I recently saw a snippet of an interaction between Joel McDurmon and Mark Jones that made me think of something. And why not?, say I. It’s still kind of a free country. Why can’t I think of oblique stuff? So I offer this, not as my own engagement with their debate, but rather as a free standing observation, one that may or may not be relevant to their discussion. But whether it is, or no, it is certainly relevant to a heck of a lot of other stuff.
It has to do with the relative merits of a biblicist approach to understanding the text (and the world) and a confessional, historical approach to understanding the same.
I grew up in a biblicist tradition, and hold it right there. What do I mean by biblicist tradition? What kind of oxymoronic juke move is this? Well, as a shrewd old Baptist preacher once put it, “We Baptists don’t believe in tradition. It’s contrary to our historic position.”
And this is the basic point I want to make — the inescapability of assumptions brought in from outside the text. But before getting there, and before trying to make that point, I did want to say that I grew up in a biblicist tradition, and I retain — down to the present I retain — a great deal of affection and respect for it. Biblicists often see in the text what other traditions do not see, and which in some cases these other traditions are not allowed to see. I have learned a great deal from the biblicists, and from all kinds of biblicists — whether anabaptist or VanTilian. So as far as that goes, as the great Augustine once put it, “go, dog, go.”
But one of the things the biblicists frequently do not see is the regulative and governing nature of their own presuppositions. There is a tendency among them to think that because they are coming to the Bible “raw,” with no hermeneutic to speak of, they don’t need to evaluate those assumptions in the light of Scripture. Their position is “just biblical.” They would hold their foundational assumptions up to the light of Scripture if they had foundational assumptions, but fortunately, being just biblical, they do not.
Now I know there is a ditch on the other side of the road as well. There are those who have elevated a tradition to the level of Scripture. That tradition is explicit and defined, and so it should be possible to compare it to the teaching of Scripture — but because of an overriding a priori assumption that it must OF COURSE harmonize, nobody need trouble themselves. This is the formal position of the Roman communion, with Scripture and tradition both ostensibly on the throne.
And of course, historic Protestant churches — being populated with human beings, just like Rome — can do the same thing. But because that principle is not formally embraced among Protestants, it need not be defended. At least the Catholics, backs to the wall in the course of the Reformation, needed to invent the casuistry of the Jesuits.
So historic Protestants who have a set of formal doctrinal commitments — established by natural law, history, the creeds, systematic theology, the confessions — can sometimes drift into a default system where their “system” trumps the plain meaning of the text. So that is granted, and when it happens, we should all say, all together we should say, alack and alas. It is a fallen world, and the best of men are men at best.
But my point is that we cannot get away from this by jettisoning natural law, history, the creeds, systematic theology, and confessions. That is because the only thing we succeed in doing is hiding from ourselves the nature and extent of our dependence on *all* of them. We actually jettison nothing but self-awareness.
Biblicists think that an energetic sprint can get them away from the gum on their shoe.
I once was talking with a godly saint who — steeped in Trinitarian practical realities — said that he didn’t use the term “Trinitarian” because it wasn’t in the Bible. It wasn’t biblical. My reply was that the term “biblical” wasn’t in the Bible either. The conversation thereafter staggered to an uneasy halt.
Now given that absolutely everyone has controlling presuppositions, I want to do everything in my power to keep mine out where I can see them. As Socrates put it once, the unexamined presupposition is not worth sitting on. Presuppositions can be sneaky little busters, and they really bear watching.
But they all have names. When you get to know them, they cause a lot less trouble.
And incidentally, my desires in this, however noble they might be, do not mean that I have successfully examined all of my assumptions. No, I know that I have not. But I do know that I have examined a lot more of them, in the light of Scripture, than I had done back in the day when I thought that I didn’t have any.
Back in those halcyon days, I didn’t know that there were preconditions of thought. There was just thinking, I thought. And look, here’s a Bible. There was just reading, I thought.
But actually, no.
