Van Til Tool

Using the Van Til Perspective as the tool to discover what life means and how it ought to be lived.

Friday, May 22, 2009


What Is The "Van Til Tool" ??
By Forrest Wayne Schultz
I was recently asked this question by someone interested in this blog. Here is my answer.

I believe that the best way to answer the question is by providing an example of one of the most recent times I have used it (which you will find here in my entry entitled "A Critique Of The So-Called Emerging Church").

I recently wrote a book review of efforts by a group of scholars to combat ideas that are being propounded by people who are called by such names as "emerging church" or "postmodernists". These scholars, though well intentioned, failed to realize that their opponents were misdefining various terms such as foundation and context, and were consequently imagining a conflict between foundation and context. This is because neither they nor their opponents were starting with God and allowing God to define these terms.

When you start with God and allow Him to define the terms, it is clear that God is His own foundation for Himself as well as being the foundation for His creation; and that He is His own context for Himself as well as being the ultimate context of His creation. That is point no. 1. Point no. 2 is that God is intra-harmonious, i.e. all of His aspects are in harmony with each other, from which we conclude that there is no disharmony between His being the self-foundationalizing ultimate foundation and the self-contextualizing ultimate context, which means that there is no inherent conflict in reality between foundation per se and context per se. So the whole notion of a supposed conflict between foundationalism and contextualism is thoroughly spurious. Now it is true that according to certain conceptions of foundation and context, that there is a conflict between the two. But there is no conflict when God is the one defining the terms.

Now what I just said above is an example of thinking like a vantillian. It is using the Van Til Perspective as a tool to straighten out our thinking about matters like this. There are other factors involved but these are two of the most importan: (1). getting your definitions straight -- do not let your opponent give false definitions to the terms; and (2). starting with God and letting Him define the terms and letting Him show you the perspective in which to look at things. Also, you need to be careful of presuppositions. Find out what the other guy's presuppositions are and whether these presuppositions are true or not. If they are not true, then you must not argue in terms of them, but must show that the preuppositions are false and therefore any system built on them will be false. You cannot argue rightly against an opponent if you do so in terms of his false presuppositions.

Now Van Til was not the only one to see and use these principles. Another thinker who did so was C. S. Lewis. He not only wrote great fiction like his space trilogy and The Chronicles of Narnia, he also wrote some very insightful essays, one of the most important being "God In The Dock". The great majority of Christians do not follow the advice given by Lewis in this essay. Now if God is what He says He is, then He is the Supreme Judge of all matters: He judges us; we do not sit in judgment upon Him. Now what Lewis says has happened is that the modern man has inverted this situation by arrogating to himself the right of supreme judgment so that he ascends up to the judge's seat and pushes God off and puts Him down in the dock and calls Him to account. Now the typical modern christian does not have this perspective on what has happened, so that whenever he sees God being attacked he tries to outargue the men sitting up there on the judgment seat. Anyone who does so is a very poor attorney, because he has failed to proclaim the all-important point that such a court is not a legitimate court -- this humanist court has no jurisdiction over God. If ever a defense attorney finds his client being hauled into a court which has no jurisdiction, he should NOT argue a case in that court because he is thereby granting it a validity it does not have. Rather he should challenge the jurisdiciton of the court. This court has no right to sit in judgment upon God; therefore it is an illegitimate court. But because of the shallow education given by churches today, few realize that the humanists have, as C .S Lewis showed, "put God in the Dock", thereby showing they are conducting an illegitimate court.

OK, that, in a nutshell, is the VTP. I use it as a tool, which is how I got the name for my blog. You need it for sophisticated stuff like challenging false definitions and false presuppositons. You do not need it for refuting simple stuff. (This is why I did not bother refuting the stuff in The Shack. You do not need to be a vantillian to do that; I just quoted from an ordinary christian blog.)

