Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Cheungism, Biblicism and philosophy

Those who claim to have no tradition are often the ones with the most traditions -paraphrased saying of Dr. James R. White

An unpublished comment by the Cheungian Gregory S. Gill, which had violated rule number 5 (and thus deleted), claimed to follow the Scriptures and not philosophy in his holding to the heresy that God is the Author of sin. Looking at that comment, I didn't know whether to laugh or to cry, such is how terribly inane such statements are. There is no one without philosophy. The question however is whether one is conscious of it. Nobody actually arrives at the Scriptures, or any other book for that matter, a tabula rasa. In this particular instance, Gill smuggled his philosophy of nominalism into the text of Scripture. Where in Scripture is nominalism taught? Nowhere of course. He smuggled his philosophy under the pretense of reading Scripture only, and then accuse those who disagree with his philosophy of importing philosophy into the text of Scripture. Oh, the irony of ironies!

That is why biblicism is wrong. There are all manner of biblicists around, and it would truly be a thing to behold if you could place a couple of them in the same room to discuss theology. Each of them will accuse the other of importing philosophy into the text and distorting the "plain teaching" of Scripture, and each of them will deny the charge. The Jehovah's Witness, the Seventh-Day Adventist, the Arian, the Socinian — all claim to follow the Scriptures only. I could just imagine the chaos that would erupt when the accusations of "philosophy" start flying around the room they would be placed together.

The alternative to biblicism (Solo Scriptura) is Scripture as foundation, reading Scripture with an understanding of Scripture as the norming norm (norma normans non normata) and the Christian tradition as the normed norm (norma normans et normata). That is why, although we should not slavishly follow philosophy, we need to understand it and realize its use in theology, especially classical theology's usage of Aristotelianism. No one philosophy is sacrosanct, but the situatedness of theologizing imply that in some sense, the philosophies utilized in the Christian tradition are in some ways integral to the orthodox Christian faith, in the way those doctrines have been historically understood and formulated. One cannot reject them because of its "philosophical underpinnings," since we as humans are unable to transcend philosophizing, and thus we must always utilize philosophy of one kind or another. So instead of thinking we can transcend our historical situatedness, it would be better that we acknowledge our own traditions and philosophies, thus enabling us to be most honest and enabling more genuine discussions over any matters of controversies.

This side of post-modernity, denying the idea of human situatedness is not tolerable. Whatever its faults, the postmodern project has exposed the hubris of humans trying to transcend their creaturely status. It is therefore illustrative when Cheungians claim access to truth that are untied to historical or philosophical contingencies. By denying situatedness, Cheungians deny the archetypal/ ectypal distinction and erode the Creator-creature distinction. Instead of thinking God's thoughts after Him, they want to think the very thoughts of God in se. It is clear which one is more bounded by philosophy and contrary to the Reformed faith, and its naive view of philosophy and history marks it as not worthy of intellectual consideration.


Gregory S. Gill said...

Daniel, my dear brother in Jesus Christ, you have taken things terrible out of context. I never every denied that I don't have nor use any philosophy, all humans do to some extent, to one degree or another. With me the bible determines my philosophy not the other way around. That is what I aim for, I may not be perfectly there as yet but I believe I'm growing in that direction day by day. From what I have read of your writings I think the same of you too, that's why you're a Calvinist. What I would argue is that on the matters of "free agency", "compatibilist freewill", and you saying "God can't directly cause someone to do evil because of His nature" is philosophy determining your theology, and not vice versa which is the way it ought to be. Your positions on those issues are determined by the Greeks and not by the bible. When our theology on any subject is determined by our philosophy instead of vice versa that's very, very bad James White, often criticizes William Lane Craig for that very terrible error.

I fully agree with Gordon H. Clark, that God decreed both the ends and the means. There are secondary causes, God Himself don't rape anyone, steals things, lies, tempts, etc. but He directly decreed and cause them all. All are fully under His direct sovereign rule and control thus there is no such thing as "free agency and compatibilist free will" or a renegade wave, molecule, particle or subatomic particle in all of His creation plus God knows everything which also rule out all of such as well. If "free agency and compatibilist free will" (which is just mere freewill) was real then we will not be able to know if the bible had in any error, because the human authors could of made errors if such existed. God directly sent a lying spirit to deceive King Ahab.

