Blog Posts

 

Professor Pushback, Perkins and R2K

A few hours ago I received the following message through my blog from professor R. Scott Clark in response to an article of mine that recently appeared on The Aquila Report. After discussing the matter on the phone with this brother, I’ve decided to address a few things. Your account of “R2K” seems like a […]

Westminster Civil Ethics vs R2K Natural Law on Kidnapping

Christians and non-Christians alike have grieved this past week while also trying to process ethical questions regarding longtime convicted kidnapper Cleotha Abston who is being charged with abducting and murdering Eliza Fletcher. Many ethical questions are at hand and convictions run passionately deep regarding how those questions might best be answered through a Reformed Christian […]

Dining Out on The Lord’s Day

My father grew up in the borough of Brooklyn, in a neighborhood just north of “Bed-Stuy” called Williamsburg. Those familiar with the district know that in the early 1900s with the completion of the bridge that bears the neighborhood’s name, Hasidic Jews from the “Lower east Side” began populating the community along with other immigrants […]

Divorce, censure, and session responsibility

We synthesize particular biblical principles in order to compose theology that is biblical, practical and compassionate. Under the gospel of Christ there exist two permissible reasons for divorce: adultery and willful desertion. (Matt.19:8,9; 1 Cor. 7:15) Elders often have to judge whether certain acts of the flesh constitute adultery. Elders also have to decide whether […]

The Philosophical and Moral Impotency of Natural Law in Refuting Homosexuality

Although all men know by nature that homosexuality is sin, it’s only through Scripture that one can adequately defend the claim. (Natural theology types are free to try sometime.) Since most people are autonomous in their thinking, it’s understandable why most cannot justify with any consistency and without avoiding arbitrariness, the claim that homosexuality is […]

More on Reformed Apostasy

Many Reformed churches have progressed from (i) a lack of theological nuance to (ii) a disregard for doctrinal distinction to (ii) an actual repudiation of Reformed theology. It’s no longer that Reformed pulpits and sessions are merely being manned by elders who aren’t theologically keen, which eventually gave way to a general sense, if not […]

Jonathan Edwards on the “necessity” of the divine decree

Our acts are free, though triggered by intentions that are caused according to God’s sovereign determination of the relationship between prior states of affairs and our intentions to act. Moreover, we approve of our intentions that cannot be other than what they will be. Like us, God approves of his intentions and cannot act contrary […]

Orthodox Presbyterian Church 88th General Assembly at Eastern University

I’m a bit surprised that some OPC Pastors and Ruling Elders are eager to maintain that the OPC did not prematurely acknowledge guilt at their 88th General Assembly. “The 88th (2022) General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church hereby expresses to the faculty, staff, and students of Eastern University its grief, sorrow, and disgust regarding […]

NAPARC Infidelity

This is a follow-up post to Seeds of Apostasy and Congregant Responsibility. It’s staggering to consider how far a preponderance of NAPARC churches have drifted from Reformed confessional theology. If the shepherds won’t protect the sheep, the sheep better get better at protecting themselves. Today’s obsession with egalitarianism, critical theories, and medieval philosophy by “historians” […]

Dr. James Anderson Dismantles Opposition to Presuppositional Apologetics, Theological Determinism and Christ’s Kingly Reign Over All

It’s never pleasurable to read (i) caricatures, (ii) misunderstandings, (iii) reckless treatment of opposing views and (iv) badly formulated arguments – especially by other Christians. It is pleasurable, however, given such grave misfortune, to read precise interaction with such positions. One wonderful thing about James’s work is his points of disagreement are always precisely articulated. […]

Seeds of Apostasy and Congregant Responsibility

If you’re not grieved by the infidelity of the church, then with this post you’ll find little relevance. Churches don’t become apostate overnight. Apostasy begins with elders having a faith and practice that is contrary to their confessional standards. Within the confessional pale, elders don’t typically deny their ordination vows overtly. It’s rare that an […]

Impeccability of Christ & Broadly Logical Modality

The Sproulian view of the peccability of Christ ends in either in an abstraction of the human nature from the second Person or else it attributes human personhood to the Son. Either way the denial of the impeccability of Christ implicitly, yet unwittingly, denies Chalcedon. (At the 21 minute mark I interact with Sproul, though […]