Let me give you one more example and this pertains to the arts. God created everything. In order for Him to do that, He would have to be creative; ergo He is creative. A creative person can be expected to create because He likes creating. So there is the reason why God created. There is mystery in HOW God creates, but no mystery as to WHY God creates. A creative person likes to create and does create. Now there have been many philosphers and theologians who have actually regarded it as a PROBLEM that God creates!! Can you imagine that?? They really have -- no joke. Some of them have gone so far as to create two gods or two levels of god -- the deus revelatus (revealed god) and the deus absconditus (the hidden god). The reason for this is that they have a FALSE concept of God's nature!! They think that God's NATURE is NON-PERSONAL, i.,e. that God is an ideal or a realm of laws or principles or ideas. They get this idea from thinkers like Plato and Aristotle. Such a god DOES NOT and CAN NOT create. In fact, Plato's god and Aristotles's god do not do anything -- Aristotle actually says that production would be unworthy of god!! Anyway, what a lot of christian thinkers have done is to suppose that God has an impersonal nature, which makes it impossible for him to do the works the Bible attributes to Him. So, they have this conflict between the nature of God and the works of God. The answer is easy -- their conception of the nature of God is false. God is a person, and persons do things. God is creative, so this is why He does creative things. He has a great imagination and loves variety, which is why there is so much sophistication and variety in nature. He loves beauty, so He made nature beautiful. He is interesting, which is why there is so much interesting stuff in science and in history.

There are some people who think I am real smart. I am not. I have the RIGHT TOOL !! Unfortunately, today few people receive this tool in their education. Anybody who has it can see thru false stuff, not because they are smart but because they are using the right tool. By the way, this is really not anything new. Irenaeus know it in the second century A.D. which accounts for his success. He knew what straight thinking was. In fact, the original meaning of the term orthodoxy (which he coined) meant "straight thinking" -- it was an objective term which did not mean what it does now, i.e. what a church decided to believe. (See my review here of Pagels book). But in the third and fourth century the church turned away from Irenaeus and started following Origen, who tried to synthesize christianity with Plato. We have yet to fully recover from that result, that platonoid theology.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Below is what I regard as:


Please read and meditate on this. A lot of people today do not know about this because it was adopted 30 years ago. It is more relevant now than it was then because of the confusion in so many churches today, including those regarding themselves as "Reformed".



