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Interaction with Dr. Kenneth Talbot on Refuting the Heresy of Hyperpreterism
What follows is an interaction with Dr. Kenneth Talbot, president of Whitefield Theological Seminary concerning methods of refuting the heresy of hyperpreterism. This interaction originally began on a website called Theology Explained. Actually, it was never supposed to be an interaction, but merely a "position paper" stating my position. Dr. Talbot responded to it in "debate" fashion which is apparently against the rules since the site administrator closed down the thread and stated the site is not a debate site. The problem is, whether the administrator closed the thread after my response or Dr. Talbot's response -- it would be unfair to either. So, instead of playing that game, I have moved the entire interaction to MY OWN site where I can allow the interaction to continue as long as it will. I won't close down comments AFTER they have begun.
As my site does NOT require a person to sign up to post comments, Dr. Talbot is welcome to continue his interaction. Either way, I will be forcefully responding to the many false charges Dr. Talbot has put forth.
NOTE: The links to the site TheologyExplained where this debate originally occurred are now broken as that site administrator apparently deleted the debate to protect Dr. Talbot from himself.
The Reformed Response to Heresy
The accusation against Reformed apologetics concerning heresy is that the Reformed must be hypocritical when they point to some belief as being heretical. The accusation stems from the fact that the Reformed had to break away from what at the time was considered "The Church" -- Roman Catholicism. Thus, any time a Reformed person or group calls another person or group, "heretical", the claim is that the Reformed are forgetting or ignoring their own beginnings as a supposed "heretical" group.
Perhaps at this point, it is important to define what is meant by "heresy". Heresy is not merely something we don't like, or something out of line with our denominational stance, or even something that appears to go against the accepted teaching. Heresy according to the Bible is best defined in Romans 16:17-18 wherein we read:
Notice that the division/schism and offenses are caused when a person comes teaching contrary doctrine. So, the issue would be what is meant by "contrary to the doctrine which you learned"?
Was the doctrine that the Reformers taught "contrary"? It was certainly contrary to much of Roman Catholic doctrine but was it contrary to the totality of Christian doctrine, as was "learned" from the very beginning? You see, a very important element to any discussion about heresy is first a discussion of God's sovereignty. Has God guided His followers, as a group to understand, believe, and teach the basics with accuracy? Or has God been either unable or unwilling to maintain the most basic truth within His community? If God has been unable or unwilling to maintain the most basic truth within the community of saints, then we are prone to fall into all manner of heresy...and never even realize it.
However, if we believe God has maintained basic truth -- sending Christ, the hand-picked apostles, and the Holy Spirit to effectively teach and guide, then our next question would be, what are those basics? It is here where we begin to see the importance of knowing and understanding how the Church throughout its history has interpreted texts. We are NOT simply saying the majority interpretation is the correct interpretation, as majorities often change.
When Martin Luther and the other Reformers appealed to Scripture, they ALSO appealed to the fact that the bulk of Christian interpretation was on their side. Yes, they did point out that popes and councils had contradicted one another throughout history, but the Reformers did not mean to imply that we should then chuck all of historic Christian interpretation and start over. Rather, the Reformers appealed to the fact that they were actually upholding the continuity of historic Christian interpretation where Roman Catholicism had abandoned it. This is the reason the Reformers could immediately pen confessions showing their agreement with Scripture AND the continuity of historic Christian interpretation.
This brings us to the title of this article -- The Reformed Response to Heresy. When Reformed declare something heresy, they must be careful, as all Christians should. Heresies have been and continue to be born sometimes out of nothing but the "Bible alone" -- that is, some heresies have appealed to nothing else but the Bible. This doesn't mean we stop using exegesis to refute heresies, but that we keep in mind, most heresies are first and foremost, propositional errors. They propose something completely out of sync with historic Christian interpretation whether using the Bible to support it or not. Thus, our first question to determine if something is a heresy or not is, does it have the support of historic Christian interpretation or it is something completely foreign to all of historic Christian interpretation?
The Reformed Response to heresy should be one fought first on the propositional level and then on the exegetical level. Parsing individual Scripture texts with someone who is proposing something that is outside any historic Christian interpretation is actually counter to the Reformed concept of God's sovereignty. To give legitimacy, by interacting solely exegetically to a proposition outside of all historic Christian interpretation, implies that God has NOT maintained the most basic truth within the community of saints and that at any moment some person may come up with some unknown or overlooked doctrine not clearly taught by Jesus, the hand-picked apostles, or the Holy Spirit.
In conclusion, while we as Reformed Christians may want to immediately take up the sword and shield of exegesis, let us not forget that all claims are first and foremost propositional/presuppositional before they are evidential/exegetical. If we forget this, we will spend countless hours unwittingly giving legitimacy to a heretical proposition just so that it may pretend to "exegete" some text when in actuality it would merely be applying a private and discontinuity interpretation to the text.
DR. TALBOT'S FIRST RESPONSE:
What do you mean when you say we must begin with "propositions?" Which propositions? Exegetical, historical, theological? Your statement makes no sense on this. All statements are propositional. You can choose any category you would like and once you put pen to paper (words to speech, or typing on a computer) you are doing propositions. How you are using the term is meaningless in this context because every argument is propositional. So could you please (1) define what you mean by proposition? (2) Explain how you are using it in this context? (3) What Reformer made such an argument. I am getting ready to post a rather long article on Calvin's theological method that deals with his doctrine of Scripture as it relates to its epistemological quest as first principles in theology or apologetics. I will be showing that Calvin, the Westminster Divines, Clark, Van Til, Bahnsen, Frame, etc, held to the same first principles, as did all who follow Calvin. They differed only after establishing their axiom. The difference relates to the philosophical question of "what" verse "that."
I thank you for you clarification in advance.
Dr. Kenneth Talbot
Thank you Dr. Talbot for asking the questions. Yes, you are correct -- ALL STATEMENTS ARE PROPOSITIONAL -- that is exactly the point and why I like to deal first and foremost with the proposition of an argument BEFORE I get into the so-called "evidence/exegesis". The overarching proposition of historic Christianity is that God is sovereign, in complete control. God has planned and decreed things, not just let them haphazardly unfold for anyone to take up. This is the proposition of almost every Reformer. Do I need to name and cite?
Heretics on the other hand, whether they admit it or not, MUST start with a God who is not sovereign. A God who has not maintained basic truth among the community of saints. Where at any moment a person like Muhammad, Joseph Smith jr., Charles Taze Russell, L. Ron Hubbard, or Max King and such can come along and claim they read the Bible and determined some "new" teaching, which at later time they begin to add "implied" doctrines and perhaps even personally revealed doctrines from whatever source.
Historic Christianity is a community that advocates that it has been guided by the initial teachings of Christ Jesus, the teachings of His hand-picked, inspired apostles, the abiding guidance of the Holy Spirit, all in unity, all sourcing Scripture as the definitive line., yet seeing a God who holds this all together.
Thank you for asking for clarification.
DR. TALBOT'S SECOND RESPONSE
Thank for attempting to answer the question. But you have only added to the confusion.
Roderick stated: "You are correct - all statements are propositional - that is exactly the point and why I like to deal first and foremost with the proposition of an argument before I get into the so-called "evidence/exegesis."
Dr. Talbot Response: What do you mean by "I like to deal first and foremost with the proposition of an argument." What method does that invoke? Why would not that method include the "exegesis" which is also propositional, and if, it is a part of the argument of your opponent, your previous statement would require you to do what you say you would prefer not to do? This is irrational because you cannot actually avoid the necessary logical implications. Further, why is the propositions of Scripture considered secondary rather than primary? That is a Roman Catholic type argument. How do you prioritize these propositions? I will accept categories, but definitive explanations of how such an arbitrary choice is made is expected. I chose the the "propositions" of the Bible because God says that I must believe His Word. Why do you choose other non-biblical propositions?
Roderick states: "The overarching proposition of historic Christianity is that God is sovereign, in complete control. God has planned and decreed things, not just let them haphazardly unfold for anyone to take up. This is the proposition of almost every Reformer. Do I need to name and cite?"