Jettisoning the creeds, systematic theology, and confessions is a big mistake. But when a doctrine cannot be supported without resorting to the creeds, systematic theology, and confessions, all the BS lights on the console are flashing red. The denominations who can see paedobaptism in the Bible are usually the first to find room for female ministers and godly same sex marriage in the Bible. The other tricky thing is that God works in harvest cycles, a process of maturity, at many levels, so there is no such thing as a completely static set of laws in a biblical worldview (just… Read more »
Yep, I just heard those paedobaptist Orthodox and Catholics are about to start ordaining women priests and marrying same-sex partners together any minute now… One of the places where I strongly align with Pastor Wilson is in the belief that paedobaptism is NOT a hill to die on. It’s pretty easy to imagine us meeting Peter up around the heavenly gates and seeing him say, “Wait, you were splitting churches over THAT?” I think the Biblical case for paedobaptism is at least as good as the case against it. For my family, we simply choose to abide with the practices… Read more »
When you say abide with the practices of the denomination we are under do mean, if they practice paedobaptism you would/did have your infant children baptized, and if they are credobaptists you would/did just as happily never mind?
When you’re long past having infants, or minor children of any age, as I am, the question is moot at a personal level, and so the never mind either way option is a little bit easier.
Yes, that was exactly what I was saying. For myself personally, I would baptize my children as infants if that was the tradition of the church I was in and I would wait until they made the choice themselves if that was the tradition of the church I was in.
The hard part is when you actually have to live your life one way or the other. If it doesn’t matter what the church teaches, then it doesn’t matter whether my kids are baptized, or whether the people in the church I join treats them as incipient Christians or as heathens until further notice. If I’m a credo, it doesn’t matter whether I violate scripture by having my kid baptized and create what I believe to be a false sense of security, or disobey the leadership of the church. It’s not that I don’t want to be in a church… Read more »
Having a passel of youngsters myself, and having oscillated between Baptist and Reformed churches, the way I and the Missus deal with it is by insisting on what both sides are supposed to agree about: that baptism does not save. The danger of paedobaptism is sloppily thinking that because one is a covenant child one is regenerate and need not repent and believe. If you define your categories sharply, that danger seems to me to be ameliorated.
“….because one is a covenant child one is regenerate .”
At our house we call that having Catholic DNA, on account of the fact that there are a whole lot of family members who once went to church as an infant to be baptized and have not lifted a finger since. As much as I should like to pin the blame on paedobaptism, in truth it really is just the result of sloppy thinking that no one ever bothered to ameliorate.
God tried to teach us, through the example of Israel (and through the vine and olive tree metaphors), that being a child of the covenant wasn’t an automatic guarantee that one would abide and see eternal glory. Even though all of the same warnings about apostasy are given under the new covenant, some want to say that being in the new covenant is identical to being in the number ordained to eternal glory. The practical problem with this view is that we all have seen Christians flame out and apostatize. Rather than understand this as a departure from the covenant… Read more »
This is not so different from st John’s approach, where he defines the church as the set of those who do not leave. See also, tares and wheat.
The Catholic church is now very reluctant to baptize infants unless there is reason to believe that the parents will actually raise them as Catholics. Exceptions are made, of course, for infants in danger of death. This has caused a lot of hard feeling among older Catholics who saw baptism as a child’s automatic right. I have mixed feelings about it.
Jill Smith wrote: This has caused a lot of hard feeling among older Catholics who saw baptism as a child’s automatic right. I have mixed feelings about it. It’s interesting to hear of a possible shift occurring, but I hope they don’t end up in the ditch on the other side. One of the grievances of early protesting catholics was that grace had been analogized as a substance that could be transacted independent of heart condition. So the number of sacraments was multiplying and people were chasing after them as if they were in a game of Pokemon Go, with… Read more »
Because older Catholics were taught that an unbaptized child cannot attain heaven, baptism was seen as the automatic right of every Catholic infant regardless of his parents’ intentions. This is why doting grandmothers of the old school sometimes baptize their grandchildren in the kitchen sink. Parents who don’t belong to a parish, don’t attend church, and say they are unwilling to attend baptism classes are likely to be refused–but they can remedy that at any time by coming back to the church. It is more difficult for people in a mixed marriage, or in an irregular marriage, who must persuade… Read more »
In light of 1 Peter 3:21, this would seem to be a case of what Doug writes about above” drifting into a …
Peter himself corrects your faulty assumption about baptism. One need only read the entire verse to see that the Apostle is not talking about water. Please concentrate on Romans 1-5 for a better understanding of being made right with God.
Peter compares Baptism to Noah’s Ark (1 Peter 3:20):
Everyone else perished.