Bible Research > Interpretation > Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy
Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy with Exposition
The "Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy" was produced at an international Summit Conference of evangelical leaders, held at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Chicago in the fall of 1978. This congress was sponsored by the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy. The Chicago Statement was signed by nearly 300 noted evangelical scholars, including James Boice, Norman L. Geisler, John Gerstner, Carl F. H. Henry, Kenneth Kantzer, Harold Lindsell, John Warwick Montgomery, Roger Nicole, J. I. Packer, Robert Preus, Earl Radmacher, Francis Schaeffer, R. C. Sproul, and John Wenham.
The ICBI disbanded in 1988 after producing three major statements: one on biblical inerrancy in 1978, one on biblical hermeneutics in 1982, and one on biblical application in 1986. The following text, containing the "Preface" by the ICBI draft committee, plus the "Short Statement," "Articles of Affirmation and Denial," and an accompanying "Exposition," was published in toto by Carl F. H. Henry in God, Revelation And Authority, vol. 4 (Waco, Tx.: Word Books, 1979), on pp. 211-219. The nineteen Articles of Affirmation and Denial, with a brief introduction, also appear in A General Introduction to the Bible, by Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix (Chicago: Moody Press, rev. 1986), at pp. 181-185. An official commentary on these articles was written by R. C. Sproul in Explaining Inerrancy: A Commentary (Oakland, Calif.: ICBI, 1980), and Norman Geisler edited the major addresses from the 1978 conference, in Inerrancy (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1980).
Clarification of some of the language used in this Statement may be found in the 1982 Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics
The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy
The authority of Scripture is a key issue for the Christian church in this and every age. Those who profess faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are called to show the reality of their discipleship by humbly and faithfully obeying God's written Word. To stray from Scripture in faith or conduct is disloyalty to our Master. Recognition of the total truth and trustworthiness of Holy Scripture is essential to a full grasp and adequate confession of its authority.
The following Statement affirms this inerrancy of Scripture afresh, making clear our understanding of it and warning against its denial. We are persuaded that to deny it is to set aside the witness of Jesus Christ and of the Holy Spirit and to refuse that submission to the claims of God's own Word which marks true Christian faith. We see it as our timely duty to make this affirmation in the face of current lapses from the truth of inerrancy among our fellow Christians and misunderstandings of this doctrine in the world at large.
This Statement consists of three parts: a Summary Statement, Articles of Affirmation and Denial, and an accompanying Exposition. It has been prepared in the course of a three-day consultation in Chicago. Those who have signed the Summary Statement and the Articles wish to affirm their own conviction as to the inerrancy of Scripture and to encourage and challenge one another and all Christians to growing appreciation and understanding of this doctrine. We acknowledge the limitations of a document prepared in a brief, intensive conference and do not propose that this Statement be given creedal weight. Yet we rejoice in the deepening of our own convictions through our discussions together, and we pray that the Statement we have signed may be used to the glory of our God toward a new reformation of the Church in its faith, life, and mission.
We offer this Statement in a spirit, not of contention, but of humility and love, which we purpose by God's grace to maintain in any future dialogue arising out of what we have said. We gladly acknowledge that many who deny the inerrancy of Scripture do not display the consequences of this denial in the rest of their belief and behavior, and we are conscious that we who confess this doctrine often deny it in life by failing to bring our thoughts and deeds, our traditions and habits, into true subjection to the divine Word.
We invite response to this statement from any who see reason to amend its affirmations about Scripture by the light of Scripture itself, under whose infallible authority we stand as we speak. We claim no personal infallibility for the witness we bear, and for any help which enables us to strengthen this testimony to God's Word we shall be grateful.
— The Draft Committee
A Short Statement
1. God, who is Himself Truth and speaks truth only, has inspired Holy Scripture in order thereby to reveal Himself to lost mankind through Jesus Christ as Creator and Lord, Redeemer and Judge. Holy Scripture is God's witness to Himself.
2. Holy Scripture, being God's own Word, written by men prepared and superintended by His Spirit, is of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches: it is to be believed, as God's instruction, in all that it affirms: obeyed, as God's command, in all that it requires; embraced, as God's pledge, in all that it promises.
3. The Holy Spirit, Scripture's divine Author, both authenticates it to us by His inward witness and opens our minds to understand its meaning.
4. Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God's acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God's saving grace in individual lives.
5. The authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired if this total divine inerrancy is in any way limited or disregarded, or made relative to a view of truth contrary to the Bible's own; and such lapses bring serious loss to both the individual and the Church.
Articles of Affirmation and Denial
Article I.
WE AFFIRM that the Holy Scriptures are to be received as the authoritative Word of God.
WE DENY that the Scriptures receive their authority from the Church, tradition, or any other human source.
Article II.
WE AFFIRM that the Scriptures are the supreme written norm by which God binds the conscience, and that the authority of the Church is subordinate to that of Scripture.