Dr. Talbot response: Yes give me names and citations, but not from wiki please. Just remember, I am about to post a very larger paper on the Doctrine of Scripture which explicates Calvin's view, with multiple Calvinian scholars who support my interpretation (Reformed, Evangelical, and even some Liberal. Yes, some liberals are still interested in Calvin's teachings, but on this principle they are all agreed), so before you quote something, be sure it is contextually true or it might result in an public embarrassment for you. And just so you know - listen carefully - this proposition "the sovereignty of God" is not the first principle for the sourcing of Calvin's theological method, nor Clark, Van Til, Frame, Bahnsen, Gentry, not to mention the Puritans. I do not doubt that they say God is sovereign, but they say it because they have derived that truth from the Bible, by exegetical and hermeneutical interpretation. It is a proposition and a very good one because the Bible say it is, but you have been saying that it is the first principle of Reformed theology and I believe you are absolutely wrong! Not every proposition is necessarily true. Some could be false. What is the standard by which you would judge such a proposition "God is Sovereign?" The Mohammedans believe that their God is sovereign. Now here are two "truth claims," both are logically consistent arguments (they have to be because they are too minimal to be otherwise). The Mohammedans say "Ali (god) is Sovereign. He is completely in control of an orderly universe." The Christian says "Jehovah (God) is Sovereign. He is completely in control of an orderly universe." Elucidate for me how your 'overarching' proposition can discern the difference between these two propositions? Now remember, your proposition is "God is sovereign." That is the underlying principium of your theological method which you argue as being the first principles for 'historic and Reformed Christianity.' That statement alone is a logical fallacy sense it is universal in nature and would require that everyone hold to this "God is sovereign" first principle. Further, I know Reformers who following the "classical line of apologetics" who would absolutely disagree with you. So both statements are going to be false, because I only have to find "1" who says other wise and you have been proven to have made a false claim.
Roderick states: "Heretics on the other hand, whether they admit it or not, MUST start with a God who is not sovereign. A God who has not maintained basic truth among the community of saints."
Dr. Talbot states: Roderick, you have only stated that "God is sovereign," you have not defined what "sovereignty means. Arminians believe in the sovereignty of God, but their definition and my differ. Why is my definition better than theirs? Why is your definition, which you have not given, better than theirs? Why is your definition of "sovereignty" better than the Mohammedans? What is your "authority?" By what "Authority" do you make such a statement? It is either (1) your authority, or it is (2) God's authority. Man or God? Which would you have me believe? And if you are wise at all, you will of course say "God's authority" in order to escape the logical conclusions of the former, thereby claiming that you are more authoritative than God, which also defeats your first principle again, and you thereby demonstrate by violating the law of non-contradiction that your first proposition cannot be true because you can not claim that "God is Sovereign" and "Rod is Sovereign." If you have on your 'thinking cap' you might respond "I didn't say I was sovereign, just that I am the "authority" for judging "truth claims" according to my "God is sovereign" first principle not derived from the Bible. However, Roderick, does not "authority" imply "sovereignty" and "sovereignty imply authority?" There cannot be two "sovereigns" nor two "authorities." Such an argument at best would require an "existentialistic" theorem. But then, that creates another dilemma does it not? If two, then why not thousands? Now we are far a field from "one" God who is sovereign. You cannot even tell me who is the "God" of your first principle. Why? Because the Bible says that apart from the God of the Bible revealing himself beyond general revelation, therefore requiring the necessity of "special revelation" that is, the Bible being the source of our knowledge of God and of truth, man perverts the truth of God (innate and rational creational truth) and exchanges it for a lie, and will suppress the truth of God. St. Paul says in Romans 1:18-32:
"For the wrathi of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man — and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them."
It seems to me that God's Word does not support your proposition, however you have made it clear that the Bible is only secondary to your system. Nevertheless, if man cannot know who "God" is from General Revelation, but only "that some concept of deity is innate" because man will not retain a knowledge of God, who exchanged the truth of God for a lie, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, then if there is a true knowledge, where did it come from and what is its source and authority? Remember, since you want to deal with propositions first, do not answer this with a biblical answer, for that too would violate your first principle.
Roderick states: "Where at any moment a person like Muhammad, Joseph Smith jr., Charles Taze Russell, L. Ron Hubbard, or Max King and such can come along and claim they read the Bible and determined some "new" teaching, which at later time they begin to add "implied" doctrines and perhaps even personally revealed doctrines from whatever source."
Dr. Talbot states: Why does this even bother your? You have started your argument with a proposition that is not derived from the Bible either, because you don't begin with the Bible. Because if you say it is from the Bible, then you started with the Bible and not some independent proposition apart from the Bible. Roderick, saying that "one begins with the Bible" is not the problem. Why do you think they (Hyperprets) make that claim? Because they believe that your "first principle" which is independently yours, has no authority and only sets up "you" to be god. "God said", beats "Rod said" any day of the week. Why? Because the Bible tells me so! Paul says in Romans 3:4, "Let God be true and every man a liar." Now that statement from the Bible seems to trump your phantom god of "god is sovereign." Why, because I said so? No, because God said so. Why do you think they are winning over any converts with their arguments and appeal to the Bible? "Rod" or "God" is not much of a choice. Sorry, I am not trying to be unkind, but that is the truth. You cannot convince a person of the "truth" of God apart from the "Word of God" to which the Holy Spirit testifies. You make this argument later, and in doing so, have reversed your own argument.
Roderic states: "Historic Christianity is a community that advocates that it has been guided by the initial teachings of Christ Jesus, the teachings of His hand-picked, inspired apostles, the abiding guidance of the Holy Spirit, all in unity, all sourcing Scripture as the definitive line., yet seeing a God who holds this all together."
Dr. Talbot responds: "The teachings of Christ, the apostles, the Holy Spirit, sourcing the Scripture as the definitive line." Roderick, this violates you first principle. First God Himself spoke, and then using various methods (see Hebrews 1:1), Christ, the apostles, and the church abides by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Now, stop and think this through. How do you know this? You said the sourcing is the Scripture, the Bible. This statement is MY propositional first principle, not yours. How do you know what Christ taught? Were you there? How do you know what the apostles taught? Were you there? How do you know what the Holy Spirit guided the Church in all these years? Where you there during the past 2000+ years? The answer is of course, no! Rather, you said the Bible tells me so. Now, you have contradicted your self again. What you just said is what almost every Reformed, at least those of the Calvinian linage would say who follows his theology. But they would say over and over again that you can only know that God is sovereign, and that it is true, because God said it in His Word. The authority is "God" saying it in "His Word." The Word that the Holy Spirit wrote (see 2 Peter 1:21) by the organic means of inspiration. Do you understand that last statement. The Holy Spirit wrote the Bible through holy men! If the Spirit is going to "guide" the Church, do you not think that the Holy Spirit would do it by the "Word" He had holy men write?
Roderick, when the hyperpreterists state that they "start with the Bible" as Dr. Clark use to say, "that is commendable." However, that means nothing! They come with presuppositional dogma that forces them to skew exegetical studies, twist the Scriptures with "bad" hermeneutics, and then with a boldness that boast on the side of arrogance, they assert that they alone have the "key" to the "truth which unlocks the knowledge of God about the whole Bible which has been misinterpreted and everything needs to be tweaked to get it right." Such "verbose" proclamations have great Gnostici overtones. On this part you are correct and I agree with you. Of the thousands of theological and exegetical scholars that have lived in 2000+ years, all of them together did not (even with the Holy Spirit leading them) have the "truth." That is why they have to reject and redefine the Reformed and Orthodox teachings of the historic Christian Church. What is worse, they skew their church history to try to gain advantage. Only to be beaten back again and again. So the next time they say "God said," do not reply "Rod said," but rather state, "God did not make any such statement in the Scriptures. Why do you insist on prostituting the Word of God to support your false theological teachings." Now that is authority! The key is interpreting the Scripture correctly. Roderick, you have correctly stated in the past that "their interpretation of the Bible is wrong." That, however, requires that you show them what the Scripture teaches. The "Reformed" version of Sola Scriptura is the Bible alone "rightfully interpreted is the Word of God for man." The wrong interpretation reduces it to "man" mishandling the Word of God, which is exactly what happened in the Garden of Eden. Do you see a pattern here? Yes, you have seen it and have said as much.
Now, I will ask you this question: "Which of the two arguments above are you going to follow?" The first one which begins independent of the Bible and states that "God is sovereign" or the second argument which states that "The Bible says God is Sovereign?" Only one can be your first principle for developing that theological method that will "rightfully and truthfully" give "authority" to everything we argue. There can be only one source of truth, for there to be "two truths," is a violation of the law of non-contradiction. If "two truths" are "true," they must posses the exact same qualities of "truth", no more or no less, wherein it would be rightfully state that there is only "one truth." However, if there there are "two different truths," that means that they are in contradiction to each other at lease in areas of disagreement since they cannot be the same and different at the same time.