After concentrating on Romans 1-5 for a bit, I would suggest moving on to Romans 6:
Paul says that baptism is burial. Must we then practice dirt baptism, immersion or sprinkling, or will you permit us to interpret Paul’s highly symbolic and mystical declaration as a symbol for the repentance and renewal baptism so obviously represents?
Sure, because the plain meaning of the text is always already controlled by the totality of the text. Scripture can neither err nor contradict itself, meaning that bits which may be misread to imply that a fancy bath can effect a heart transplant ought to be re-read, with greater nuance.
The “totality of the text” is another way of saying that there is a “system” that, as Doug writes, “trumps the plain meaning of the text.”
He then warns against “jettisoning natural law, history, the creeds”, etc. to “get away from this”.
From the earliest days of the Church, baptism was much more than “a fancy bath”. The Nicene creed states:
The “totality of the text” is another way of saying that there is a “system” that, as Doug writes, “trumps the plain meaning of the text.” So do you also agree with the “plain meaning” of things like: “If you do not give up all your possessions, you cannot be my disciple.” “Those who live by the sword will die by the sword.” “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.” “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in… Read more »
Precisely. And that baptism is traditionally understood to include repentance. As Peter himself put it: Repent and be baptized. Do you suppose he thought repentance was for Jews alone? That it was merely an unnecessary addition to the cleansing water of baptism? What nonsense! It is far more reasonable to suppose that his letter speaks of baptism as a symbol representing spiritual reality. What? Do you imagine that a human soul is corporeal, that it may be scrubbed clean at the fount? Do you suppose that Peter, the great apostle, changed his mind? No, let us read intelligently.
Yes, that’s an error but…there are still pretty profound implications to the difference between a covenant child and a rank heathen.
I know several women my age who have illicitly baptized their infant Catholic grandchildren!
Does that even count? I baptize my kids all the time (less often than they probably need it), but that’s only to get the dirt off. Don’t I need to be ordained or something to call it a sacrament?
Anybody, even a heathen, can baptize someone if he uses plain water, the correct words, and has the intention of performing the rite. (He doesn’t have to believe in it, but he must intend his actions.)
The water must be poured so that it touches the scalp (or the person must be immersed), it can’t be done with Sprite or flavored water, and the Trinitarian formula must be used. None of this creator, redeemer, and sustainer talk.
Usually after a baptism of this nature, a priest will later perform a conditional baptism.
So then why are the baptisms performed by your chums illicit?
The baptism is valid, but illicit because a layman is supposed to baptize somebody only when there is imminent danger of death. The Church respects the right of Catholic parents to refuse to baptize their child, however much it may deplore it. If grandma, unknown to the parents, brings the baby to the rectory and asks the priest to baptize it, the priest is supposed to refuse. Your baptismal certificate follows you through life and is required at each religious milestone–first holy communion, confirmation, marriage, or entry into the religious life. You need to produce it every time you register… Read more »
fascinating. Thank you!
Is it all that different, in practice? I have children, who sin, about whose eternal destination I am not certain. When they sin, they need to repent, to be forgiven, and to be reminded to believe the gospel. Their status as covenant children seems tangential.