WE DENY that Church creeds, councils, or declarations have authority greater than or equal to the authority of the Bible.
Article III.
WE AFFIRM that the written Word in its entirety is revelation given by God.
WE DENY that the Bible is merely a witness to revelation, or only becomes revelation in encounter, or depends on the responses of men for its validity.
Article IV.
WE AFFIRM that God who made mankind in His image has used language as a means of revelation.
WE DENY that human language is so limited by our creatureliness that it is rendered inadequate as a vehicle for divine revelation. We further deny that the corruption of human culture and language through sin has thwarted God's work of inspiration.
Article V.
WE AFFIRM that God's revelation within the Holy Scriptures was progressive.
WE DENY that later revelation, which may fulfill earlier revelation, ever corrects or contradicts it. We further deny that any normative revelation has been given since the completion of the New Testament writings.
Article VI.
WE AFFIRM that the whole of Scripture and all its parts, down to the very words of the original, were given by divine inspiration.
WE DENY that the inspiration of Scripture can rightly be affirmed of the whole without the parts, or of some parts but not the whole.
Article VII.
WE AFFIRM that inspiration was the work in which God by His Spirit, through human writers, gave us His Word. The origin of Scripture is divine. The mode of divine inspiration remains largely a mystery to us.
WE DENY that inspiration can be reduced to human insight, or to heightened states of consciousness of any kind.
Article VIII.
WE AFFIRM that God in His work of inspiration utilized the distinctive personalities and literary styles of the writers whom He had chosen and prepared.
WE DENY that God, in causing these writers to use the very words that He chose, overrode their personalities.
Article IX.
WE AFFIRM that inspiration, though not conferring omniscience, guaranteed true and trustworthy utterance on all matters of which the Biblical authors were moved to speak and write.
WE DENY that the finitude or fallenness of these writers, by necessity or otherwise, introduced distortion or falsehood into God's Word.
Article X.
WE AFFIRM that inspiration, strictly speaking, applies only to the autographic text of Scripture, which in the providence of God can be ascertained from available manuscripts with great accuracy. We further affirm that copies and translations of Scripture are the Word of God to the extent that they faithfully represent the original.
WE DENY that any essential element of the Christian faith is affected by the absence of the autographs. We further deny that this absence renders the assertion of Biblical inerrancy invalid or irrelevant.
Article XI.
WE AFFIRM that Scripture, having been given by divine inspiration, is infallible, so that, far from misleading us, it is true and reliable in all the matters it addresses.
WE DENY that it is possible for the Bible to be at the same time infallible and errant in its assertions. Infallibility and inerrancy may be distinguished, but not separated.
Article XII.
WE AFFIRM that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit.
WE DENY that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science. We further deny that scientific hypotheses about earth history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood.
Article XIII.
WE AFFIRM the propriety of using inerrancy as a theological term with reference to the complete truthfulness of Scripture.
WE DENY that it is proper to evaluate Scripture according to standards of truth and error that are alien to its usage or purpose. We further deny that inerrancy is negated by Biblical phenomena such as a lack of modern technical precision, irregularities of grammar or spelling, observational descriptions of nature, the reporting of falsehoods, the use of hyperbole and round numbers, the topical arrangement of material, variant selections of material in parallel accounts, or the use of free citations.
Article XIV.
WE AFFIRM the unity and internal consistency of Scripture.
WE DENY that alleged errors and discrepancies that have not yet been resolved vitiate the truth claims of the Bible.
Article XV.
WE AFFIRM that the doctrine of inerrancy is grounded in the teaching of the Bible about inspiration.
WE DENY that Jesus' teaching about Scripture may be dismissed by appeals to accommodation or to any natural limitation of His humanity.
Article XVI.
WE AFFIRM that the doctrine of inerrancy has been integral to the Church's faith throughout its history.
WE DENY that inerrancy is a doctrine invented by scholastic Protestantism, or is a reactionary position postulated in response to negative higher criticism.
Article XVII.
WE AFFIRM that the Holy Spirit bears witness to the Scriptures, assuring believers of the truthfulness of God's written Word.
WE DENY that this witness of the Holy Spirit operates in isolation from or against Scripture.
Article XVIII.
WE AFFIRM that the text of Scripture is to be interpreted by grammatico-historical exegesis, taking account of its literary forms and devices, and that Scripture is to interpret Scripture.
WE DENY the legitimacy of any treatment of the text or quest for sources lying behind it that leads to relativizing, dehistoricizing, or discounting its teaching, or rejecting its claims to authorship.
Article XIX.
WE AFFIRM that a confession of the full authority, infallibility, and inerrancy of Scripture is vital to a sound understanding of the whole of the Christian faith. We further affirm that such confession should lead to increasing conformity to the image of Christ.
WE DENY that such confession is necessary for salvation. However, we further deny that inerrancy can be rejected without grave consequences, both to the individual and to the Church.
Our understanding of the doctrine of inerrancy must be set in the context of the broader teachings of the Scripture concerning itself. This exposition gives an account of the outline of doctrine from which our summary statement and articles are drawn.
Creation, Revelation and Inspiration
