The Thinker: Gordon H. Clark [An Excerpt]

The_Thinker_Musee_Rodin[Douglas Douma over at A Place for Thoughts is currently putting together a biography on Gordon H. Clark. His research is very exciting, as it has unearthed quite a few unpublished writings of Dr. Clark, some of which I have been blessed with the privilege of transcribing and editing. The work can be difficult at some points, but it is very rewarding.

Anyway, if you are interested in reading the work by Dr. Clark that has been transcribed so far, you can read them at The Gordon H. Clark Foundation. Douglas is looking into some of the details surrounding the second work which I transcribed, so until then, it isn't available for download. Please stay updated with The Gordon H. Clark Foundation for more information. 

Here is a short excerpt.


A Religious Revolution

In Hitlerized Germany they repudiate Christianity by governmental decree: in the United States we have methods at once more refined and more effective. When a minister, as recently reported in the papers, hurls his Bible to the floor and says, “The Bible is not the word of God,” we may consider it an isolated instance of spectacularlsm. When Northwestern University sends out a questionnaire and discovers that in spite of ordination vows approximately three-fourths of the ministers do not believe the Bible to be infallible, and that two-fifths think we are Sons of God just as much as Jesus was, this we may call a trend. But when organized ecclesiastical efforts are made to repudiate the historic position of the Church, then we face a religious revolution which claims the attention of the church member and the general public alike.

To be specific we refer to the proposed union of two Presbyterian denominations. Abstractly considered there is no reason why they should not unite; the plain people of the two bodies believe the same things, the two Churches have a similar historic background, and nothing should separate them. But the proposed union is not abstract; it is a concrete proposal, and embedded in it are radical doctrinal changes. The result of such a union would not be a larger Presbyterian Church, but a Church which retained hardly a vestige of Presbyterianism. To some this result appears desirable and that is why they work for it, to others it is undesirable; but to all it represents a religious revolution not only symptomatic of worldwide trends, but of first magnitude in its own right.

Dangerous as it always is to attempt predictions, one is tempted to guess the future when a parallel case is vivid in one’s memory. In Canada a union of Congregationalists, Methodists, and Presbyterians was recently engineered. About half of the Presbyterians refused, on doctrinal grounds, to enter the union, and a great deal of dissatisfaction has been aroused. Even if the creed of the union Church had been satisfactory — which it was not — there was another serious detect. What good is a creed it no one is obliged to subscribe to it? Such is approximately the case in Canada, and the situation here is similar. Heretofore, ministers have been required in some Churches to subscribe to every phase of the creed, or as is the case with one ot the two bodies now contemplating union, they have subscribed to the system of the creed, as the system taught in the Scriptures, which system they unfeignedly hold true. Now, however, the terms of subscription are to be made so loose that the creed will no longer be regarded as containing the system taught in the Holy Scriptures. This type of subscription embodied in the present proposal of union would produce a Church which would stand for nothing definite; and if the church politicians who are now rushing this union through succeed, the split in Canada will undoubtedly be duplicated here.


A New Renaissance: Some Thoughts on Academic Profundity [Jacques Futon]

Dr. Futon

[This essay is from the late Jacques Futon, Assistant Chair of Ideational Recursivity in Philosophical Discourse. Enjoy. Or..Not.]

As I stroll through academic publications, perambulating their propositions, I am often driven to mystical wonder as I try to mine the riches of their profound insights. Men like David Hume have, for instance, shown that our belief in cause and effect is itself the effect of a causal process, viz. Our observation of an event following another event. The idea is profound, much too complex for a simpleton like myself, but here is my formulation of his theory of the origin of cause and effect: It is the natural effect of a causal process. I have yet to comprehend the depths of this, but I will hopefully make some progress in this paradox.