Uberti wrote: Their status as covenant children seems tangential. Their status as covenant children pertains to who they are in relation to God and to other believers. Are they His children, are they Uberti’s brothers and sisters in Christ, or are they strangers and outsiders? Are they knit into the body of Christ, together with Uberti, or are they foreign tissue? It is true that God calls everyone to repentance, and to belief, but when it comes to God’s discipline, we are explicitly told that His chastening of His sons differs from His judgment of outsiders. There is a loving… Read more »
I think you are pushing too hard on your analogy. I am married to my wife; we have a covenant. It is clear and simple and there is no sense in which we are not married. If my children are covenant children, that implies a certain relationship to God (you used the word “sons”). Except, some of them may well not be elect. They may well not be sons of God in the sense that ultimately matters. So there is ambiguity present in the covenant relationship that you are ignoring, since one may simultaneously be a “covenant child of God”… Read more »
Farinata wrote: I think you are pushing too hard on your analogy. I am married to my wife; we have a covenant. It is clear and simple and there is no sense in which we are not married. Not so fast. If I am pushing too hard on this analogy, then so is Farinata, because his wife may come to divorce him and break covenant. So why does he treat her like she is his wife today, in covenant bond, when she may not be next year? Does he suppose he has more than a “covenant of appearances” with her?… Read more »
I think that the human institution of marriage differs from the covenant that involves Christ’s church because marriage is an imperfect representation. As Paul teaches, the marriage covenant inevitably ends – with death if not before. But God’s covenant is everlasting. Nor is it right to conclude that those who seem to be in fellowship with God and then apostasize, like Judas, are merely breaking their end of the bargain. If Scripture teaches us anything, it is that God’s covenants are unilateral – he walks alone between the torn carcasses, and he swears only by himself. Thus, in his priestly… Read more »
Farinata wrote: I think that the human institution of marriage differs from the covenant that involves Christ’s church because marriage is an imperfect representation. “Human institution”? Does Farinata suppose that man invented marriage? If the covenant of marriage is such an “imperfect representation” and so fundamentally different, why does Scripture specifically compare Christ’s covenant union with His Bride to the marriage covenant? Remember it was Farinata who started by saying: I think you are pushing too hard on your analogy. I am married to my wife; we have a covenant. It is clear and simple and there is no sense… Read more »
Would you deny that marriage is a terrestrial phenomenon, instituted for human beings in this present age? Would you deny that it is a type and shadow of the true marriage between Christ and his bride? If you accept these, as you must, my point stands. A difference in duration – mortal as opposed to immortal – is not a fundamental difference, but a difference in quantity. You are quibbling. You say “covenants with fallen creatures are messy, but they are nevertheless objective and real. They just shouldn’t be confused with God’s eternal decrees.” So is it your position that… Read more »
Farinata wrote: So is it your position that God enters into a covenant with the visible church that does not involve salvation? What are the terms of this covenant, then? This is an excellent question, and right at the heart of the issue. Of course I do affirm that God’s covenant involves salvation, but such promises are for those who abide in that covenant. Jesus was very explicit about the terms of the covenant in respect to abiding. Christ is our salvation. We don’t possess salvation independent of union with Him. There is no separate account into which salvation is… Read more »
Of course marriage is the “best representation”, but you’re moving the goalposts. My claim is that its relationship to the covenant is type to antitype, and that the thing signified is greater than the sign. You haven’t addressed my point at all.
No, the New Covenant is anything but terrestrial. It’s God’s eternal plan. It has terrestrial manifestations, but unlike any of our marriages will outlast the earth, . If you don’t see a difference there I don’t know what to tell you.
Let me put the question this way: does a covenant child of one day old have a fundamentally different relationship to Christ than a mature saint?
Farinata wrote: More to the point, I do not see how the addition of “covenant handles” changes anything. It is not as though they make the self-centered little heathens who populate the nursery any more or less in need of correction, do they? Nor, from what I can see, does it change the sort of correction that one meets out. Once again: all children need to repent of their sins and believe in Christ. This applies across the board, inside and outside this covenant of appearances. So what’s the difference? As was already shown, covenant relationship directly changes the sort… Read more »
You may feel you have shown “the sort of correction God offers to his sons,” but it is not clear to me. Rather, I think you have stated that there is a difference, and left imagining the parameters thereof as an exercise for the reader. Well then, here is my attempt: God destroys his enemies and he corrects those whom he loves unto repentance. But this is not something that one can readily distinguish here on earth – Ahab and Jezebel enjoyed great pomp, while righteous Naboth was stoned for a blasphemer. Nor is this distinction particularly useful in parenting,… Read more »
Farinata wrote: Perdition is the null hypothesis – why pretend otherwise? Is Paul pretending otherwise to the Corinthians?: For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. We have already acknowledged that covenant membership does not equate to automatic eternal glory, however, whatever Farinata thinks the word “holy” means in this passage, it doesn’t mean “unclean”, or “heathen”, and it doesn’t mean “perdition is the null hypothesis”. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants… Read more »
You are making some fair points. But calling on Genesis 17:7 in this context is a real whopper. God’s promises are to Abraham’s descendants – and not his physical children. Paul makes the point in so many words, more than once: Abraham’s “seed” to whom the promise is given is neither more nor less than Christ. “He does not say ‘seeds’ as referring to many, but rather to one… Jesus Christ.” To take this verse as an argument for a physical, genetic covenant is egregious. Talk about a breakdown of the physical covenant: call me Ishmael, Abraham’s own descendant, and… Read more »
I overlooked your questions. You asked a) does Farinata continually try to convert his “heathen” children to God whenever they sin? b) Or does he appeal to their identity as noble sons and daughters of God who bear His Name as light to the world? c) Will he at least acknowledge that there is a very practical difference in the correction? No, I tell them to repent, and remind them that Christ has paid for their sins if they will but believe. As they grow older we have more complicated conversations about it; ultimately, I hope to see them baptized… Read more »
And you may start having grandchildren, and advising their parents on what to do!
