Friday, April 18, 2014

G.C. Berkouwer (PhD Edit)

From European Space Agency-Gaia Calibration

Reformed Theologian Gerrit Cornelis Berkouwer from my PhD work.

The Biblical God’s Dealings With Humanity

G.C. Berkouwer explains that ‘Man[1] is-even when alienated from God-not alone.’[2]  God has still gifted fallen humanity[3] and there is a possible limitation to human corruption, that being the grace of Christ and his words and work.[4]  God still has the power and opportunity to save persons,[5] and humanly speaking[6] persons have an opportunity to know Christ in conversion.[7]

Berkouwer reasons that God wants a free man, not a mechanical tool or creature than can be maneuvered as the Almighty sees fit. Berkouwer (1962: 333).  

I reason human freedom always operates within the framework of God’s sovereignty and providence. However, the concept of God forcing and/or coercing persons to commit actions would be denied by many within Reformed theology.  Frame (2002: 153).  Berkouwer (1962: 333).

April 18, 2014

As noted on my blogs, I would agree and therefore deny that compatibilism/soft determinism with significantly free human and secondary cause actions, includes divine force and/or coercion. Rather God simultaneously causes and wills human thoughts, acts/actions. God performing such with infinite knowledge in infinite holiness and moral perfection; secondary beings, such as angels with finite knowledge and limited holiness and limited moral perfection, sinless. Fallen significantly rational creatures with finite knowledge and in unholiness and sin, such as fallen angels and human beings, although God/Holy Spirit can and does influence the Christian believer at times in regard to thoughts, acts/actions (John 20, Acts). The believer having the imputed righteousness of Christ in justification (Romans 1-4). Influence of the non-believer by God is also possible and reasonable, although outside of election and regeneration and other aspects of salvation including justification. Being chosen and regenerated New Testament concepts for those in Christ.

BERKOUWER, G.C. (1962) Man: The Image of God, Grand Rapids, W.M.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

FRAME, JOHN M. (1999) ‘The Bible on the Problem of Evil: Insights from Romans 3:1-8,21-26; 5:1-5; 8:28-39’, IIIM Magazine Online, Volume 1, Number 33, October 11 to October 17, Fern Park, Florida, Third Millennium.

FRAME, JOHN M. (2002) The Doctrine of God, P and R Publishing, Phillipsburg, New Jersey.

[1] I prefer the term humankind.
[2] Berkouwer (1962: 183).
[3] Berkouwer (1962: 186).
[4] Berkouwer (1962: 192).
[5] Berkouwer (1962: 192).
[6] Within a compatibilistic framework.
[7] Berkouwer (1962: 192-193).

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Harold Lindsell (PhD Edit)


PhD edit from Dr. Harold Lindsell, former editor of Christianity Today


Harold Lindsell explains that the inerrancy of Scripture is rejected by many within liberal churches.[1]  He reasons that inerrancy equals infallibility and a trustworthy Bible.[2]  Within progressive churches the issue of everlasting punishment can be complicated by questioning of inerrancy of related verses. The issue of the trustworthiness of Scripture mentioned by Lindsell,[3] and as well the symbolic nature of the Biblical language describing everlasting hell, could create doubt concerning the doctrine of everlasting punishment within liberal churches. 

Figurative literal language, in my mind, does not in Biblical terms mean mythological language, but not plain literal language. Therefore, everlasting hell and punishment is not Biblically dismissed as fiction because it is not described plain literally.

Lindsell would support a traditional understanding of Biblical revelation where he states that through special supernatural revelation in Scripture, Jesus Christ is revealed to selected persons.[4]  He does not believe that a human being can be saved outside of this revelation.[5]

Traditionalists such as Lindsell, will view any move within the Christian Church away from Biblical teaching as a negative.[6]  He provides the opinion that many Christian institutions have slowly over time moved away from orthodox, Biblical theology and have gone astray.[7]  Some from the conservative perspective, who answered this question in the affirmative, may view secular influence on the Church as leading it into error. 

This can be seen in many Christian Church contexts today.

Lindsell analyses the issue of Scripture philosophically and acknowledges that within the Christian community there have been other non-traditional ways to look at the Bible. There have been debates within the Church over inerrancy, as in the Bible being without error.  He states that the term infallible can be considered a synonym of the word inerrant in the context of the Bible.  Lindsell (1976: 27).

LINDSELL, HAROLD (1976) The Battle for the Bible, Grand Rapids, Zondervan Publishing House.

[1] Lindsell (1976: 201-202).
[2] Lindsell (1976: 19).  I can support inerrancy for the original documents, which no longer exist.  No copies or translations are inerrant.
[3] Lindsell (1976: 201-202).
[4] Lindsell (1976: 17). 
[5] Lindsell (1976: 17).
[6] Lindsell (1976: 185).
[7] Lindsell (1976: 185).
[8] Lindsell (1976: 185).

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