When we can't present scripture in proper context to show that we got out believes from the bible, then is when we should know its our philosophy that is determining our theology and not vice versa, now that's very bad. And you can't present any scripture at all (even out of context, that's how bad it is) to defend your believes on the issues above that you hold to.
I would encourage all to read our exchange of comments below your article at: http://puritanreformed.blogspot.com/2014/08/vincent-cheung-and-18th-century-english.html

Gregory S. Gill said...

Instead of "free agency" and "compatibilist free will" which I fully reject, I fully believe in "compatibilist creaturely will". There is a world of difference between them, the later (the belief that I hold to) is biblical.

PuritanReformed said...


stop making up your own terms and definitions, and then impose them on everyone such that they must define terms and phrases the way you do. And if they don't, they are "using philosophy."

Nowhere in the Bible is the term "compatibilist creaturely will" found either

Gregory S. Gill said...

The concept "compatibilist creaturely will" is what the bible teaches as we are all God's creatures including our wills.

PuritanReformed said...

The phrase "compatibilist creaturely will" is NOT found in the Bible, period. And who gave you the right to ignore 3+ millennia of philosophizing to create your own terms when there are already suitable ones available?

And no, I'm not looking for an answer.

Gregory S. Gill said...

The terms "free agency", and
"compatibilist free will" are not found in the bible either. Even terms whose concepts are in bible are not found in the bible as well such as "Trinity", "Theology", etc. And the cults love to use the argument that because a term or phrase is not found in the bible means its concepts is not there as well, don't lower yourself to their very low standards, I expect much, much better of you even while we disagree on certain matters.

One of the ways to know if you're teaching the same thing as the authors of the bible is that your teachings will logically provoke the same questions that their teachings provoked, because human nature has not changed. So how does your teaching on "free agency", and "compatibilist free will" logically in one form or the other provoke the questions:

1. Is God unjust?

2. Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?

3. Why did you make me like this?

Romans 9:14, 19, 20 (NIV)

Remember "free agency", and
"compatibilist free will" must be free by definition.

> And who gave you the right to ignore 3+ millennia of philosophizing to create your own terms when there are already suitable ones available?

Isaiah 8:20 "To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn." - English Standard Version.

I don't care how old the philosophies are. All that I care about is what the word of God says, and its my ultimate standard for everything.

PuritanReformed said...


that is absolute trash, and you know it. Your inane reasoning is dumb, because I can just say that God positively does and relishes in evil, and the same "objections" from Rom. 9 can apply if you disagree with me.

So, if I say God relishes in doing evil, how will you refute THAT based upon Rom. 9? Is God unjust if he relishes evil?

Your objections are stupid to the extreme. I only respond because there are actually people that stupid!

>I don't care how old the philosophies are. All that I care about is what the word of God says, and its my ultimate standard for everything.

THAT is the very definition of Biblicism. Good night sir! And unless you can write a much more intelligent comment, don't bother commenting here. I'm not going to be dragged down further to that level.

Gregory S. Gill said...

Definitely for sure if your teaching is not logically provoking the same objections that the authors of the bible logically provoked at their teachings then know for sure you're not teaching the same thing, that's beyond dispute. And you should know at least that much.

>So, if I say God relishes in doing evil, how will you refute THAT based upon Rom. 9? Is God unjust if he relishes evil?

It all depends on what you mean if you mean God Himself commits evil, wickedness, or sin then I'll say the objector is correct "Is God unjust", and such is not in line with Rom. 9. But if you mean it in the sense of Deuteronomy 28:63 then I'll say that's God's absolute sovereign divine biblical prerogative, and that's fully in line with Rom. 9.

>THAT is the very definition of Biblicism.

I fully 100% agree with you there on that one.

PuritanReformed said...

You just shot yourself on the foot. Good day