Roderick states: "Thank you for asking for clarification."
Roderick, you are welcome and I look forward to your answers. In about two weeks, I will have the article on Calvin's Doctrine of Scripture completed (I am working over-time, so it might take longer). I worked on them for the last six months for lectures that I gave at a Calvin conference last month. However, I am bring it full circle to show that all "presuppositional" apologists begin where Calvin began, that the Bible is our only source of "true knowledge of God." I might have the lectures placed on this web site if I can't get the articles completed on time.
RODERICK'S SECOND RELPY
Hello Dr. Talbot,
I'll get back with you tomorrow night when I have the full time to devote to this. But Dr. Talbot, I must say, you seem to be a bit miffed and carrying over our discussion on epistemology here. You have already responded with some blatant misrepresentations of what I've said. I NEVER said I don't include consideration of exegesis, but that FIRST and FOREMOST I consider propositions, whether they are true or not. Please be careful to represent what I'm CLEARLY saying. Nor did I EVER say the propositions of Scripture are secondary, however a heretic's private interpretation of Scripture should not be placed on par with the unified, Christian interpretation of Scripture - agreed?
I hope you know what you are doing, because last time you did this, trying to take me to task in public, you merely gave fodder for the hyperpreterists (is that your goal?) -- expect it to make its rounds soon. However, I am more than happy to carry out this interaction as long as you'd like and as long as I am not banned. Thanks
DR. TALBOT'S THIRD RESPONSE
I am not miffed about our former discussion. Your tactics are unacceptable to me. You have come here and posted an article that I wanted clarification about and disagree with. You have restated your original thesis about "God is sovereign" here at TE. Roderick, you need to reread my article again, I asked "Further, why is the propositions of Scripture considered secondary rather than primary?" I never stated that you "ignore the Scripture." You clearly pointed out that you are not beginning with the Scripture, but a proposition. And if your proposition is primary or overarching, then the "second" thing you do is consider exegesis, at least that is what you stated. Is this not what you posted above: "The Reformed Response to heresy should be one fought first on the propositional level and then on the exegetical level." I did not say that, you did! Worse, you have not stated why one proposition is better than the other. But Roderick, the Bible is the Word of God written is a proposition, is it not? Why is your proposition a better first principle? You ignore the issues and write allegations back.Oh, I see where this is coming from. I will assume that it was because I asked you to be careful not to write what will humiliate you, and perhaps that was too hard of a statement. I will assume you were offended and I apologize for the statement if it did give offense, it was not given to offend, but to caution you. I could have stated it better. Here at TE you are accountable for what you post. However, I will not hold back anything on what I believe is "errant theology." If you haven't noticed, we are a "Reformed" theology site for education and resources. You post has issues that are not according to the teaching of Scripture and therefore teaching an errant theology.
Yet, I must ask, "why do you prejudge my intentions?" You state: "I hope you know what you are doing, because last time you did this, trying to take me to task in public, you merely gave fodder for the hyperpreterists (is that your goal?) -- expect it to make its rounds soon." This last statement is not very Christian, now is it? No, I don't play to the public. I defend the truth, I don't care who you are, when you are wrong, I am going to expose it. Your tone is unkind and judgmental, but I am not offended, so save the apology, just give me the response. Yet, I must ask, "If you didn't mean what you wrote, why did you write it?" Further, you stated that "a heretic's private interpretation of Scripture should not be placed on par with the unified, Christian interpretation of Scripture - agreed?" I think I made that point previously, so let me restate what I said, I think it is self explaining: I wrote: "Roderick, when the hyperpreterists state that they "start with the Bible" as Dr. Clark use to say, "that is commendable." However, that means nothing! They come with presuppositional dogma that forces them to skew exegetical studies, twist the Scriptures with "bad" hermeneutics, and then with a boldness that boast on the side of arrogance, they assert that they alone have the "key" to the "truth which unlocks the knowledge of God about the whole Bible which has been misinterpreted and everything needs to be tweaked to get it right." Such "verbose" proclamations have great Gnostic overtones. On this part you are correct and I agree with you. Of the thousands of theological and exegetical scholars that have lived in 2000+ years, all of them together did not (even with the Holy Spirit leading them) have the "truth." That is why they have to reject and redefine the Reformed and Orthodox teachings of the historic Christian Church. What is worse, they skew their church history to try to gain advantage. Only to be beaten back again and again. So the next time they say "God said," do not reply "Rod said," but rather state, "God did not make any such statement in the Scriptures. Why do you insist on prostituting the Word of God to support your false theological teachings." Now that is authority! The key is interpreting the Scripture correctly."
I will take your warning to heart "I hope you know what you are doing, because last time you did this, trying to take me to task in public, you merely gave fodder for the hyperpreterists (is that your goal?) -- expect it to make its rounds soon." I am not sure what argument you were reading the last time, but I don't think that it "only gave fodder" to the Hyperpreterists. You never answered my questions. You broke off the discussion. Roderick, I withdrew from Pretblog to give you all the room you needed. But this is not Pretblog and when you are wrong, I will confront you with the truth. I am no respecter of errant theology. Let me assure you that I know exactly what I am doing. You now have my full attention. My article on the "Resurrection will have to wait."
RODERICK'S THIRD REPLY
Hello Dr. Talbot, readers and lurkers,
Before we begin, I'd like Dr. Talbot to consider some things, perhaps personally concede them to himself.
Now, I don't say these things to Dr. Talbot to "humiliate" him, as seems to be his intention toward me. As a matter of fact I love and want to protect his reputation as much as possible, again the reason I broke off the other discussion was at the urging of my and Dr. Talbot's mutual friends. But I would ask him to seriously consider the 3 points above.
RESPONSE #1 TO DR. TALBOT (responding to content in Dr. Talbot's comments here)
Dr. T said:
Again, Dr. T, please do not behave like this. I DID answer the question. Any confusion you may be experiencing is regrettable and I hope to remedy that as I continue. But please read what I am saying in comparison to your quotes. Thanks.
Dr. T said:
See, Dr. T. I did NOT say what you said above. I did NOT say I would not include "exegesis". I said I start first with the heretic's proposition. And whether you admit it or not, you actually agree. In a follow up comment you said, and please allow me to make your words bold here as they are very, very important to this entire discussion:
Amen! I guess this discussion is over since you agree that for all their claims at "exegesis" and "hermeneutics", the FIRST and FOREMOST problem with hyperpreterism (and all heresies, as I state in my original article here on TE), is that as you say "they come with propositional dogma that forces them to skew". That is the SAME as me saying they start with a proposition that is antithetical to ALL of historic Christian interpretation. Now can we drop this fake discussion and get to the real one you are itching to take up here? Obviously you have just conceded the main thrust of my original article. Right?
However, so that you will not accuse me of "breaking off" the discussion I shall continue.
Dr. T. says:
Dr. Talbot, you answered your own question quite nicely. When interacting with heresies the primary consideration is that their exegesis/hermeneutic is SKEWED by their false proposition. Therefore, let us first consider their proposition. The proposition of hyperpreterists, whether they will admit to it openly or not is that for whatever reason, God was unable or unwilling to maintain the most basic understanding of His plan within the community of saints. If we do not first address this false proposition (and you can do so from the Bible, I never said we couldn't or shouldn't), but if we don't first address this false proposition, then we would merely chase our tails with the SKEWED "exegesis/hermeneutics" that we would be validating by treating it as if it was on par with acceptable exegesis/hermeneutics. It is the heretic that has "prioritized" our need to address their erroneous proposition, since as you agreed that is what is driving their false interpretations. Are you still confused?
Dr. T says:
Dr. T, you didn't choose the propositions in this case, but rather the heretic has chosen them, if you allow his false proposition to stand. Now, you can do one of two things; (1) Let the heretical proposition stand and let the heretic take you on an "exegetical/hermeneutical" wild-goose chase as you pretend that their handling of Scripture is on par with historic Christian interpretation. (2) You can point out that false proposition of the heretic and let them know they cannot engage you with Scripture until they and you first have a discussion as to why their proposition (driving their exegesis) is wrong. I have simply chosen course 2 and yet you want to berate me for it? Of course I can't discuss the "propositions of the Bible" with a heretic, since as you admit, they SKEW their very interpretation of the Bible. With all their redefinition of terms, false etymologies and complete disregard for context. It is almost as pointless as discussing football with someone who insist on calling it basketball and calling touchdowns, layups. They are operating on a faulty view of the basics.