The Triune God, who formed all things by his creative utterances and governs all things by His Word of decree, made mankind in His own image for a life of communion with Himself, on the model of the eternal fellowship of loving communication within the Godhead. As God's image-bearer, man was to hear God's Word addressed to him and to respond in the joy of adoring obedience. Over and above God's self-disclosure in the created order and the sequence of events within it, human beings from Adam on have received verbal messages from Him, either directly, as stated in Scripture, or indirectly in the form of part or all of Scripture itself.
When Adam fell, the Creator did not abandon mankind to final judgment but promised salvation and began to reveal Himself as Redeemer in a sequence of historical events centering on Abraham's family and culminating in the life, death, resurrection, present heavenly ministry, and promised return of Jesus Christ. Within this frame God has from time to time spoken specific words of judgment and mercy, promise and command, to sinful human beings so drawing them into a covenant relation of mutual commitment between Him and them in which He blesses them with gifts of grace and they bless Him in responsive adoration. Moses, whom God used as mediator to carry His words to His people at the time of the Exodus, stands at the head of a long line of prophets in whose mouths and writings God put His words for delivery to Israel. God's purpose in this succession of messages was to maintain His covenant by causing His people to know His Name—that is, His nature—and His will both of precept and purpose in the present and for the future. This line of prophetic spokesmen from God came to completion in Jesus Christ, God's incarnate Word, who was Himself a prophet—more than a prophet, but not less—and in the apostles and prophets of the first Christian generation. When God's final and climactic message, His word to the world concerning Jesus Christ, had been spoken and elucidated by those in the apostolic circle, the sequence of revealed messages ceased. Henceforth the Church was to live and know God by what He had already said, and said for all time.
At Sinai God wrote the terms of His covenant on tables of stone, as His enduring witness and for lasting accessibility, and throughout the period of prophetic and apostolic revelation He prompted men to write the messages given to and through them, along with celebratory records of His dealings with His people, plus moral reflections on covenant life and forms of praise and prayer for covenant mercy. The theological reality of inspiration in the producing of Biblical documents corresponds to that of spoken prophecies: although the human writers' personalities were expressed in what they wrote, the words were divinely constituted. Thus, what Scripture says, God says; its authority is His authority, for He is its ultimate Author, having given it through the minds and words of chosen and prepared men who in freedom and faithfulness "spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit" (1 Pet. 1:21). Holy Scripture must be acknowledged as the Word of God by virtue of its divine origin.
Authority: Christ and the Bible
Jesus Christ, the Son of God who is the Word made flesh, our Prophet, Priest, and King, is the ultimate Mediator of God's communication to man, as He is of all God's gifts of grace. The revelation He gave was more than verbal; He revealed the Father by His presence and His deeds as well. Yet His words were crucially important; for He was God, He spoke from the Father, and His words will judge all men at the last day.
As the prophesied Messiah, Jesus Christ is the central theme of Scripture. The Old Testament looked ahead to Him; the New Testament looks back to His first coming and on to His second. Canonical Scripture is the divinely inspired and therefore normative witness to Christ. No hermeneutic, therefore, of which the historical Christ is not the focal point is acceptable. Holy Scripture must be treated as what it essentially is—the witness of the Father to the Incarnate Son.
It appears that the Old Testament canon had been fixed by the time of Jesus. The New Testament canon is likewise now closed inasmuch as no new apostolic witness to the historical Christ can now be borne. No new revelation (as distinct from Spirit-given understanding of existing revelation) will be given until Christ comes again. The canon was created in principle by divine inspiration. The Church's part was to discern the canon which God had created, not to devise one of its own.
The word canon, signifying a rule or standard, is a pointer to authority, which means the right to rule and control. Authority in Christianity belongs to God in His revelation, which means, on the one hand, Jesus Christ, the living Word, and, on the other hand, Holy Scripture, the written Word. But the authority of Christ and that of Scripture are one. As our Prophet, Christ testified that Scripture cannot be broken. As our Priest and King, He devoted His earthly life to fulfilling the law and the prophets, even dying in obedience to the words of Messianic prophecy. Thus, as He saw Scripture attesting Him and His authority, so by His own submission to Scripture He attested its authority. As He bowed to His Father's instruction given in His Bible (our Old Testament), so He requires His disciples to do—not, however, in isolation but in conjunction with the apostolic witness to Himself which He undertook to inspire by His gift of the Holy Spirit. So Christians show themselves faithful servants of their Lord by bowing to the divine instruction given in the prophetic and apostolic writings which together make up our Bible.
By authenticating each other's authority, Christ and Scripture coalesce into a single fount of authority. The Biblically-interpreted Christ and the Christ-centered, Christ-proclaiming Bible are from this standpoint one. As from the fact of inspiration we infer that what Scripture says, God says, so from the revealed relation between Jesus Christ and Scripture we may equally declare that what Scripture says, Christ says.
Infallibility, Inerrancy, Interpretation
Holy Scripture, as the inspired Word of God witnessing authoritatively to Jesus Christ, may properly be called infallible and inerrant. These negative terms have a special value, for they explicitly safeguard crucial positive truths.
lnfallible signifies the quality of neither misleading nor being misled and so safeguards in categorical terms the truth that Holy Scripture is a sure, safe, and reliable rule and guide in all matters.
