Thursday, November 25, 2010

Response to Paul M. on Van Til's doctrine of the Trinity (part 2)

[continued from here]

In response to a brief comment I left on his blog, Paul responded to it somewhat. My brief comment was brief and only focused on the confessional aspect, while Paul's was all over the place.

Paul starts off accusing Gordon Clark as being Nestorian. This however is disputed. Firstly, I have briefly read through Clark's last book on the incarnation and it was his editor John Robbins who finished the book. Clark himself was in the process of thinking and working through the issues and it is not so sure that he will embrace a two person view of Christ although he tends towards that.

Secondly, Clark's definition of "person" is unique. For some strange reason, he refuses to use the historic definition of "person" and invented his own definition of person. If Clark was Nestorian because of that, Van Til is likewise a Monarchian for apparently inventing his own definition of the one person of God.

So while I do not follow [Gordon] Clark in his Christological adventures, and I think he is wrong, to say that Clark is a Nestorian is not true.

Is Paul here furthermore trying to stereotype those who disagree with Van Til as necessarily Clarkians who necessarily believe everything Clark taught? Just because I identify myself more with Clark does not make me a parrot of everything produced by the Trinity Foundation! It is extremely irritating being stereotyped as if those who identify themselves more with Clark do not have a brain of their own.

As for apparent contradictions and paradoxes, again there is a world of difference between contradictions and paradoxes. I have not yet read Anderson's book so I will withhold comment on it, and while I know of W. Gary Crampton's review of it, I have no opinion on Anderson's book.

Paul mentioned the words used by G. Vos and probably others such as Warfield. The issue here is that of precision. From the words used, can we say that just because Vos said "God is a person" thus Vos intends to teach Van Til's teaching of one person? I suggest not. Vos intends, at least from the short passage given, to emphasize that God is personal. Instead of saying "Because God is a person, we say 'God is a Spirit,'" we can substitute as saying "Because God is personal, we say 'God is a Spirit.'" Just because non-precise language was used does not mean that we can see the first inkling of Van Til's strange doctrine of the one person of God.

In conclusion, it is hoped that this 2-part response would be sufficient to prove that Van Til is wrong in his one person of the Trinity. We should reject it as errant and not in line with the historic Christian faith. Amen.

1 comment:

Paul Manata said...