I want to stop here to give you a chance to respond, since there are actually two different discussions going on. One is about why I (and historic Christianity/the Reformed) respond to heretics by first and foremost addressing their false propositions and the second discussion is specifically an epistemological discussion surrounding your devotion to Clarkianism. Please limit your focus to what I've said in this response and we can unpack the rest as we move forward.
Let me conclude with saying I find it commendable that you for stating you "will not hold back anything on what I believe is 'errant theology.'" My only concern is that you waited so long as Frost "prostituted" (your word) WTS, Clarkianism and his training as being the reason he has embraced the heresy of hyperpreterism. Why did you "hold back" while Frost, your own student has been actively promoting not only "errant theology", but "damnable heresy"? I do thank you for some of your recent work but again, the hyperpreterists, with Frost at the head actually think you have sold the farm and given them a victory. Please be concerned.
I thank you for clearing your schedule to give me full attention, but please let it not distract from issues you may find more pressing. Bless you and your family Dr. T. Thank you for your dedication and help to obviously the countless Christians that have been under your charge. I ask you, as a brother to step up to the plate on this one and take responsibility for Frost and what he has done under your charge and to make it clear that, hyperpreterist propositions SKEW exegesis/hermeneutics -- to the point where discussion of exegesis/hermeneutics with a hyperpreterists is pointless without continuously bringing it back to the FACT of their overarching proposition. Thanks and good night. I will be gone most of the day tomorrow and I expect you will be busy as well. I will not insinuate anything if you do not answer soon. ;-)
In Christ and His Church (the united and continuity of the saints)
DR. TALBOT'S FOURTH (TWO-PART) RESPONSE
PART ONE OF TWO COMMENTS
Hello Roderick: I don’t think there are any lurkers here. It is 5:30 am. This will be answered in two parts, it is too big to post in just one reply. So please read both.
Roderick states:Today I spent my day with my family at Turkey Run State Park (see here), and then took my mother-in-law out to dinner for her birthday. I used the time on the hike at the park for meditating on what I would write here. As many may know, this is not Dr. Talbot's and my first discussion over epistemological issues (see here). This is extremely important for the reader to know, since much of this present discussion is really predicated on that initial interaction. I "broke off that discussion" with Dr. Talbot NOT because I was being "humiliated", but because mutual friends urged me to, plus I DID give plenty of answers...just not answers Dr. Talbot "accepted".
“So, during a recent posting upon the subject of epistemology (ref) & a follow up article (ref), Dr. Talbot took issue with my presentations. My eventual responses to Dr. Talbot were neither honorable nor fair to him.”
Roderick, you gave answers to questions that I did not ask. No matter how many times, you gave answers that were irrational and then I followed with requests that you should demonstrate your method. You could not do it! Then you ignored the issues and tried to go in another direction, only to be confronted again by my questions and requests for demonstrations of your theorem. Nor did I state that you were "humiliated" as a result of your inability to answer the questions, I will take a citation for that from that previous interaction.
Now Roderick, why should I accept you answers? They were not biblical! Is this a serious argument that and I quote you: "you got the answers, just not the ones you wanted, but that should have satisfied you." You cannot be serious? If that is necessarily the case, then you need explain why when the hyperpreterists give you answers (if I should have accepted your and end the issue with you), why don’t you accept their answers? You cannot have it both ways! Do you realize just how irrational this sounds from you? If I should just accept your answers and that is the end of the issue, then that “argument or tactic” cuts both ways. When the hyperpreterists give you answers, then you should just accept them and that is the end of the issue for you with them. However, it is not, is it? You did not get the answers you wanted from the Hyperpreterists, so you continue to ask more questions. Or does this ‘principle’ only apply to you when someone is taking you to task on a theological or philosophical issue that you cannot deal with? That is essentially what you have stated above. Let us take this a step further and leave the Hyperpreterists out of this. I gave you an answer, and you would not accept it, why did you not just accept my answer and put an end to it? You could not do it. Why? I do not what to make implications, but let the readers draw their own. Nevertheless, Roderick to make such a public statement as you have above is just inconceivable to a rational common sense individual.
Roderick states: "Further, please don't insinuate that I am afraid to interact with you here or at PretBlog. I would ask Dr. Talbot to please refrain from these "tactics", as they are not becoming of someone of his stature. They are more the "tactics" of the very heretics we are discussing."
Dr. Talbot states: If you are reading this, the statement “I would ask Dr. Talbot to please refrain from these “tactics”, as they are not becoming of someone of his stature.” That is an ad hom argument. It is a fallacy. Again, just anther attempt to discredit my issue with your errant theological statements, by attacking my character. That might work with “some” of the hyperpreterists, but it is unwise to try it on me. Another fallacy!
I did not insinuate that you are afraid to interact with anyone. However, I am not sure it should be called ‘interacting.’ I said I with drew from Pretblog to give you the room to do "your thing." I was a guest of Dee Dee Warren. I did not want her to be forced into just one more issue (with all that was on her plate) to have to deal with me and you. Further, I determined after talking with mutual friends that I would with draw, because I would not want to have to confront you in public on so many errant mistakes.
Now about "tactics,” if I remember correctly, it was you Roderick that posted a pic of Hitler (assumed to be Frost) and Chamberlin (Me) as the compromiser (that was so Christian of you!). Shall I post all those statements from the Pretblog site? "TACTICS!" Roderick, being a Christian is not knowing facts about the Bible or some grand delusion about being some super cult apologist, Christianity is truth that transforms the life of an individual. Would you explain for me how your behavior and attitude have changed from the time you were with the hyperpreterists until now? I have spoken to many people, both HPs and NonHPs and they say that while you position has changed the behavior has not! You changed positions, yes, but you have not changed one iota in behavior. Your sinful behavior is always justified by your believe that you can behave in any way that pleases you as long as you are opposing heretics or in my case, a true presuppositionalist. Roderick, your are a ‘pragmatist’ on this issue. Let one person do something different than what you think is the “better way” and they are compromisers, because they do not listen to Roderick. Roderick, you just do not get it, do you? But, then again, the statement that my 'tactics' is like the hyperpreterists is just another ad hom. Sorry, but if that is your best argument, it is no argument at all. And from here in this is what I expect I will find over and over again.
Roderick states: “Before we begin, I'd like Dr. Talbot to consider some things, perhaps personally concede them to himself.
Dr. Talbot responds: Why not out loud, because I have no problem answering them.
Roderick states: “1. Even though he is a seminary president, a subordinate may be able to at times correct him.”
Dr. Talbot responds: Just anther fallacy by Roderick. You see the question is loaded, if I say “yes,” then Roderick assumes you will conclude he was right. If I say “no” then I am made out to be an ‘egotistical’ individual. Nice try! Here is an example of the same “tactic” being used by Roderick. “Roderick are you still beating your wife.” Yes, or no! You see, some questions are meant to trap an individual. Now Roderick, let me tell you something. I have never claimed to be a scholar, a theologian, a philosopher. I have been given such acknowledgements and it is very kind, but I don’t claim such titles. However, I am a student of theology, church history, philosophy, law, education and pastoral counseling. Because I do study these issues, develop and educate students, I am ‘respected.’ I help people with many things, material, spiritual, etc. My subordinates are ‘respectful’ to me. Roderick, even when Mr. Frost was a student, as a ‘subordinate’ he was always kind and respectful. Even when I disagreed with him, while a student, he never acted the way you have. Oh, yes, I am sure I have my detractors. But most of them are still respectful.
Roderick states: 2. "Clarkianism", for whatever devotion Dr. Talbot contributes to it, is NOT the traditional Christian apologetic/epistemology. What Dr. Gordon Clark was advocating was NOT well-received by the bulk of Reformed Christianity. This does NOT however speak to its correctness or error. Only that I would like Dr. Talbot to please stop acting like a person is not Reformed unless they hold to some form of Clarkianism. Thank you.
Dr. Talbot responds: Roderick, first, show me where I have ever said that anyone was not reformed because of their apologetics? This is a lie! I have over 350 students in the seminary, they all hold to one of three major forms of apologetics? Do you know what those there system are even called? Can you explicate their meanings to me?