Similarly, inerrant signifies the quality of being free from all falsehood or mistake and so safeguards the truth that Holy Scripture is entirely true and trustworthy in all its assertions.
We affirm that canonical Scripture should always be interpreted on the basis that it is infallible and inerrant. However, in determining what the God-taught writer is asserting in each passage, we must pay the most careful attention to its claims and character as a human production. In inspiration, God utilized the culture and conventions of His penman's milieu, a milieu that God controls in His sovereign providence; it is misinterpretation to imagine otherwise.
So history must be treated as history, poetry as poetry, hyperbole and metaphor as hyperbole and metaphor, generalization and approximation as what they are, and so forth. Differences between literary conventions in Bible times and in ours must also be observed: since, for instance, non-chronological narration and imprecise citation were conventional and acceptable and violated no expectations in those days, we must not regard these things as faults when we find them in Bible writers. When total precision of a particular kind was not expected nor aimed at, it is no error not to have achieved it. Scripture is inerrant, not in the sense of being absolutely precise by modern standards, but in the sense of making good its claims and achieving that measure of focused truth at which its authors aimed.
The truthfulness of Scripture is not negated by the appearance in it of irregularities of grammar or spelling, phenomenal descriptions of nature, reports of false statements (e.g., the lies of Satan), or seeming discrepancies between one passage and another. It is not right to set the so-called "phenomena" of Scripture against the teaching of Scripture about itself. Apparent inconsistencies should not be ignored. Solution of them, where this can be convincingly achieved, will encourage our faith, and where for the present no convincing solution is at hand we shall significantly honor God by trusting His assurance that His Word is true, despite these appearances, and by maintaining our confidence that one day they will be seen to have been illusions.
Inasmuch as all Scripture is the product of a single divine mind, interpretation must stay within the bounds of the analogy of Scripture and eschew hypotheses that would correct one Biblical passage by another, whether in the name of progressive revelation or of the imperfect enlightenment of the inspired writer's mind.
Although Holy Scripture is nowhere culture-bound in the sense that its teaching lacks universal validity, it is sometimes culturally conditioned by the customs and conventional views of a particular period, so that the application of its principles today calls for a different sort of action.
Skepticism and Criticism
Since the Renaissance, and more particularly since the Enlightenment, world-views have been developed which involve skepticism about basic Christian tenets. Such are the agnosticism which denies that God is knowable, the rationalism which denies that He is incomprehensible, the idealism which denies that He is transcendent, and the existentialism which denies rationality in His relationships with us. When these un- and anti-biblical principles seep into men's theologies at [a] presuppositional level, as today they frequently do, faithful interpretation of Holy Scripture becomes impossible.
Transmission and Translation
Since God has nowhere promised an inerrant transmission of Scripture, it is necessary to affirm that only the autographic text of the original documents was inspired and to maintain the need of textual criticism as a means of detecting any slips that may have crept into the text in the course of its transmission. The verdict of this science, however, is that the Hebrew and Greek text appear to be amazingly well preserved, so that we are amply justified in affirming, with the Westminster Confession, a singular providence of God in this matter and in declaring that the authority of Scripture is in no way jeopardized by the fact that the copies we possess are not entirely error-free.
Similarly, no translation is or can be perfect, and all translations are an additional step away from the autographa. Yet the verdict of linguistic science is that English-speaking Christians, at least, are exceedingly well served in these days with a host of excellent translations and have no cause for hesitating to conclude that the true Word of God is within their reach. Indeed, in view of the frequent repetition in Scripture of the main matters with which it deals and also of the Holy Spirit's constant witness to and through the Word, no serious translation of Holy Scripture will so destroy its meaning as to render it unable to make its reader "wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 3:15).
Inerrancy and Authority
In our affirmation of the authority of Scripture as involving its total truth, we are consciously standing with Christ and His apostles, indeed with the whole Bible and with the main stream of Church history from the first days until very recently. We are concerned at the casual, inadvertent, and seemingly thoughtless way in which a belief of such far-reaching importance has been given up by so many in our day.
We are conscious too that great and grave confusion results from ceasing to maintain the total truth of the Bible whose authority one professes to acknowledge. The result of taking this step is that the Bible which God gave loses its authority, and what has authority instead is a Bible reduced in content according to the demands of one's critical reasonings and in principle reducible still further once one has started. This means that at bottom independent reason now has authority, as opposed to Scriptural teaching. If this is not seen and if for the time being basic evangelical doctrines are still held, persons denying the full truth of Scripture may claim an evangelical identity while methodologically they have moved away from the evangelical principle of knowledge to an unstable subjectivism, and will find it hard not to move further.
We affirm that what Scripture says, God says. May He be glorified. Amen and Amen.
Bible Research > Interpretation > Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy

