Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Book Review: Reforming Apologetics by J.V. Fesko

Dr. John Fesko was one of my professors when I was at WSCAL. He is a learned professor deep into historical sources and Reformed doctrine. He has however wrote a book on apologetics last year entitled Reforming Apologetics: Retrieving the Classic Reformed Approach to Defending the Faith, which stirred up some controversy due to its attack specifically on Cornelius Van Til and Vantillian presuppositionalism. Due to the subject nature, I decided to check it out when I can. I have finally read it and wrote a review of it, here. An excerpt:

With the resurgence of interest in Aristotelianism within the Reformed community, it should not come as a surprise that the topic of apologetics would come under the spotlight for ressourcement. Presuppositionalism after all is a novel system that began in the 20th century with Cornelius Van Til and/or Gordon H. Clark, whereas classical apologetics was the system utilized in the Medieval, Reformation, and Post-Reformation era.

In this light, Dr. John Fesko has taken on the task of “reforming” apologetics. According to Fesko, the 20th century turn to presuppositionalism is flawed and contrary to the Reformed tradition. While not necessarily against all aspects of presuppositionalism, stating for example his position that the TAG (Transcendental Argument for God) “can be a useful argument” (p. 137), Fesko rejects presuppositionalism as a whole.


As a Clarkian presuppositionalist, I reject this approach to apologetics. And while I do respect Dr. Fesko's scholarship, on this issue I'm afraid he is way out of his depth.

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

On the use of words circumscribing sin, and the perception of insults and derogation

Lift up your eyes to the bare heights, and see!
Where have you not been ravished?
By the waysides you have sat awaiting lovers
like an Arab in the wilderness.
You have polluted the land
with your vile whoredom.
Therefore the showers have been withheld,
and the spring rain has not come;
yet you have the forehead of a whore;
you refuse to be ashamed. (Jer. 3:2-3 ESV)


In a Twitter exchange between Marianne (@The_Dark_Elf) and me, she astonishing paints herself in a corner in an attempt to make the word "whore" a reprehensible insult. My position was, and always is, that it is not right to demen, ridicule or mock women, but facts are facts. Calling a prostitute a whore is not an insult. Calling a loose woman a "slut" is not an insult either. Yes, IF one uses these terms to insult the person, then it becomes an insult. But just because a word can become an insult does not necessarily make it an insult. In the thread, I also pointed out how the postmodern Western culture is against terms like "sodomy," "immorality (except when applied to right-wing 'sins' especially 'Capitalism')," "adultery," "fornication" and other such words. Are these words to be blacklisted just because others see them as 'insults'? Who exactly determines what word is to be an insult and what not?

To press home the fact that "whore" is not an insult, I had directed Marianne to Jeremiah 3:2-3, where God inspired the words (in Hebrew) where God accused Israel "you have the forehead of a whore." Marianne finally admitted that "some versions" use the word "whoredom," and then asserted that "whoredom" does not mean "whore," and that the two are as different as "cyclopes" and "cyclones." I do not know whether to laugh or to cry at this tweet. "Whoredom" is merely the substantival adjectival form of the verb "to whore," describing the state of a person whoring around. I am not brought up with Shakespearean English either, so this is not an archaic term at all. So why the weaseling around the fact that "whore" is a perfectly proper English term?

The problem here is that too many especially in the West have a different value system in place rather than the value system of the Bible, where certain terms are, subconsciously or consciously, termed "out of bounds" and thus not to be utilized. This is not necessarily speaking of Marianne, but it is fascinating to me how many people are offended when you used words as Scripture uses it. In a private FB post, I had stated the fact that Scripture treats LGBTQ as abominations, and it was fascinating how even a pastor can be offended by it. It is truly weird time indeed, when proper English words are taken to be "out of bounds" even though they are not archaic, just because these people have imbibed on the culture's value system instead of the biblical value system.