media of sensation. This is an assumption you're importing into the discussion. The spirit hears, sees and learns. This is pretty basic biblical thought. For example, having "eyes to see" or "ears to hear" can be in a man who's sensory faculties are disabled. It refers to spiritual perception, or understanding within the spiritual man.

    Angels, who do not have corporeal existence, hear and obey. They learn, see, hear, etc. and have no corporeal existence. Likewise the disembodies saints in glory.

    Therefore, to make learning the truths of Scripture dependent on sensory perception is incorrect.


    -----Added 9/22/2009 at 06:21:10 EST-----

    Mr. Pugh has an unfortunate distaste for Gordon Clark.

    Clark and van Til are not necessarily incompatible on all points; that's just how it worked out historically.

  15. Confessor

    Confessor Puritan Board Senior

    Please note first that I am not attempting to make some absolute statement that any knowledge of God's special revelation must necessarily be obtained through material sensory organs. I am rather saying that we, as humans on this earth, utilize material sensory organs in much of our knowledge, including our reading of the Bible. That is how God designed us specifically. The fact that material sensory organs are not absolutely necessary (as proven by the examples of angels and disembodied saints) unto knowledge does not imply that God has not made us thus.

    Second, you seem to be assuming that I am arguing that material sensory organs are a sufficient cause unto knowledge. (E.g. you are stating the Bible's teaching that the spirit is the one who learns, and taking this to mean that sensory media have no role at all.) I am rather asserting that material sensory organs, according to God's design of humanity on this earth, are necessary unto some knowledge. For instance, your mind (an immaterial component of you) is perceiving certain letters on your computer screen, and in doing so, an immaterial idea is being communicated from me to you, through material vehicles. Much of our knowledge absolutely is communicated via media of sensation, as you are demonstrating right now. (You don't have immediate access into my mind!)

    Third, "eyes to see" and "ears to hear," often used to describe a spiritual understanding (cf. 1 Cor. 2) or faithful acceptance of the Gospel, is metaphorical language.
  16. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    G. Clark, yes. Your view of the senses as not being a source for "knowledge" as well as your defense of scripture as axiomatic (ie: the first principle) line up nearly exactly with Clark's view.

    I don't have a distaste for Clark so much as an amusement with him. I honestly think that his conclusions are absurd. He was brilliant and yet, unlike most brilliant minds, he actually took his ideas to their logical conclusion.:worms:
  17. Sven

    Sven Puritan Board Sophomore

    I believe the proper question should be was Christ a Liar, a Lunatic, or Lord?

    This question is the ultimate question in apologetics and blows all other belief systems out of the water.

    Ask an unbeliever or infidel this question and you can hear their mouth go dry.

    (Hint: there may be some tongue in cheek here. Question A of your post prompted me. :) )
  18. Confessor

    Confessor Puritan Board Senior

    Precisely because of the magnitude of this trilemma, unbelievers will go at great lengths to construct a fourth option, Legend. They will insist on the unreliability of the Gospels, some going so far as to deny Jesus' existence. If Jesus never made such large claims, then the trilemma falls apart.
  19. charliejunfan

    charliejunfan Puritan Board Senior

    I believe that God caused me to have faith in him and also in his word. I also believe that I can know what God says I can know, just not to the degree that God knows. Therefore I know people exist etc... I don't know if that changes my position or not...


    Considering the information I have given here and the assumption that some of you are right about me falling in the line of Gordon Clark rather than Van Till, what would I have said differently in order for me to be considered a Van Tillian? Your answers will help greatly.

    Also feel free to try and persuade me of your philosophical/apologetical views;)
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2009
  20. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    Perhaps I can offer a homely summary of the dilemma and why it requires a work of God (and why apologetics does not convert, but only defends).


    There is a Sacred Text that says that you were created to look at the created world to learn.

    You are unaware of the text, yet you go about looking at the world to learn.

    During your investigation of the world, you come across the Sacred Text and read with your own eyes: "You were created with a desire to learn, and the physical equipment to sense the world, and to read this Sacred Text."

    Do you believe what the Sacred Text says or not?

