RE: "charismatic" theologies and science

From: Rich Blinne (
Date: Sun Sep 01 2002 - 20:51:04 EDT

  • Next message: Terry M. Gray: "RE: "charismatic" theologies and science"

    -----Original Message-----
    From: [] On
    Behalf Of Terry M. Gray
    Sent: Sunday, September 01, 2002 4:36 PM
    Subject: Re: "charismatic" theologies and science

    >Interestingly, during and after my trial in the OPC, with my appeals
    >to Warfield and even Machen, I heard men say that these stalwarts
    >would not be ordainable in the OPC today given their published views
    >or, more likely, they would no longer hold the views that I was
    >pointing to if they knew what we knew today. Although I typically
    >count myself as a follower of C. Van Til, this is one area where his
    >presuppositional thought has played into the hands of young-earth
    >creationists among conservative Presbyterians. Many OPC people see
    >the Princetonians openness to old earth geology and evolution to be
    >an extension of their "erroneous" evidentialist apologetic and

    This is an excellent point. Van Til had the concept of antithesis
    between Christian and non-Christian worldviews. For YECs, the clash of
    worldviews includes evolution and the age of the earth.

    Greg Bahnsen, one of Van Til's disciples, said the following in "On
    Worshipping the Creature Rather Than the Creator":

    "Biblical creationism is accurately pitted against scientific
    evolutionism in their outlook. The logical antithesis between the
    two[68] has always been recognized.

    [68] This antithesis admits of no synthesis as long as one refrains from
    reconstructing the antithetical members. Admittedly some have tried to
    synthesize evolution to creation as the mode of God's operation;
    however, this requires a reconstruction of the antithetical member under
    discussion (viz., biblical creationism). Some creation ideas might be
    made evolutionary, but the biblical teaching could be made so only by a
    discriminating (rather than unconditional) subject to the words of
    Christ or by a candid spurning and remodeling of orthodox hermeneutics.
    Robert L. Dabney's words should ever be kept in mind in this regard:

    Other pretended theologians have been seen advancing, and then as easily
    retracting, novel schemes of exegesis, to suit new geologic hypotheses.
    The Bible has often had cause here to cry, "Save me from my friends." .
    . . As remarked in a previous lecture, unless the Bible has its own
    ascertainable and certain law of exposition, it cannot be a rule of
    faith; our religion is but rationalism. I repeat, if any part of the
    Bible must wait to have its real meaning imposed upon it by another, and
    a human science, that part is at least meaningless and worthless to our
    souls. It must not expound itself independently; making other sciences
    ancillary, and not dominant over it [Lectures in Systematic Theology
    (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, [1878] 1972), p. 257]."

    Now it would be unfair to lay this all at the feet of Van Til. In
    Christian Theistic Evidences, Van Til said,

    "Together with thinking of the results of science as they are offered to
    in various fields, we must think of the methodology of science. Perhaps
    there is greater agreement among scientists on the question of
    than on the question of results. At any rate, it is quite commonly held
    we cannot accept anything that is not consonant with the result of a
    scientific methodology. With this we can as Christians heartily agree.
    It is
    our contention, however that it is only upon Christian presuppositions
    that we can have a sound scientific methodology. And when we recall that
    our main argument for Christianity will be that it is only upon
    theistic presuppositions that a true notion of facts can be formed, we
    see at once that it is in the field of methodology that our major battle
    modern science will have to be fought ... The chief major battle between
    Christian and modern science is not about a large number of individual
    facts, but about the principles that control science in its work. The
    battle today is largely that of the philosophy of science."

    Origins was not an issue early in the history of the PCA. Many held to
    a day-age view and the Framework Hypothesis was gaining ground when the
    PCA was founded in 1973. Presbyteries where Greg Bahnsen's thought was
    popular correlate well with hotbeds for YEC within both the PCA and the
    OPC. That is, the Southern California Presbytery in the OPC, and
    Louisiana and Westminster Presbyteries in the PCA. Add to that the
    re-ascendance of Southern Presbyterian thought as promoted by Greenville
    Seminary and Morton Smith and the sources of the current conflict become

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