Your comfortable position is only a temporary reprieve!
Well, it’s only an issue or a reason for discomfort if there’s some reason that they or we couldn’t be members of a church that properly baptizes covenant children.
“The denominations who can see paedobaptism in the Bible are usually the first to…”
That’s the “most wrecks happen within 5 miles of home” fallacy. The vast majority of denominations that are [any category] are bound to be paedobaptist, simply because most christians are (have always been?) paedobaptist.
There is the danger of seeing more in Scripture than is actually there, but there is the opposite danger as well. The denominations that fail to see paedobaptism in the Bible are also usually the first to fail to see the Trinity or Chalcedonian Christology in the Bible. “I don’t see infant baptism anywhere, and I don’t see homoousia anywhere either.”
I agree 100% with every single word of this. And I suspect that for myself, and Pastor Wilson, and anyone else who agrees, we still do not understand how many more outside presuppositions have distracted us from the God of Jesus Christ. But at least we can say we “have examined a lot more of them, in the light of Scripture, than I had done back in the day when I thought that I didn’t have any.” The greatest obstacle to overcome is the circular confirmation of presupposition. Where we have been steeped so firmly in a particular denominational dogma… Read more »
It matters what presuppositions we have, and we need to be aware of them. But in same ways this is no different from all knowledge. All epistemology is a spiral toward (or away from) truth. So we can start with the idea the A is not ~A. And that communication is possible. That truth is consistent. And that we can only understand because God gives us this ability. But we don’t always need to have as many presuppositions as we actually carry. And we can abandon some, or at least question them. Why have a systematic theology as a presupposition?… Read more »
The difficulty is that much of Scripture makes no sense outside of some sort of greater idea of the plotline. But there is more than one version of that “greater idea” out in the mix. Most of us believe that our “greater idea” of what is going on comes from Scripture itself and/or the inspiration of God and/or the interpretive tradition of community. But I’ve seen different groups who equally felt they were committed to Scripture come up with somewhat different big picture narratives. Compare an N.T. Wright to a John Piper to a John Paul Yoder to a John… Read more »
Yes, but how willing are they to consider their presuppositions? How willing are they to change them. Which is why it can be helpful to read people who disagree with you. Force you to look at things that others think that they can see. For example, I am a futurist (not strongly) but Doug’s series taking a preterist approach has been helpful. Also, people need to look at concepts that do not easily fit into their worldview. It can be the outliers that challenge us. Not always to completely change our perspective, but to develop a fuller one. It has… Read more »
Mike Bull, you realize the author of this blog is a paedobaptist and is thoroughly committed to a biblical patriarchy or complementarian position, right?
Yes, he understands quite well
Jonathan, paedobaptism isn’t a hill to die on, but doesn’t Doug hold the position? It’s probably one view I have theological disagreements with Doug on, but I’m not gonna begin to suggest he’s gonna start allowing female ministers.
He holds the position and very firmly but he is a founding member of a denomination that holds the unusual position of allowing elders who embrace and teach either position. So he really is the embodiment of “not a hill to die on,” not be confused with “not viewing it as important.”
I like that “not a hill to die on,” not be confused with “not viewing it as important.”, those false options being another instance of ditches on either side of the road. It applies to a lot of other things besides baptism.
Can an unbaptized child receive Holy Communion?
They can if the communion police are not looking! ; – )
In a credobaptist church they can.
In a credobaptist church they can if nobody knows, nobody is paying attention, or nobody has the nerve to say no. Same goes for unbaptized adults. In a *good* credobaptist church the baptized parents know, are paying attention, and have no problem saying no, and the pastor makes the necessary point to everyone else.
We allow because we are happy for our children to take communion but we don’t baptise until there is an independent credible confession of faith.
If communion is nourishment for the baptized soul, then it may also confirm and reinforce the soul in an unbaptized condition
I suppose the decision to allow or not comes down to our understanding of why anyone takes communion. What is it we think we are doing?