Now Roderick states that he is a “classical presuppositionalist” which is rather funny, because no presuppositionalist uses that type of terminology “classical”, at least not about “presuppositionalism.” It is a term used for “Classical Apologetics” to designate the rational/evidential view of apologetics, such, Dr. R.C. Sproul and St. Thomas. Actually, the majority of Reformed theologians were philosophically either “Classical Apologists” or “Common Sense Realist” as it relates to the “Princeton Tradition.” You really do not know what you are talking about! You “humiliate” your self with errant statements like this. Thomistic theories were held among most the Westminster Divines. Ouch! Roderick’s point is this, my first principle is that the Bible is our point of beginning. That he says is not the “classical” presuppositional position. Roderick, I warned you not to embarrass your self. But you would not listen, and I haven’t even gotten my paper on Calvin finished for publication. Traditionally, “presuppositonal apologetics” is traced back to Calvin (some might argue Augustine). Now what we need is to determine what the historic “presuppositionalists” held to as the source of their first principles that are essential to theology and apologetics, that is, their primary point of beginning.
Calvin (again is say some might claim Augustine (but he was more of a early classical rationalist), was the chief developer of this modern system that believes that our knowledge of God, knowledge that is not perverted by sin (innate and creational) must come from the Bible (this differed greatly from the medieval scholastics). That is the basic presupposition for our true and sure knowledge of God? The Bible! All other theories apart from Scripture Calvin will maintain, leads men to false gods (the Calvin paper has many of Calvin’s statements like this).
“For if we reflect how prone the human mind is to lapse into forgetfulness of God, how readily inclined to every kind of error, how bent every now and then on devising new and fictitious religions, it will be easy to understand how necessary it was to make such a depository of doctrine as would secure it from either perishing by the neglect, vanishing away amid the errors, or being corrupted by the presumptuous audacity of men. It being thus manifest that God, foreseeing the inefficiency of his image imprinted on the fair form of the universe, has given the assistance of his Word to all whom he has ever been pleased to instruct effectually, we, too, must pursue this straight path, if we aspire in earnest to a genuine contemplation of God; — we must go, I say, to the Word, where the character of God, drawn from his works is described accurately and to the life; these works being estimated, not by our depraved judgment, but by the standard of eternal truth.” (Institutes Vol. I, Chapter 6, Section 1).
Remember Roderick said: “I then must ask them what Bible? How do they know the one we have is accurate?” Well Calvin answers Roderick’s objection: Calvin states:
“There is nothing repugnant here to what was lately said, (chap. 7) that we have no great certainty of the word itself, until it be confirmed by the testimony of the Spirit. For the Lord has so knit together the certainty of his word and his Spirit, that our minds are duly imbued with reverence for the word when the Spirit shining upon it enables us there to behold the face of God; and, on the other hand, we embrace the Spirit with no danger of delusion when we recognize him in his image, that is, in his word.” (Institutes Vol. I, Chapter 9, Section 3).
Can you guess who also holds to Calvin’s view? Here is Calvin’s legacy concerning the proper ‘presupposition’ for Reformed theology and apologetics. You of course knew I would begin with Clark, but let me introduce you to the other apologetists who agree with Calvin, and, by the way, agreed with Dr. Clark.
Dr. Gordon Clark states:
“The first principle cannot be demonstrated because there is nothing prior from which to deduce it. Call it presuppositionalism, call it fideism, names do not matter. But I know no better presupposition than “the Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the Word of God written, and therefore inerrant in the autographs.” (Against the World, pgs. 192-193)
Now just where does Dr. Cornelius Van Til begin his presuppositional method? Dr. GREG BAHNSEN, student of Dr. Van Til, wrote the following article entitled “Van Til's "Presuppositionalism”
“In the words of 1 Peter 3:15, the personal prerequisite for offering a reasoned defense of the Christian faith is this: "set apart Christ as Lord in your hearts." Christ must be the ultimate authority over our philosophy, our reasoning, and our argumentation -- not just at the end, but at the beginning, of the apologetical endeavor. If we are to "cast down reasonings and every high thing exalted against the knowledge of God," said Paul, then we must "bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5.) An ultimate commitment to Christ covers the entire range of human activity, including every aspect of intellectual endeavor. To reason in a way which does not recognize this is to transgress the first and great commandment: "You shall love the Lord your God with... all your mind" (Matthew 22:37). In light of this, our thoughts about apologetic method should be controlled by the word of Jesus Christ, not merely our apologetic conclusions. Very simply, if the apologist is to rid himself of profane audacity, his faith in the greatness of divine wisdom must be championed by means of a procedure which itself honors the same wisdom. After all, in Christ "all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are deposited" (Colossians 2:3), no exception being made for the knowledge by which the Christian defends the knowledge of Christ. This means the apologist must presuppose the truth of God's word from start to finish in his apologetic witness. A "presupposition" is an elementary assumption in one's reasoning or in the process by which opinions are formed. Penpoint Vol. VI:1 (January, 1995)
Dr. JOHN FRAME as student of Dr. Van Til and a supporter of his apologetic method stated in a position paper entitled: PRESUPPOSITIONAL APOLOGETICS: AN INTRODUCTION :Part 1 of 2:” Introduction and Creation.”
“In defending the Christian faith, the most important question before us is “What sort of defense will best glorify our God (cf. 1 Cor. 10:31)?” God forbid that in seeking to defend the faith before others we should in that very act compromise it. The so-called “presuppositional” school of apologetics is concerned above all with answering this question. Of course, there are other questions in apologetics which, although of less ultimate importance, also deserve answers. Presuppositionalists have discussed those too. But in view of our space limitation, and in order to do justice to the main thrust of presuppositionalism, I must focus our attention on this most important question and then as space permits relate some other issues to this one. Among all the sources of divine revelation (including nature, history, human beings in God’s image), Scripture plays a central role. Indeed, though the point cannot be argued in detail here, my view is that Scripture is the supremely authoritative, inerrant Word of God, the divinely authored, written constitution of the church of Jesus Christ. Scripture is therefore the foundational authority for all of human life including apologetics. As the ultimate authority, the very Word of God, it provides the foundational justifications for all our reasoning, without itself being subject to prior justification. … Once we have made the distinction between God’s Word and the “imaginations of our own hearts,” God calls us to live according to the former. God’s Word is true (therefore dependable), though every human authority may lie (Rom. 3:4). If we adopt the Word of God as our ultimate commitment, our ultimate standard, our ultimate criterion of truth and falsity, God’s Word then becomes our “presupposition.” That is to say, since we use it to evaluate all other beliefs, we must regard it as more certain than any other beliefs” (IIIM Magazine, Volume 1, Number 8, April 19 to April 25, 1999).
DR. CORNELIUS VAN TIL himself wrote:
“I think there is a better and more truly biblical way of reasoning with and winning unbelievers than the Romanist Arminian method permits. To begin with then I take what the Bible says about God and his relation to the universe as unquestionably true on its own authority. The Bible requires men to believe that he exists apart from and above the world and that he by his plan controls whatever takes place in the world. Everything in the created universe therefore displays the fact that it is controlled by God, that it is what it is by virtue of the place that it occupies in the plan of God.” "The only 'proof' of the Christian position is that unless its truth is presupposed there is no possibility of 'proving' anything at all." What the Christian sets forth as the Bible's worldview - as authoritatively revealed by God - is the indispensable foundation for proof itself - for the intelligibility of reason and experience, the ability to make sense of knowing anything whatsoever.” (The Bible Today, 42, no. 9 (June-Sept., 1949):278-290).
Now here is my point. Clark, Van Til, Bahnsen, and Frame all say that the presupposition must be the Bible. The Word of God as self-authenticating, which is proof itself as Dr. Van Til and Dr. Clark both held, as did Dr. John Calvin. Why must we ‘confessionalists’ believe this? On the authority that the Bible alone is our ‘supreme authority’ just as stated in the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 1.
Well, I thought that this was interesting.
Roderick states: 3. “Dr. Talbot, by his own actions has been bolstering the resolve of the heretical group called hyperpreterism. These are not my own observations alone, but observations by the hyperpreterists themselves. Samuel Frost, a student of Dr. Talbot has been advocating hyperpreterism for at least 15 years, often crediting Dr. Talbot's own seminary for giving him the training that Frost has used to conclude hyperpreterism.”
