Van Til Tool

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

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Personal Nature of the Truth in The Four Gospels
And What Remains To Be Done in Studying The Gospels
October 18, 2012
A review of
Vern Poythress Inerrancy and the Gospels (Crossway, 2012)
$17.99 240 pp ISBN-10: 1433528606 ISBN-13: 978-1433528606
Reviewer: Forrest W. Schultz
In my review of the book by Poythress published earlier this year -- Inerrancy and Worldwview -- I noted his (rightful) stress upon the personal nature of truth due to its being truth about a person, God, and His creation. This all important principle is also stressed and wisely applied in his current book in reference to the Four Gospels. As would be expected, he regards his main task as demonstrating the "harmony" of the Gospels and as refuting those critics who use the differences among the Gospel accounts as a basis for launching an attack upon Scripture's inerrancy. As the plaudits on and in the book note, he has succeeded in this task and done so better than anyone else, for which he deserves a "well done".
However, there is another, and much more difficult as well as much more important task remaining to be done, and I hereby challenge Poythress to employ his skills and knowledge in accomplishing this one. This is the task of determining precisely what is the theme of each of the Four Gospels. Which facet of Christ is emphasized in each of them? So far, the best attempt to answer this which I am aware of is Arthur W. Pink's Why Four Gospels?. And I believe that Pink's interpretation of Rev 4:21 is correct, which is interesting, because in his account the four pictures are in the same sequence as the Four Gospels -- the Lion means Christ as King, the topic of Matthew; the Ox means Christ as Servant, the depiction in Mark; the Man is Christ as Second Adam, which is Luke's emphasis; and the Eagle symbolizes Christ as God, John's theme. Also, Pink notes how the Gospel writers are appropriate for these respective portrayals (which follows the literary principle that a writer should write what he knows). Matthew, as a public official (tax collector), is appropriate to write about Christ as King (a public official); Mark, not an apostle but the servant of an apostle is appropriate to write aboout Christ as Servant; Luke as a Gentile was appropriate for his task, and John, the deepest of the apostles, was appropriate to write about Christ's Deity. Irenaeus was the first one to realize that there were four (and ONLY four) Gospels, and that these together functioned to produce what he called "the Four-Formed Gospel". The relationship of unity and diversity here also is an important part of this suggested study.

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