Trinitarian Heterodoxy Eclipses Marriage (once again)

A pair of books were recently released entitled: Let The Men Be Men & Let The Women Be Women. As the subtitles disclose, the respective books pertain to God’s Design For Manhood And Marriage & God’s Design For Womanhood and Marriage. My wife was reading to me a portion from Chapter 2 of one of […]

Moving beyond Sproulian Compatibilism

Below are excerpts from R.C. Sproul’s, What Is Free Will? We have seen Edwards’ [1700s] view and Calvin’s view [1500s], so now we’ll go into the Sproulian view of free will by appealing to irony, or to a form of paradox… I would like to make this statement: in my opinion, every choice that we […]

Evidentialism, Testimony & Inferior Witnesses

This post by Steve, formally at Triablogue, resurfaced recently. I’ll interact with three excerpts that were in the spirit of Steve’s eclectic approach to apologetics, which included at least mild affinity to Evidentialism. One thing that’s often lost sight of in debates over the Bible is that testimony is prima facie evidential in its own […]

R.C. Sproul vs The Westminster Divines on the Christian Sabbath

R,C. Sproul cites three so-called “controversies” in church history surrounding the Christian Sabbath. Is the Sabbath obligatory for the New Testament Church? If it is, should the Sabbath continue to be the seventh day of the week, the first day of the week, or is the day of the week up for grabs. Thirdly, Sproul […]

Simplicity, Attributes and Divine Wrath

God is a simple being or he is not. If God is not a simple being, then he is a composite of parts, in which case God’s attributes would be what he has rather than is, making his attributes abstract properties that self-exist without ultimate reference to God. God would be subject to change and […]

5 Point Molinists & Pervasive Confusion

I have been convinced for well over a decade not only that many professing Calvinists are latent Molinists but that most are. Here we find what I believe to be a representative sample of how Calvinists relate free will to the decree of God. The author of the piece earned a Masters in Divinity (minor […]

Untangling God’s 3 Wills (audio)

God often wills that we do not seek his will and in turn we break his will according to his will. RWD That statement is true, properly understood. This class discusses meaty concepts such as: * God’s necessary will * God’s free will * God’s antecedent will * God’s consequent will * God’s will of […]

The Logical-Possible Chasm of Molinism

Consider counterfactual of creaturely freedom (CCF) p: If person S were in state of affairs C, S would freely A. C represents the relevant history of the world prior to S freely doing A. Within Molinism, given C, S always As. Therefore, if God wills S would freely A, God need only actualize S in […]

Libertarian Freedom and Properly Basic Beliefs, an analogy of unlikely bedfellows

It’s interesting that many incompatibilist libertarians subscribe to properly basic beliefs that are formed in us but not strictly by us, which they’d say we are nonetheless morally responsible to live by. But how can such incompatibilists consistently maintain that we can justly be held responsible for such unwilled beliefs if we may not be […]

Libertarian free will, regress or crickets?

Libertarians and Compatibilists can agree that there are two distinct components when choices come to fruition, (a) an intention to act and (b) a specific act that proceeds from an intention. An actual act of the will comes from an intention to make a willed act. Intention to act —> act of the will Without […]

What drives libertarian freedom, moral responsibility or determinism?

What seems to drive Libertarians to their view of freedom is not the reasonableness of pure contingency. It’s seems intuitive that compatibilist freedom provides the sufficient conditions for moral responsibility. I don’t think many libertarians would have looked any further than to those conditions if determinism wasn’t part of the discussion. In other words, if […]

From whence come intentions, and how is compatibilism any better in this regard?

This post aims to address how unchosen intentions can be rational and person-relevant from a compatibilist perspective but not from a libertarian perspective. Even though morally significant intentions are formed within the agent, they are not formed by the agent, being caused from without the agent. Secondly, libertarian freedom would undermine moral accountability. An unhappy […]

Natural Knowledge or Free Knowledge of CCFs?

Natural Knowledge: God’s knowledge of all necessary truths, including all possibilities logically prior to his creative decree. Definition from Divine Foreknowledge Four Views, Edited by Beilby & Eddy, page 211. God knows all possible worlds according to his natural knowledge. Yet many Reformed thinkers tend to extend natural knowledge to the objects of counterfactuals of […]

Assume I’m a Molinist!