Dr. Talbot responds: “Roderick, man, you are unbelievable! Samuel Frost never said that studying the curriculum at Whitefield Theological Seminary is what made him a Full Preteristi, he said he came to that conclusion apart from the fact the WTS doctrine (well Gentry usually gets the blame) and I think that it is heretical. Roderick, a School can offer only the education, we cannot “program” any student to become “anything.” This is just another ad hom argument! Did Sam Frost get a good education at WTS. We offer a “classically Reformed education.” Our eschatology is taught by Dr. Kenneth Gentry. Are you impugning Dr. Gentry’s Character? We use Dr. Mattison’s writings also, so may I assume your are impugning him as well? I guess we will impugn Calvin, Turretin, The Westminster Divines, Dr. Robert Reymond, etc. since we used their materials, so they are responsible for Hyperpreterism? It’s called a “choice.” You clearly no nothing about education! Now with such “brilliant” reasoning, that means that every seminary that had a student take an different direction in this theological thinking, a position that is not held by the institution, nevertheless, the institution is some how responsible for the student’s bad choice of theology? That is like saying, the gun makers are responsible for gun owners who mishandle the guns and kill people, because they bought the gun from the company! Do you really think this way?
Roderick states: “In all that time, until this year, Dr. Talbot, to my knowledge has not publicly done anything to discourage and repudiate Frost's use of his training as an association to heresy.”
Dr. Talbot responds: “This is almost too funny to answer, but why not. There is nothing more silly than watching a fellow point a gun at his own head that threaten to shoot you. Roderick. Until last year, I did not know you until I got that “threaten” letter about “exposing WTS” because of Samuel Frost’s hyperpreterism. You did not know me and if you hadn’t mentioned Samuel’s name, I would not even known who you were! Your knowledge about me who you did not know! Are you claiming some sort of “omniscience” here? WTS is now in its 29th year. You did not even know anything about WTS or me, or you would not have written the letter asking if I knew Samuel Frost was using WTS and me as a means to (as you call it) “promote” his views. If you knew that I “hadn’t said anything to date” (which is just a lie!), you would have had no reason to write that letter! Further, there are federal laws that protect students while engaged in education and we are bound to them and must handle every issue very carefully. When Samuel Frost said that you and he were old “enemies” in a battle over Preterism, that was the only thing I knew about you. I called Dr. Gentry, he nothing about you except that you were a “hyperpreterist,” (guess news travels slow) and that I should stay away from you because you had a bad reputation. You were not a part of my life, never phoned, never met in person, never a letter, not an e-mail, nothing! Yet you make this ridiculous statement that I had not done anything “public” (which begs a question - does that mean that everyone who knows anything about Hyperpreterism must go public and battle it or them, or they are guilty as well?) against Mr. Frost. Truth is, you know nothing about those 28 years. When I told you that WTS held to the Westminster Standards and that Hyperpreterism was outside the confession, so everyone knows what we believe, just read it, you said that was not good enough. I wrote and said in an e-mail, As President of WTS, we do not teach or hold to Hyperpreterism, You said that was not good enough. It had to come from the Board. That is when I ended my conversations with you. For that I am thankful, because Dee Dee Warren wrote a very kind and polite e-mail and that began new friendship. Further, I have two graduates who have done more to battle hyperpreterism (Gentry and Mathison) than you will do in a life time! Eschatology is not what I am primarily trained in; it is Philosophy, education, theology (some eschatology of course), law, church history, and pastoral counseling. You don’t think that Dr. Gentry and Dr. Mathison were doing a good enough job? That I need to drop my pastoral duties, seminary duties, homeschooling duties, counseling duties, conference duties, I have set on 25 different boards of directors, protested for years at abortion clinics and rallies. Personally spent ten years lobbying the State of Florida over the rights of parents to educate their children at home, and for colleges to be free from state entanglement. I taught in Christian Schools, held adjunct professorships, was averaging 6 to 10 conferences a year (many on civil issues as well as theology and apologetics). I Moderated both our general assembly (4 years) and Presbytery (9 years), held the chair for credentials committee and Book of Church Order for 15years. Worked in Drug rehab as a counselor for teenagers. I currently set on a State Board which oversees millions of dollars (tax money) to ensure it is not being wasted. I could list much more, but I think I have made my point. You don’t know me, and you have not walked in my shoes. Your battle has been on a computer. I am doing the work of God in the real world! Now if I need witnesses, I can give them to you. Dr. Gentry, Dr. Crampton, Dr. Kayser, Dr. Carl Bogue, Rev. Dick Jones, (how many do you want?) I have lots more to call upon! This is another fallacy of yours!
Roderick states: “You can read Frost's recent statements where he believes Dr. Talbot has almost single-handedly given a "major victory" to the hyperpreterist cause (see here & here) due to Dr. Talbot's epistemology and his blurring the lines between what is and isn't heretical.”
Dr. Talbot responds: Roderick, did you read these articles? Samuel Frost did not say that about me. Both articles are about Dr. Kelly Birks IBD position over against CBV. He said it took place on Preterism Debate, but lets look at the quote that includes TE: Samuel Frost states:
“Recently, I came across a shocking statement from Dr. Kelly Birks, which must be quoted in full, given by him on Larry Siegle’s Preterism Debate site (TE stands for Theology Explains, a website created by Sharon Nichols, but approved by Dr. Talbot and a host of other Reformed scholars and pastors (mostly associated with Whitefield Theological Seminary)). What I would like the reader here to note is how Birks “gets around” the charge of heresy for his Immortal Body at Death view, which basically means, that the soul, instead of resuming the body with which it is now clothed, will obtain a new and different body upon death. If Birks’ view gets a stamp of approval from the gentlemen representing Theology Explains, then all of the charges against us on matters of “acceptible orthodoxy” is, in one fell swoop, dismissed.”
First Roderick, this is a logical fallacy by Sam (you didn’t know this, WOW) Now Roderick, Samuel says “If Birks” gets a “stamp of approval” from the gentlemen representing Theology Explains.” Well, first this is not what you stated. You misrepresented the statement! It is called a hyperbole, that is, an exaggerated statement! This is because I permitted Dr. Birks to become a member of TE and for a reason. Now Samuel, Larry, and few others wanted to join TE, but we said no. Needless to say they were not too happy. This is their tactic to try to force me to put Dr. Birks out! Nice try Sam! But you Roderick, who knows so much about the “tactics” of the Hyperpreterists didn’t see that tactical move by them? Now if you say you did, then you are being disingenuous to use their “tactic” (what, Roderick is using their tactics?) against me? However, if you did not see that, then what you stated below is even lower than the Hyperpreterist and you walked right into it! Let’s take a close look! Oh, by the way, neither I, nor do the TE or Seminary professors hold or approve of the IBD position. Dr. Birks knows that as well. So you ask: “What are you doing with Dr. Birks at TE? Well I could ask the same question about what is he doing at Pretblog! But here is the answer if you must know - ITS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS! I don’t answer to you! Actually, I do answer to Sharon, she owns the site (after this issue, I am in the dog house because I promised not to make this a debate site). We are opening the other one back up and it will be FANTASTIC!
Dr. Talbot responds: Roderick, you are worse than the Hyperpreterists when it comes to arrogance! You think way to highly of yourself, but ascribe it to others. Sorry, but even the hyperpreterists to my knowledge have not said such a thing to me! This is shameful! You disgrace yourself. I am not humiliating you, you are humiliating yourself. You need to go and ask others who will be truthful with you what they think about your attitude. I could give you a list, but you know most of them.
Roderick states: “Now, I don't say these things to Dr. Talbot to "humiliate" him, as seems to be his intention toward me. As a matter of fact I love and want to protect his reputation as much as possible, again the reason I broke off the other discussion was at the urging of my and Dr. Talbot's mutual friends. But I would ask him to seriously consider the 3 points above.”
Dr. Talbot responds: Again, you assume what I have not said, especially in light of this article. Yes, I am being a little hard on you, but it seems others aren’t willing to take the abuse from you so, I will address this again. You so far have only proven that (1) you lie, (2) you misrepresent statements, (3) you use ad hom arguments, and (4) you are full of yourself. I am not humiliated, not at all! With the kind of love and protection you offer, (I know this is not becoming a man of my stature) I will pass. I have really never had anyone love and protect me in this manner.
PART TWO OF TWO COMMENTS
RESPONSE #1 TO DR. TALBOT (responding to content in Dr. Talbot's comments here)
Roderick states: Dr. T said: "Thank for attempting to answer the question. But you have only added to the confusion." Again, Dr. T, please do not behave like this. I DID answer the question. Any confusion you may be experiencing is regrettable and I hope to remedy that as I continue. But please read what I am saying in comparison to your quotes. Thanks.”