How than those who have no interest in Christ rightly receive communion? And why wouldn’t those who have an interest in Christ, be baptized? I don’t understand the thought process here.
Credobaptists often baptise adults who convert, and children in households of faith at an age that is deemed adult. I suspect means from 12 onwards, though in our age where psychological maturity is delayed, often 14+ and sometimes later.
I’ve noticed quite a variety in when the children of credobaptists get baptized. Even when they seem quite committed to Christ, for whatever reason many delay it until 15-17 or so.
Credobaptists are supposed to baptize not with regard to age per se, but following profession of faith, something an infant cannot do. It is questionable if most children under the age of 12 genuinely can, though perhaps there are some. Adult or child, examination is in order, and the examination should seek to discern the truth and not merely be a formality before we affirm what we all hope is true. Some credobaptists are more responsible about it than others. Small children can be taught, and prompted, to correctly answer questions they don’t truly understand, for the sake of making… Read more »
I understand what you are saying, I’m just saying that in practical reality, I’ve seen many young members of credobaptist churches delay their baptism until well after they seemed to me to have made a confession of faith.
Our own foster daughter didn’t get baptized until she was 18.
I have wondered about Catholic first confession at the age of 7 which was arbitrarily chosen centuries ago as the age of reason. I am not sure whether I believe 7 years olds typically have the moral clarity and judgment required to make mortal sin possible. Venial sin, of course, but not mortal sin which requires full understanding of the seriousness of the offense, and a deliberate decision to commit it anyway accompanied by full consent of the will.
It’s my understanding that most churches in that denomination commit to one view or the other via their doctrinal statement, but also pledge to accommodate transfers from other congregations who disagree. I defer to those with more knowledge as to whether paedobaptism and paedocommunion are generally regarded with such indifference.
If something is important, it’s tantamount to such a hill. John the Baptist’s view of Herod’s marriage eventually cost him his head. The Lord’s view of giving to the church was no doubt part of the case against him (Mk 7:9-16).
Yes, Jane hit the nail on the head with Pastor Wilson’s position and my agreement with it.
“Go! Dog, Go! Is a book that does have commentary on Papal traditions!
What else could “I do not like that hat.” Be addressing?
This is the kind of enlightening thought that brings me to the comment section again and again.
Very good, sir.
Well, P. D. Eastman, the author of go dog go, is no Matthew Henry, but he’s close!????????????
Who was that reformer who trained his dog to jump up and knock the mitre off of the head of passing bishops?
Shaggy and Scooby-Doo? ; – )
There is something to be said for just closing your eyes and feeling the music. Let The word speak to you, rather than you speaking to The word. Scripture reveals itself, precept upon precept. There is revelation to be found there. That takes some genuine intimacy with the Lord, relationship, because you have to know exactly who you are listening to. To avoid having to do this, we like to fall back on tradition, theology, legalism, until we are so crazy we start inventing rubbish like Eternal Submission of the Son and trinitarian hierarchies and a whole slew of doctrinal… Read more »
Also, reading a bit farther is good as well! For instance Philippians 2:6-8 casts Godly submission in its proper light and makes the whole “eternal submission” question seem silly by comparison!????????????
In the ultimate tragedy, I adore submission, submission to the Lord,submission to husbands even. Unfortunately there are too many broken, dysfunctional, downright abusive Christians in the way, making it downright impossible to even speak of these things.
On the bright side, at least we now know Joel Osteen caused global warming, so there is that.
“But one of the things the biblicists frequently do not see is the regulative and governing nature of their own presuppositions. There is a tendency among them to think that because they are coming to the Bible “raw,” with no hermeneutic to speak of, they don’t need to evaluate those assumptions in the light of Scripture. Their position is “just biblical.” They would hold their foundational assumptions up to the light of Scripture if they had foundational assumptions, but fortunately, being just biblical, they do not.” This exact same concept applies in the secular world as well, with the “just… Read more »
Amen to that, and it’s a serious problem.
Sam Harris has becoming their most public representative.
And Bill Nye at the popular level.