Why are these three points insufficient for human responsibility from an Arminian perspective? Assume I were a Molinist asking the question! The possession of certain cognitive capacities that produce different acts given different states of affairs. Dispositional powers, which is to say the power to try to choose x rather than refrain from x or […]

Strict Justice vs Pactum Justice and Union with Christ

Let’s consider afresh the relationship of pactum justice with respect to Adam in the CoW and how that relates to strict justice in redemption. With Adam the reward would’ve been disproportionate to the work. The justice would not have been according to strict justice but rather according to an agreement to over reward Adam, a […]

Improptu Interview on Revealed Apologetics

A fun interview with Eli Ayala including an audience “stump the chump” Q&A. Very impromptu to say the least. I should warn you, I was exhausted and somewhat delirious when interviewed. I probably should not have stepped-in at the last minute, though Eli is too kind to say no to! Truth be told, I was […]

Infallibility & The Canon

Proof for the reception of the canon: Jesus promised to build his church. (Matt. 16:18) Jesus also told his apostles that those who received them received Him. (Matt. 10:40) The implication is that the building project of the Lord was to be founded upon the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus being the chief cornerstone. […]

The Problem of Induction

James Anderson offers a concise synopses of the problem of induction. I recall as a child being struck by the fact that if a monkey were placed at a typewriter, the chimp would eventually type the works of Shakespeare given enough time. Soon after becoming a believer it occurred to me that if the unbeliever […]

Molinist Counterfactual Backfires

Christian compatibilists and incompatibilists agree that man is morally responsible for his choices, and God has exhaustive foreknowledge of the same. Therefore, if man has free will, it must be compatible with God’s exhaustive foreknowledge. “It seems to me much clearer(!)” – and to the rest who desire to make sense of God’s knowledge of […]

Molinism, Dualism and Omniscience

At the heart of Molinism is Middle Knowledge (MK), God’s knowledge of true counterfactuals of creaturely freedom (CCFs) – i.e. God’s knowledge of what creatures would freely do under all sets of circumstances. Now, of course, Augustinians also believe that if there are CCFs, then an omniscient God must have knowledge of them. However, unlike […]

Molinism & The Fixity of CCFs

A necessary truth is one that could not have been false. From an Augustinian perspective, a necessary truth is true in all possible worlds. In other words, from this perspective a necessary truth is true in all worlds that could be actualized. I argue here and more thoroughly here that CCFs (counterfactuals of creaturely freedom) […]

Denial, Pre-commitments and Roman Catholicism

An amusing illustration of interpreting evidence in light of precommitment has to do with a deluded man who thinks he is dead. The doctor tries to persuade the man he is not dead by getting the man to reason according to some other proposition the dead man also believes, such as: dead men don’t bleed. […]

Impassibility, Incarnation and 2 ditches

The impassibility of God pertains to the question of whether God can suffer or be acted upon by any created thing. For God to change would require that God become something other than he is. God would either have to become perfect (at least for a while), fall from perfection and remain imperfect, or vacillate […]

Infant Baptism Defended

Here is a link to a SS class that presents much of the same material. Proof-texting versus Theology It is the hermeneutic of the cults and not that of historic Christianity that seeks merely one or two Bible verses for all true doctrine. This should come as little surprise when we pause to consider that […]

A Robust Depravity – A Return To Calvinism

Total Depravity, as often depicted: In the Reformed tradition, total depravity does not mean utter depravity. We often use the term total as a synonym for utter or for completely, so the notion of total depravity conjures up the idea that every human being is as bad as that person could possibly be… As wicked […]

Incomprehensible Yet Knowable

Although we cannot define God, we can describe God. Our descriptions of God will be proportional to what God desires us to know. Yet being finite, there are of course limits to what we can know of God. With respect to mode or manner, God cannot have us know him as he knows himself. We’d […]

Evidence And The Resurrection

Induction, the basis for all scientific inference, presupposes the uniformity of nature, which is to say it operates under the expectation that the future will be like past. From a Christian perspective, it is ordinary providence that explains how the scientific method is possible. Therefore, to argue for the miracle of the resurrection according to […]

Univocal Of The Analogical (part ii)