Dr. Talbot responds: Roderick, it was the wrong answer, if you call it an answer at all. The confusion is all yours. The only problem I have is you have many conflicting answers, sometimes they are even my answers, but it is so irrational and poorly stated.
Roderick states: Dr. T said: "What do you mean by "I like to deal first and foremost with the proposition of an argument." What method does that invoke? Why would not that method include the "exegesis" which is also propositional" See, Dr. T. I did NOT say what you said above. I did NOT say I would not include "exegesis".
Roderick stated: “I said I start first with the heretic's proposition.”
Dr. Talbots responds: “Actually you stated two things: “Yes, you are correct -- ALL STATEMENTS ARE PROPOSITIONAL -- that is exactly the point and why I like to deal first and foremost with the proposition of an argument BEFORE I get into the so-called "evidence/exegesis". The overarching proposition of historic Christianity is that God is sovereign, in complete control. God has planned and decreed things, not just let them haphazardly unfold for anyone to take up. This is the proposition of almost every Reformer. Do I need to name and cite?” Now Roderick, you have two things confused here and this is just because you lack an education. There is a difference between “testing truth claims” and stating something as a “first principle” which you state as the first principle being “the overarching proposition of historic Christianity is that God is sovereign.” Do you know the difference? However, let me repost my question, because you must have missed the point again! Yes, let me do it again and I will (like you) will put key terms in caps: “What method does that invoke? Why would not that method include the "exegesis" which is also propositional, AND IF, IT IS A PART OF THE ARGUMENT OF YOUR OPPONENT YOUR PREVIOUS STATEMENT WOULD REQUIRE YOU TO DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU WOULD PREFER NOT TO DO? Roderick, if your “opponent” has given an exegetical argument, would that not then “logically” presume that your dealing or responding to his argument include exegetical responses also? Now I want to point out that if this is not the case, then everything Paul T has written is “out the door” because he did it wrong and Paul’s responses are at least seeking to engage the Scriptural argument, and not chant over and over again 2000+ of church history. Sorry, Yes, I agree and have written that “not because the church said it” but because they came to the same conclusions as a result of their exegesis, to embrace the 4 doctrinal positions commonly known in systematic as “general eschatology” (1) Visible manifestation of Christ, (2) resurrection of the dead, (3) final judgment, and (4) consummation of time or history. But Roderick, it is not that the “Church” has any authority to make any declaration that is binding, except what is written in Scripture. If you have misstated this once, you have misstated it a hundred times! You say you are Reformed Presbyterian, but you seem to know little about the Westminster Confession of Faith and what were the issues during the Reformation.
Roderick states: “And whether you admit it or not, you actually agree. In a follow up comment you said, and please allow me to make your words bold here as they are very, very important to this entire discussion: "They [hyperpreterists] come with presuppositional dogma that forces them to skew exegetical studies, twist the Scriptures with "bad" hermeneutics, and then with a boldness that boast on the side of arrogance, they assert that they alone have the "key" to the "truth which unlocks the knowledge of God about the whole Bible which has been misinterpreted and everything needs to be tweaked to get it right." Amen! I guess this discussion is over since you agree that for all their claims at "exegesis" and "hermeneutics", the FIRST and FOREMOST problem with hyperpreterism (and all heresies, as I state in my original article here on TE), is that as you say "they come with propositional dogma that forces them to skew".
Dr. Talbot responds: Roderick, you missed a word that is key to the text. I said “presuppositional DOGMA.” Now I know you have not received a seminary education, but where does dogma normally come from? The Hyperpreterist have (in my opinion) misinterpreted a text and then required all other texts to conform to the doctrine they created by faulty exegesis. Now, anyone dealing with the Hyperpreterists is going to be confronted with a lot of text proofing, some exegetical studies (those who actually do have training, and those who seriously lack it, but pretend they do), and systematic or theological propositions developed from their exegesis. Look at their writings, some of them are doing exactly what the Westminster Confession says ought to be done. Do we through out the Westminster Confession because the Hyperpreterists are following it? It is not the form, but the false exegetical and hermeneutical interpretations that have lead to their heretical dogma! Form and content are two different things!
Roderick states: “That is the SAME as me saying they start with a proposition that is antithetical to ALL of historic Christian interpretation.”
Dr. Talbot responds: No, Roderick, you are wrong. You just don’t get it do you? I mean you are really blind to this thing! What I said is how they get their dogma, and that in that way it is antithetical to historic Christian interpretation, but that is not what you have been saying at all.
Roderick states: “Now can we drop this fake discussion and get to the real one you are itching to take up here?”
Dr. Talbot responds: The only thing “fake” about this discussion is YOU! Sorry, I know that hurts, but you choose your words poorly! So, as you do unto others, this time, I will return it unto you. That is about how you would interpret it. Sorry, but it is late and I am being a bit sarcastic from reading your arguments.
Roderick states: “Dr. T. says: "Further, why is the propositions of Scripture considered secondary rather than primary? That is a Roman Catholic type argument. How do you prioritize these propositions?" Dr. Talbot, you answered your own question quite nicely. When interacting with heresies the primary consideration is that their exegesis/hermeneutic is SKEWED by their false proposition.
Dr. Talbot responds: Their “propositional DOGMA.” Now reread what I already have written and you will see you errant interpretation again!
Roderick states: “Therefore, let us first consider their proposition. The proposition of hyperpreterists, whether they will admit to it openly or not is that for whatever reason, God was unable or unwilling to maintain the most basic understanding of His plan within the community of saints.”
Dr. Talbot responds: “Sorry, I have had a lot of discussion with both Samuel Frost and Dr. Birks, and neither of them has ever told me that that was the primary position of Full (Hyper) Preterism. That might have been your primary position, but I have yet to see that statement that you claim in writing. Would you kindly give a source for that, and in particular, from Samuel and/or any other seminary trained (not to put any one down because they lack a seminary education), or OK, Dave Green, who has stated that that this is their first proposition. Because I know that Samuel Frost, Jason Bradfield, Larry Siegle and others following them, state that their first principle is “The Bible is the Word of God written.” I don’t know about the other sites, because in truth, I really have not been interested in those who are universalists. I have only an interest in those who claim to be Reformed and Orthodox. So, to be up front and honest in our dealings with the Hyperpreterists, SHOW ME THE STATEMENT THAT SAYS THAT WHAT YOU SAID IS THEIR FIRST PROPOSITION. Now Roderick, this really concerns me, because you state “whether they will admit to it openly or not is that for whatever reason” is raising BIG RED FLAGS! If they don’t say it, and say that is not true, and say, “here is what we believe and it is our first principle”, it is a misrepresentation, no, it is a lie to say something that they have not said. To say, “this is really what they say, but they don’t say it, but we know it, because we can read their thoughts.” Roderick, this really bothers me that you would say such a thing in public! You have openly stated that you are building a straw-man argument and if we all “unite” under this argument, we can beat them. In legal terms we call that FRAUD! In logic a STAW-MAN argument! In ethics is a MISREPRESENTATION of the truth, and in the Bible, it is called a Lie.
Roderick states: “If we do not first address this false proposition (and you can do so from the Bible, I never said we couldn't or shouldn't)”
Roderick states: “but if we don't first address this false proposition, then we would merely chase our tails with the SKEWED "exegesis/hermeneutics" that we would be validating by treating it as if it was on par with acceptable exegesis/hermeneutics.”
Dr. Talbot responds: WHAT ARE YOU SAYINIG? MAKE UP A LIE ABOUT THE HYPERPRETERISTS? You do not have to lie to counter a false teaching, which it is my opinion, just give them the truth! My job is only to show the truth of Scripture, I am not God and thus you really believe that by some conjured up scheme I will convert them? Roderick, your right, I have only been here for about 1 year. However, if I know one thing about Samuel Frost, Michael Bennett, and others, if you want to confront their arguments, then you are going to have to confront their interpretations. Roderick, I am not going to be tied to this computer chasing the Hyperpreterists the rest of my life. I am writing a book against it (which I have funding to send it to every Reformed and Evangelical Pastor in the country). I will produce a DVD - like Amazing Grace: History and Theology of Calvinism (it is on the drawing board as we speak). And I will leave a website loaded with all the arguments necessary for research on Hyperpreterism.
Roderick states: “It is the heretic that has "prioritized" our need to address their erroneous proposition, since as you agreed that is what is driving their false interpretations. Are you still confused?”