I don’t know, however, if I can speak with the same certainty about my studies in the writings of Nietzsche. He plumbs the fathomless depths of the human psyche in such a manner as to debilitate any who seek to understand, or clarify any misunderstanding, of his philosophical apparatuses. The reader might think that I am speaking figuratively of this great sage, but this is by no means the case! It is the undeniable truth, says Nietzsche, that those who use logical argumentation against his materialistic ontology are physiologically deformed, psychologically weak, and morally perverse. The genius of these infallible declarations is that they fully disarm any of the weaker masses from daring to approach or, as it were, reproach this Ubermensch!

Oh the riches of unthinkably profound thoughts one finds in academia! Time fails me, but I could mention philosopher after philosopher. From the pantheist who says “All is ONE!” and endeavors to explain this to me and another man (other than himself), to the philosophers who say “All is Many!” and so annihilates the meaning of difference by making it the overarching ontological category to which all things belong, I am at a loss for words! How does one begin to plumb these labyrinthine abysses of thought? Such dark-brilliance, expressed with such clouded clarity, is nearly equally matched by quasi-academics in the public sphere.

For instance, one man, a strict materialist, when presented with a valid and sound argument concerning the substantial difference between mind and body showed his rapier wit by replying: “Just because two things are different does not mean that they aren’t the same.” The Christian who argued soundly couldn’t reply, presumably this was due to his being overwhelmed by this masterful dialectician’s skill. The moderator was also speechless, and understandably so!

I have heard of yet another wizard of wisdom who sat across from a Christian fellow, and defended a rather unorthodox doctrine which he maintained was found in Scripture, which alone is infallibly true and so must be accepted by all professors of the Christian faith. [To this, let the reader understand, I offer a hearty Amen and Amen!] The Christian agreed that Scripture alone is infallibly true and so set forth a decisive and incisive deduction from the Scriptures proving his case to be true. And his opponent, a man much more skilled in the art of argumentation replied thus: “Just because an argument is biblical does not mean that it is true.” Soberly, quietly, the Christian sat perturbed, trying to reconcile this divine revelation spoken from the lips of his opponent. But little did he know that such statements are too rich, too complex for the average man to dissect and examine. [Oh Christian brother! You have fallen to that pernicious old ideology that somehow thinks validity and soundness are the necessary constituents of a good argument. If only you knew that nothing is certainly true! If only you knew that all propositions are only likely given such and such parameters of thought! If only you quit your pursuit of the knowledge of God and humbly joined the conversation of these new mystics of whom I now speak!]

Where, pray tell, do these men gain such impenetrable excavations of the deep things of God? This is a mystery yet, and I hope to scratch its surface at some point before I die and (possibly) awake in the hereafter. Nonetheless, let me engage in an experimental retroduction and so penetrate the impenetrable. Firstly, let us begin by establishing our axiom of departure, viz. “Truth is ascertainable by any human means, but not by divine revelation.”

[Here the reader may suspect me of actually believing this to be the case, but this is due to his unfamiliarity with the science of heuristicism. Our axiom is only a heuristic principle that will aid us in reconstructing the essential philosophical method found in the above-mentioned accidental manifestations of it. But more of this later, brethren.]

This is a necessary step for many reasons, but it is sufficient for us to now remark that such an axiom effectively removes metaphysical, ethical, and epistemological categories that only barb the way from ignorance to enlightenment. Secondly, therefore, we assert that what we have is not knowledge (in the biblical sense), but metaphysical, ethical, and epistemological data. Thirdly, therefore, we assert that as knowledge is never given to us (but only data are given to us) we alone are responsible for the regimentation of data into clusters of categories which then serve to rule over the minds of men.

[Again, this heuristic must not be taken literalistically. Although, it is true enough to say that data are given to us. We must not ask "By whom are data given to man?" as though "giving" required a "giver." Rather, the subject is always passive in his reception of data, and data has no giver, although it is, definitionally and experientially, always given.]

Fourthly, and lastly, we assert that because of the preceding three assertions, no man is in any position to tell another what is true or false, less beneficial or more beneficial, or even right or wrong – we are all simply speaking our “hearts” to one another and, therefore, should be cautious not to wound one another.