When ectypal knowledge obtains, the object of it must be true. If the object is true, then God must believe it (since God believes all truth). God believes it as it truly is, an analogy of the archetypal knowledge, which only God has (knowledge of the archetypal). Assume all our thoughts of God are analogical. […]

John MacArthur’s Lordship Salvation

In this post I addressed the aberrant view that justifying faith is assent alone apart from trusting in Christ. In that post I made a passing reference to another extreme view of faith – the “Lordship Salvation” gospel whose advocates not only define faith without reference to trust, but also add commitment of life to […]

Univocal Of The Analogical

Regarding the Clark / Van Til controversy of the 1940s these points were innocuous. 1. Both sides affirmed a quantitative difference between God’s knowledge and man’s. The disagreement wasn’t so trivial as to pertain to the number of propositions known or how they exhaustively relate to each other. Surely, both sides agreed. God knows more […]

The Second Commandment And Films Depicting Jesus

Many Christians believe that the second commandment has always only been against making an image of God and using it as a worship aid, like Roman Catholicism promotes in practice. (The Eastern Church’s icons are usually up for grabs.) A growing number of Protestants who avoid crucifixes and such will say that the commandment is addressing […]

Assent Alone And The Gospel

Most of the things we assent to, whether a priori or a posteriori, are not volitional. One does not will to believe that God exists any more than one wills to believe the rose is red. These are mental assents that are not discursive; they are immediate and without reflection. The will is bypassed.1 However, the gospel always engages the […]

The Free Offer Of The Gospel

This class addresses the Free Offer. This class addresses the same but in the context of God’s three wills of decree, precept and wisdom. I’d probably recommend this one over the other if only one were to be listened to. WSC Q&A 31:Q. What is effectual calling?A. Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit, […]

Middle Knowledge and Calvinism

Middle Knowledge (MK) is God’s knowledge of all true counterfactuals of creaturely freedom (CCF). As the word middle suggests, this knowledge falls between other types of knowledge. Specifically, MK is situated between God’s natural knowledge, which is God’s knowledge of all necessary truth, and God’s free knowledge, which is (or as I will argue includes) […]

Free Will and Compatibilism, a brief sketch

Discussions on “free will” inevitably lead to analysis of (a) moral responsibility, (b) the limits of metaphysical freedom – from autonomy and pure contingency to necessity and causality, and (c) divine foreknowledge. What is indubitable is that moral agents, when they choose, are morally accountable. Therefore, if determinism is true, then determinism must be compatible […]

Transcendental Arguments, a Primer

Transcendental arguments (TAs) are deductive arguments in that if the premises are true and the form is valid, then the conclusion must be necessarily true. Furthermore, TAs pertain to preconditions for the possibility of the existence of some basic or common experience. That is, TAs put forth necessary precondition(s) without which a generally accepted experience […]

Foundations of Presuppositionalism

“Dave, I’ve never said I could give you 100% proof of Christianity. But I think I’ve given you some very strong evidence – stronger than you have for believing a lot of other things, I’ll bet. But even if those evidences [for Christianity] weren’t that strong, you’d have good reason to commit yourself to Jesus, because […]

Evidence

Can it be proven that Christ is risen? If Harry did not believe the Philadelphia Phillies won the 1980 world series, he would likely change his mind if it could be proven from Baseball Almanac. Similarly, if Harry did not believe Calvin Coolidge was the 30th President of the United States, The Complete Book of […]

Antithesis

Unbelievers require a “neutral” investigation into the claims of Christianity. Unbelievers employ autonomous reasoning, i.e. reasoning from a mindset that does not acknowledge God’s epistemic Lordship over the possibility of human reason itself, without which unbelievers cannot judge whether the Bible should be deemed reliable for its claims let alone authoritative over all of life. […]

Apologetical Foundations

If God is the being that Scripture claims, then man’s knowledge must correspond to God’s knowledge if there is to be any human knowledge at all. Not only must man’s knowledge correspond with God’s, Scripture informs that God makes human knowledge possible. Human knowledge obtains when God enables us to think his thoughts after him […]

Christianity, a Philosophical Worldview

Christianity isn’t an addendum to life, a past time of sorts or hobby that one may pick up for a while only to drop later should life become too busy. Rather, Christianity is a philosophical view of all of life. It’s the web through which a believer interprets God, men and things. In a word, […]