I have been shifting in my attitude towards Vincent Cheung, as it can be seen from my posts. I initially stumbled unto his stuff quite some time back and found them provocative. Note, I found them provocative, not that I found them necessarily orthodox. So I had thought of what he wrote as something that could be read to stimulate thought on various topics, and that was then. Fast forward to now when one of my friends have sadly fallen under Cheung's spell, and things have become different. Now, it is personal. What grieves me is that I was the one who mentioned Cheung to him as someone who is an interesting thinker, but I never in a million years would have realized just how deep he has fallen into Cheung's heresies. This is a regret that I will hold for as long as he continues under Cheung's errors.
My one main article dealing with Cheung's thoughts deals with perhaps the most egregious and outrageous position he holds to, that God is the author of sin. This of course is just the surface of Cheung's many heresies. Cheung is a Rationalist (capital "R") sometimes, and a "biblicist" otherwise when it suits him. He utilizes philosophy as his first principles, despite any protestations to the contrary. After all, nowhere in Scripture is Occasionalism taught; you wouldn't find it. One could argue for Occasionalism, like Jonathan Edwards, but I doubt Edwards' Occasionalism is as bad as Cheung's. Starting from a priori "logical principles," Cheung utilizes Scripture propositions as proof-texts for his philosophy, instead of using Scripture as the beginning of knowledge (principium cognoscendi).
An example of Cheung's Rationalism is not hard to find. In his heretical book speaking about God being "the author of sin," Cheung writes about "metaphysical distanciation." Now, I seriously doubt THAT concept was being discussed in the Westminster Assembly at all. Is it something that Christians should think about? Yes, I think we should, which is why I had initial positive views of Cheung as an interlocutor. But note that this issue, while important, is an apologetic issue. It is something that we must think about in order to formulate a rational apologetic response. The concept of "metaphysical distanciation" itself should have no bearing at ALL on the biblical doctrine of God and theodicy. It should be discussed after the doctrine is established, not as something to establish doctrine. Scripture before reason, reason in service to the faith — that is how Christianity is to operate between the twin poles of Rationalism and Irrationalism. We reason AFTER faith, not before faith, which is one main reason why I am against natural theology.
Cheung establishes himself online as some sort of expert, formulating a path that is claimed to be the best of Van Tillian and Clarkian presuppositionalism, while rejecting anything in either that he thinks is false. Of course, who exactly is Vincent Cheung? Who knows? In which church is he a pastor, and who is he accountable to? I doubt many people know that. Unfortunately, the nature of the Internet is such that those who can make the most noise and appear knowledgeable have an influence that they probably will not have in real life. Unfortunately also, it is those who hunger for more of God's truth that will be attracted to his form of godliness. It is past time that Cheung is exposed, and I as someone who identifies with Clarkian apologetic want nothing to do whatsoever with this heretic. He does not speak for [G.H. Clark] and there is no "progression" from [G.H. Clark] to him. I have read Clark, and I have read Van Til, and I read Cheung. To put it in perspective, if I were given the choice between Van Til and Cheung, I will choose Van Til. Even the "one-person" teaching of Van Til is more orthodox in comparison to Cheung's blasphemies.
After saying all that, why do I juxtapose Cheung with 18th century English Hyper-Calvinism? I put them together because Cheung's emergence is very similar to the emergence of English Hyper-Calvinism. The spiritual climate of the times were similar, the pressures on the faith were similar, and the "solutions" of Cheung and the Hyper-Calvinists were similar. Through looking at the history of the 18th century English Hyper-Calvinism, it is hoped that we can see the similarity in our times, and beware of people like Cheung, and not just Cheung, but also anyone like him.
[to be continued]