It was challenging those presuppositions that got me kicked out of “The Pub”. I just wanted people to look at communion as something kids can enjoy. Nope. Not allowed. Here’s the record of my “bad girl” thinking: It’s odd that many theologians only think of the Kingdom as containing men, when women and children out number them quite significantly. Case in point: The Passover. Much fuss is made over men going to Jerusalem for this feast, but they forget about what’s happening at home. The women and children who don’t travel are still observing the feast. Their bread is just… Read more »
I’m sorry. It’s easy to get kicked out of the Pub. Those people are terribly frightened and insecure. Challenging presuppositions is actually called “roasting sacred cows.” People tend to be uncharitable about it, like you’re trying to steal their golden calf or something.
It probably didn’t help that, in my affirmation of future obedience to pub rules, I mentioned that they were being intellectually dishonest.
???? my bad.
That’s not usually a crowd pleaser, Heidi!
It’s not you. The intellectually dishonest are often quite defensive about it.
Heidi, when you mention kids, are you including toddlers? Your mention of the Passover–which of course is celebrated by children of all ages–made me wonder if you see Holy Communion as entirely analogous to the Seder, the family meal, rather than in more sacramental terms.
So, then, how’m I supposed to make sense out of your article?
With presuppositions that have been thoroughly examined, and not found wanting, by the examining presuppositions!????
This time you hit the nail on the head!
I presuppose you are right!????
“Now given that absolutely everyone has controlling presuppositions, I want to do everything in my power to keep mine out where I can see them. ”
–one of them being that you CAN see them :)
Doug, do you formally embrace the priniciple put out there in the WCF1:1? >>
That without the information (propositional content?) presented (& understood — to some unspecified degree, by the presentees?) only by Scripture (& not availbable from what’s there in nature), ain’t no salvation gonna happen?
Seems like this presupposition grounds a lot of the church biz, no?
“Therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in
divers manners, to reveal himself, and to declare that his will…”
Hi MeMe Are you reasoning (along with the papas of WCF1:2) that in lieu of nature’s stated (by them, not by any Scripture writer that I can find) insufficiency of relevant info with regard to God’s will, that salvation is dependent upon crossing a certain threshold of such heretofor unavailable info? Folks in Salem, Canaan around 2000 BC (for example) are poop out of luck getting saved unless & until they a good chunk of info into their noggins about the person & will of God that they certainly aren’t going to find (says the papas, that is) just sitting… Read more »
Am I reasoning? Well, I suppose my entire argument lies somewhere along the lines of, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Often it is our own reasoning that tends to get us into so much trouble. I’m pretty much a nothing but the blood of Jesus kind of Christian. So our own knowledge, understanding, good works, paedobaptism, are completely unrelated to our salvation. Our salvation is not dependent on those things. We are saved in Christ alone. When people… Read more »
When we’re saved, we’re GIVEN the desire to know Him, don’t you think?
And the capacity, too, eventually?
Often arguments like this are used to devastation. They will say because you can’t fully escape presuppositions one set of idea does is not more biblical or striving to Be more biblical than another. Or they assume we all need something higher Than gods word as our foundAtuin and base. This is dangerous and needs to be resisted. Presupposes can’t be avoiddd fully but there are those striving to alighn it to reality and those who take tradition- we did it this way for a long time so that’s are argument it’s true – as the determiner of reality. Or… Read more »
Ee–yah. Not that everything we think comes from Scripture (Gordon H. Clark claimed that only Scripture and what can be deduced from Scripture counts as knowledge, so “I am not a Martian” he didn’t know); we cannot avoid having habits. Me, I define tradition as any church habit the church isn’t ashamed of (several popes in a row dying of venereal disease would NOT establish a tradition, for they knew better); agree with pastor Wilson that traditions are unavoidable; and to “sola Scriptura” I prefer to say Scripture outranks tradition and tradition can always be corrected from it. Luther, the… Read more »
no tradition no canon, no canon no bible
I’m always shocked by the number of modern Christians who don’t think that one through…sometimes it feels like they think they think Luther was Hikiah, finding the law lying about in the temple without history or context.
nol tradition no canon, no canon no biblicism
You left out a step: no revelation no tradition.
I take it, then, that you would be open to looking to the Aramaic Targums of the Hebrew Scriptures as a potential answer to the question “Why does John call Jesus ‘the Word'”? I ask because whether “biblicist” or not, many evangelicals seem to think it illegitimate to look past the idea of the OT “word of the Lord.” The latter does not speak to the divine nature of the Son, whereas the former uses “the Word of the LORD” as a substitute for the divine name itself.