    Your experience might support the belief--that is, it is obvious that you've been going around learning things using your senses--so it seems to be stating a truth.

    But if your experience has led you to distrust your experience, to conclude that empirical observations are never absolute, then you are in a bind because you have told yourself that you cannot trust what you sense, or for that matter, what you read.

    So, it seems that belief in what the Sacred Text says requires something more than perception and experience--it has to come from outside and placed within--ie., our minds have to be set in such a way (independent of our experience) to give authority to the Sacred Text.
  21. charliejunfan

    charliejunfan Puritan Board Senior

    AAAA!!! Arminian's have it so easy!!!:p
  22. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    I think here, Plantinga would ask what epistemological warrant you have for this belief. If you base your knowledge off of belief, then the next question is one of why you believe that the Bible is the word of God and not, say, the Koran.
  23. charliejunfan

    charliejunfan Puritan Board Senior

    The epistemological warrant I have is that....Jesus is cooler, the Puritans were cooler, John Calvin is cooler, Christian history is cooler, therefore, I put my faith in the Bible alone as the text from out of which comes Christianity:D Christianity *could* be wrong but I accept it by faith.

    I think that might be my honest answer but I'm not sure...:doh:
  24. Prufrock

    Prufrock Arbitrary Moderation

    I have never read Plantinga, but if the above is truly what he says, then I am greatly concerned about his influence in our Reformed churches. WCF I.4,5 clearly give our answer to this: our full persuasion whereupon alone our faith may rest that the scriptures are the word of God comes from the testimony of the Holy Spirit.
  25. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Hmm . . . does coolness count as a rational warrant for believing that the Bible is true?

    If I were judging a debate round and the affirmative team got up and said, "Now judge, you should vote for our team because we're so much cooler than our opponents," I would probably give them an automatic loss and recommend in my notes that they go back and study debate theory.

    In short, I hope that's not your honest answer:lol:

    -----Added 9/23/2009 at 02:48:15 EST-----

    The question is not from whence the Bible derives its authority, but what basis we have for believing that it does, in fact, derive authority from God. What warrant do we have for believing that the Bible is God's word as opposed to other "Holy books" that claim similar things?
  26. Prufrock

    Prufrock Arbitrary Moderation

    As above, our persuasion of its divine origin and authority comes from the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit. Dr. Owen, in the second volume of his treatise on the Holy Spirit, The Reason of Faith, provides a most excellent summation of the Reformed understanding of the matter.
  27. charliejunfan

    charliejunfan Puritan Board Senior

    Ok, here is my honest answer(I pretty sure..), I have faith that the Holy Spirit causes me to believe that the Bible is the word of God opposed to the Koran, and he does this by causing me to agree with scripture over other texts, I can't KNOW that they are the TRUTH over other texts out there but I have FAITH that the BIBLE is the TRUTH

    Am I missing a step here?
  28. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    I don't like the skepticism. The Holy Spirit-generated faith causes you to know that the Bible is true.

    It's not the same thing as saying you have faith that a chair will support you. That is based upon experience. If the Holy Spirit has regenerated your mind to see Scripture as truth, that is a far surer thing, because such faith is a gift from God.

    Even so, in our weak and infirm condition, we have our doubts. But that doesn't mean that we don't know the Scripture is true, it just means that we have forgotten what we know.
  29. Prufrock

    Prufrock Arbitrary Moderation


    Colloquially speaking, I agree of course. Just to help explain something, Charlie, in case confusion arises if you're reading older books and see the terms used differently, I am going to quickly sound like I'm disagreeing with VictorBravo's post. Traditionally, knowledge referred to that which is help based upon demonstration; whereas faith was that which was held based upon authority. Thus, if the authority of one were sufficient (say, infinite), faith certainly provides more assurance than knowledge (properly so-called), due to our faulty use of reason. That being said, if we use the word in its more common usage, you can certainly know that the Bible is the word of God, as Vic has observed. You have it on the highest authority -- God himself telling you so.
  30. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks, Paul. I'm nothing if not colloquial. Your clarification was needed.
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