Dr. Talbot responds: No, I am not confused, I am almost at a loss for words at what you have said. You have publicly handed the Hyperpreterists the rope that they will hang you with. PUBLIC ANNOUNCMENT - I AM NOT INVOLVED IN THIS SKEEM AND I WILL CONTINIUE TO FOLLOW THE HISTORIC REFORMED TRADITION after I settle some other issues that remain to be finished. I am testing truth claims. I know what that means, and how to do it. I am involved in the negative test currently, then I will go to the positive test (I bet Samuel Frost and Jason Bradfield are the only ones who understand that statement). That Roderick is what makes them good adversaries, (not good as in right) good as, for example, I play chess, I am not really good, but fair. But to play someone who also has many of the skills that they have philosophically, they are harder to deal with. They are clever, they use logic, they employ philosophical arguments that the average person has not even heard of and that frustrates the laymen. As far a heretics go, they are as good as they get! But their failure will be to underestimate my “strategy” and Samuel Frost calls it. Now, if he has figured it out already, it is not much of a strategy is it? Sorry, Samuel, I had to not respond before, I just love you thinking you got me cornered and your getting the smoke and mirrors. Now, to be sure, it is not a game at all, but it is unquestionably strategic. However, that is the philosophical side of me coming out.
Roderick states: Dr. T says: "I chose the "propositions" of the Bible because God says that I must believe His Word. Why do you choose other non-biblical propositions?" Dr. T, you didn't choose the propositions in this case, but rather the heretic has chosen them, if you allow his false proposition to stand.”
Dr. Talbot responds: Roderick, let me see, Dr. Calvin started with that proposition, Dr. Van Til, Dr. Clark, Dr. Frame, Dr. Bahnsen, Dr. Gentry, the Westminster Divines, are you saying that they are all hereitics? I mean, Most of the fellows at SGP or PD are younger than I am! I taught Samuel Apologetics! Are you kidding! I cannot wait to get my paper out on this site about Calvin’s Doctrine of Scripture.
Roderick states: Now, you can do one of two things; (1) Let the heretical proposition stand and let the heretic take you on an "exegetical / hermeneutical" wild-goose chase as you pretend that their handling of Scripture is on par with historic Christian interpretation.
Dr. Talbot responds: First, it is you who is pretending! You are pretending to know something that you know very little about. Secondly, well Paul T, what Samuel did not say about you, Roderick just did! Paul T, I will apologize for Roderick. I think you are dealing with the issues of exegesis and Scripture and that is what must take place. Oh, and to all you Reformed theologians, living and dead, I also apologize for Roderick.
Roderick states: “(2) You can point out that false proposition of the heretic and let them know they cannot engage you with Scripture until they and you first have a discussion as to why their proposition (driving their exegesis) is wrong.”
Dr. Talbot responds: Just another fallacy, you sure have a lot of them! It is a false dilemma that I only have two options. I bet if you think real hard, no, scratch that, I will proved another choice, at least one that will prove my point, but if you need more, I can provide them also: (3) I can engage them in ‘testing truth claims” and then deal with exegetical studies. Thus, I have three options, not two as you falsely state.
Roderick states: “I have simply chosen course 2 and yet you want to berate me for it? Of course I can discuss the "propositions of the Bible" with a heretic, since as you admit, the SKEW their very interpretation of the Bible. With all their redefinition of terms, false etymologies and complete disregard for context. It is almost as pointless as discussing football with someone who insist on calling it basketball and calling touchdowns, layups. They are operating on a faulty view of the basics.”
Dr. Talbot states: This reminds me of the democratic national convention - flip/flop.
Roderick states: “Let me conclude with saying I find it commendable that you for stating you "will not hold back anything on what I believe is 'errant theology.'" My only concern is that you waited so long as Frost "prostituted" (your word) WTS, Clarkianism and his training as being the reason he has embraced the heresy of hyperpreterism.
Dr. Talbot responds: Roderick, again you put words into my mouth! Do you know how bad they taste! How do you know I have not confront Samuel? Why did Samuel write publicly that I thought his eschatology is heretical? Did he use my name wrongfully? Well if he said that I thought his view was Reformed, Evangelical, or Orthodox, then yes he did. Just SHOW me the written statements. Now, if he said he was confronted by Dr. Crampton and myself on this issue over lunch (nearly 3 hours) he was under the gun, and that we acted like Christians, were not unkind, did not poison him, shoot him, stuck a knife in him, yes that is true.
Let me explain something Roderick. I did not know you until last year. I have no idea what made you leave HPs and come to the Reformed Evangelical Orthodox position. But I am sure of one thing, You have a zeal, but it is without knowledge. You show poor wisdom in all that you have said and done. I rarely engage people this personal, but you made it personal. And by your standards, I guess you have enjoyed this. I bet it would not matter who you were battling, just as long as it is battling someone.
Roderick states: “Why did you "hold back" while Frost, your own student has been actively promoting not only "errant theology,” but "damnable heresy"? I do thank you for some of your recent work but again, the hyperpreterists, with Frost at the head actually think you have sold the farm and given them a victory. Please be concerned.”
Dr. Talbot responds: Roderick, I am an Calvinisti, I have already read who wins this battle! Now you say that Samuel Frost has promoted “damnable heresy,” which I am some how responsible for. This irrational logic is beyond me. Well, Roderick, I have publicly said that I think that hyperpreterism is heretical. I will be engaging them exegetically in the near future. What I have not said is that they are not Christians or converted. They are not orthodox, but even the Reformers held that with the Catholic Church in a state of apostasy, there are many who are elect and Christian. Now that is an historical position of the Reformed and Presbyterian Churches until 1845, and it returned to the view as acceptable during the 1930s. To prove damnable, one I believe will have to exegetically prove that because of their exegetical fallacy, they have impeded upon an essential of the faith (and it need be on one essential), can it be called damnable heresy! One thing for sure, you have not even attempted the work required. Actually, Dee Dee has come much closer than you, and that is because she takes the Scripture in hand and deals with the arguments. With her raw talent, given an education at the seminary, she will be one “bad” (in a good way) apologists (my opinion only).
Dr. Talbot responds: Roderick, you don’t like the way I do things, and you have expressed that publicly in many ugly ways, and only to then apologize and then restate them again. If you think I really care about what you think after the way you acted, you are sadly mistaken. You know, Dr. Jay Adams says that an apology is just a modern humanistic way of saying, “I got caught,” “but if I hadn’t got caught,” “I would not have apologized.” You see Roderick your apologies are unbiblical! If you want to do anything, repent for your actions and words. Repentance means that you will do every thing that you can do to avoid repeating the same offenses again. But I will not hold my breath.
Roderick states: “I thank you for clearing your schedule to give me full attention, but please let it not distract from issues you may find more pressing.”
Dr. Talbot responds: What is a brother for?
Roderick states: “I ask you, as a brother to step up to the plate on this one and take responsibility for Frost and what he has done under your charge and to make it clear that, hyperpreterist propositions SKEW exegesis/hermeneutics -- to the point where discussion of exegesis/hermeneutics with a hyperpreterists is pointless without continuously bringing it back to the FACT of their overarching proposition.
Dr. Talbot responds: Sorry, I cannot do what you have asked me to do. It is unethical. You beat your drums and dance around the computer. I will battle as God has taught me by some of the best apologists in the country. I will do it on the terms and by the standards of ethical conduct and “testing truth claims” and “exegetical studies.”
Now here is the deal Roderick. I will take responsibility for Samuel, if you will take responsibility for President Obama, Senator Ted Kennedy (Guess God is doing that currently), Harry Reed, Nancy Pelosi, Dr. Kevorkian, Adolf Hitler, Judas, and, why not Adam (he got us here in the first place and you should be responsible for him too). Now be serious, how am I responsible for another man’s decisions? If that is the case, then we all answer for each other sins. You make no sense what so ever.
Nevetheless, I will confront the Hyperpreterist. Do I expect them to convert. Not likely. It would take the grace of God to change their minds. I am good at what I do, both in preaching and in apologetics, and even better in debating. But I am not so good that I will change them. You are trying to engage about 100 to 400 people. I have a better strategy, I am going to engage every Reformed and Evangelical Pastor in this country as to what Hyperpreterism is and what they need to understand. That part of my plan is almost over. What I do next? Let’s wait and see.
In Christ and His Church (the united and continuity of the saints)
Your humble servant in Christ,
Dr. Kenneth Talbot
Any further replies or responses will come as comments. I plan on do a complete line-by-line interaction with Dr. Talbot's charges soon.
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