This last point is most important and should be defended with vigor and, if necessary, with all the zeal of drink-besodden medieval Turk hastily pursuing the defenders of Christendom! Consider this, my friends, to be an admonition whose necessity is occasioned by the ignorant chandala masses, and one that we freer sorts must keep in mind during times of peace when we begin to mingle with the despised of our respective lands. It is understandable that times of peace, indeed an unnatural state of affairs for us, would nearly kill us with boredom had we not the lower caste to show mock congeniality and condescending kindness. Yet we must always maintain our difference from them, particularly in the matters outlined above.

[Although I have been using these harsh words, let the reader understand that I am doing so out of necessity. There is no heuristic principle that does not bear on one's behavior. Please attribute my rudeness, or harshness, of speech to this and not to anything essential to my character!]


The Reality of Spiritual Warfare – Orthodoxy vs. Heresy (Mark 1:21-28)

Spiritsword[I preached on Mark 1:21-28 yesterday. If you're interested, you can download or stream the sermon here. The following is an excerpt from the sermon. Soli Deo Gloria :)]

Charismatics often look to passages such as this in order to justify elaborate theories, really speculations, about how a Christian minister ought to cast out a demon. Yet if we see only the erratic and violent behavior of the unclean spirit, we miss the greater point at issue: The battle fought here is between Christ the Word and the unclean spirit who tries to command and control Christ through spoken words.

As one bible commentator notes, “possibly the naming of Jesus is an attempt to gain the advantage by uttering his true name in the midst of the approaching supernatural confrontation.” There is a real confrontation between the Word incarnate and this unclean spirit: Christ has come to preach the Gospel, and the demon is trying to oppose and suppress the preaching of the Gospel.

Paul says as much about spiritual warfare to Timothy when he says that “in the later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.” (1st Tim 4:1) That is to say, the conflict is between Truth and error. The Truth saves and sanctifies those who are saved. Hence, the Scriptures tell us that the truth will set you free. And our Lord prays “Sanctify them in the Truth.” Sound doctrine sets a man free from idolatrous notions of who God is, from false thoughts about himself and the remainder of God’s creation, and from slavery to sin, death, and the devil. Inversely, false doctrines, the doctrines of demons, as Paul tells Timothy, have ethical/moral effects in the life of the person who believes them. Those who follow false doctrines, for instance, have abandoned the faith, the Lord in whom they once professed to believe. And this following of false doctrines works itself out in things as practical and common as whether or not one gets married or eats certain kinds of food.

Let us not look for the spectacle of exorcisms made popular by movies and the charismatic movement. It is the Truth who is attacked by the unclean spirit in this passage. And it is the Truth who overcomes and destroys the unclean spirit.


If Evolution is True, then Truth Doesn’t Matter [An Excerpt]

monkeyfacepalmI’m currently researching a variety of subjects for my thesis paper. Today I came across a great little paper title The Darwinian Assault Upon Language by Bryce J. Christensen. What follows is an excerpt from the paper, which you can download in its entirety here.

If embracing truth and rejecting error is in any sense a moral challenge, then Darwin’s fears concerning his loss of appreciation for poetry deserve more than passing attention even among scientists. Indeed, a Darwinian explanation of language appears vulnerable to a second fundamental objection: namely, that it renders impossible any real search for truth, including scientific truth. For Darwinian evolutionists, language originated as simply one more biological strategy to enhance survival and reproductive success. Note the emphasis on the usefulness of language in tool-making and “productivity” among modern linguists who subscribe to evolutionary doctrine. But if language is simply a tool for enhancing reproductive success, then questions of truth simply disappear. The question then becomes not–as it was for Darwin and his Victorian contemporaries–whether evolutionary theory is true, but simply whether those who espouse or accept it enjoy reproductive success over those who reject it on religious or philosophic grounds, or out of sheer ignorance.