Saturday, October 25, 2008

Afterword on Neo-Calvinism

After reviewing my entries on Neo-calvinism, I felt it would be good, for clarity, to deal with a few issues not discussed in them. I wish to make clear at the outset, however, that these issues are not necessary for either the Dutch (Kuyperian, Neo-calvinist) School or for the Scottish(Warfieldian, Princeton) School of which I am and so are not necessary dividers between the two schools.


While I appreciate the logic underpinning Benjamin Warfield's philosophy and consider him to be a better candidate for America's Greatest Philosopher over the much beloved Jonathan Edwards, (I would also give Gordon Clark the America's Greatest Theologian title over Jonathan) I do disdain his Theistic Evolution views and firmly adhere to a 6 Day Creationism. Both a normal (logical) reading of scripture and the clear evidence from creation itself prove the earth to be consistent with the Genesis account.

While I am not a "Scientist" by profession the arguments made by ministries such as The Institute For Creation Research, Creation Ministries International and Answers In Genesis ,which are headed up by professional scientists, are very convincing. Questions like how our sun still burns?, how the earth's magnetic field still functions?, Why the moon is still a satellite when it is slowly moving away from the earth? and many more seem to be best answered from a young earth schemata than a 6 billion year old earth. The best evidence is that God was there to view the creation, as He created it, and to believe Him when he tells us how he did it. There is also no archaelogical or anthropological finds such as a "Missing Link" to contradict the Bible.

While it is disheartening that a lot of the scientists at the ministries listed above, if calvinist at all are neo-calvinist and Hugh Ross's ministry at Reasons To Believe, which supports a Day-age Theory, gives homage to Ben Warfield, this does not mandate a necessary relationship. R. C. Sproul, like myself agrees with Warfield's logical (as opposed to Kuyper's mystical ) approach and is convinced by the evidence of a young earth.


Another issue is the question of Supra- versus Infralapsarianism. This discussion pertains to the order and extent of God's predestinating purpose in creation. This is a complicated discussion and I intend to do an in depth look at it in a future blog but I do want to say here that I believe that supralapsarianism is the most consistent and scriptural understanding of God's sovereignty. The supposed problem is Charles Hodge, Ben Warfield, A.A. Hodge, John Gerstner, R.C. Sproul and the others of the Princeton school are infralapsarian whereas Abraham Kuyper, Herman Bavinck, Cornelius VanTil and others of the Neo-calvinist school are supralapsarian. I do not see a necessary connection, however, in the place of culture, philosophy and science in our lives and the lapsarian question. Many supralapsarians have not been Neo-calvinists. Theodore Beza, William Perkins, William Ames, Francis Gomarus, Samuel Rutherford, Thomas Goodwin, William Twisse, Gordon Clark, John Gill and I believe even John Calvin himself were all supralapsarians without the oddities of the Neo-calvinists. Supralapsarianism comes from an honest undertaking of passages like Isaiah 45:7, Proverbs 16:4, 2 Chronicles 18:19-22, Romans 9:6-33, 1 Peter 2:6-8 and Jude 4. While infras agree with election, faith as a gift and salvation by grace alone they neglect to realize that God's will is effective and seem to teach either man or the devil is the creator of evil and that God just leaves the non-elect in his sin to damn him instead of hardening his heart to sin for the purposes of damnation as the Bible teaches. These differences do not determine our views on art or cognitive attainment.


For further reading of Neo-calvinism consult the works of Abraham Kuyper, Herman Bavinck, Cornelius VanTil and Herman Dooyeweerd. Also Creating a Christian Worldview: Abraham Kuyper's Lectures on Calvinism by Peter S. Heslam, Science and Grace: God's Reign in the Natural Sciences by Morris and Petcher, Redeeming Science: A God-Centered Approach by Vern Poythress. For good books on science see The Genesis Flood: The Biblical Record and its Scientific Implications by Whitcomb and Morris, Scientific Creationism by Henry Morris, Bones of Contention: A Creationist Assessment of Human Fossils by Marvin Lubenow which deals convincingly with the anthropological question, Starlight and Time by Russell Humphreys which deals convincingly with the physics questions and Astronomy and the Bible by Donald B. Deyoung. For studies on supralapsarianism see Predestination and God and Evil both by Gordon Clark. For other important studies consult Reformed Theology In America: A History of Its Modern Development by David Wells, The Clark-VanTil Controversy by Herman Hoeksema, Cornelius VanTil: The Man and Myth by John Robbins, The Basis For the Doctrine of the Incomprehensibility of God in Gordon Clark and Cornelius VanTil by Bradley Swygard, The History and Theology of Calvinism by Curt Daniel and Classical Apologetics: A Rational Defence of the Christian Faith and a Critique of Presuppositional Apologetics by Sproul, Gerstner and Lindsley. For another example of Neo-calvinism look at the Institute For Christian Studies.

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