Wednesday, May 06, 2009




Veith is one of my favorite thinkers. Here is his latest.


A kinder, gentler Marxism

The worldview of the "Social Democracy" America is heading toward

by Gene Edward Veith

Barack Obama is not a socialist, explained Eric Etheredge of The New York Times. He is a "social democrat." The administration' s attempt to control private companies and the free market should not alarm us, according to Etheredge and other pundits. European nations do this all the time. It is simply an application of the European political and economic theory known as "social democracy."

If social democracy is America's new governmental principle, we should know a little about it. To avoid biased spins and inflammatory rhetoric, let us consult basic, objective sources such as dictionaries and encyclopedias.

Here is the definition of "social democracy" from Merriam-Webster' s online dictionary: "1 : a political movement advocating a gradual and peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism by democratic means 2 : a democratic welfare state that incorporates both capitalist and socialist practices."

So this political and economic system either moves from capitalism to socialism or incorporates both capitalism and socialism at the same time, so as to form a welfare state.
We need to know more. Here is the first paragraph of the entry for "social democracy" in The Encyclopedia Britannica: "A political ideology that advocates a peaceful, evolutionary transition of society from capitalism to socialism using established political processes. Based on 19th-century socialism and the tenets of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, social democracy shares common ideological roots with communism but eschews its militancy and totalitarianism. Social democracy was originally known as revisionism because it represented a change in basic Marxist doctrine, primarily in the former's repudiation of the use of revolution to establish a socialist society."

The article goes on to chronicle the development of this theory, which was crystallized by the German Marxist Eduard Bernstein in an 1899 essay titled "Evolutionary Socialism." He noted that the horrible conditions for workers that characterized the early stages of the industrial revolution had, in fact, improved greatly. "Whereas Marx had declared that the subjugation of the working class would inevitably culminate in socialist revolution," says the article, "Bernstein argued that success for socialism depended not on the continued and intensifying misery of the working class but rather on eliminating that misery. He further noted that social conditions were improving and that with universal suffrage the working class could establish socialism by electing socialist representatives. "

After World War II, social democratic political parties arose throughout Europe, including Great Britain's Labour Party, often forming governments in Germany and becoming dominant in Scandinavia. "In addition to abandoning violence and revolution as tools of social change," continues the encyclopedia, "social democracy took a stand in opposition to totalitarianism. The Marxist view of democracy as a 'bourgeois' façade for class rule was abandoned, and democracy was proclaimed essential for socialist ideals. Increasingly, social democracy adopted the goal of state regulation, but not state ownership, of business and industry as sufficient to further economic growth and equitable income."

So "social democracy" is a variety of Marxism that rejects revolution in favor of democracy and that preserves certain elements of capitalism, though under strict state control.
Social democrats are not communists, but their Marxism is evident in their belief in class struggle. Thus the vilification of "the rich" over against "working Americans." Also Marxist is the project of redistributing wealth, the use of state power to seize control of private property, and the overarching secularism that rejects the past in favor of a materialistic progress.

When Americans cast their votes for Barack Obama and a Democratic Congress, did they also intend their country to adopt this kinder and gentler form of Marxism?

If we are going to change our entire economic system and our entire philosophy of government, shouldn't we at least think this through? This would surely be a good topic for a congressional hearing. If we are going to throw out the traditional American model of a limited government in favor of a social democracy, we should hold a constitutional convention to come up with a different founding document.

Instead, we are embracing social democracy without questioning the Marxist worldview and without even realizing what we are doing.