Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Trinity and the 2nd Failure of Classical Theology

I have heard this before said to a classicist, " For someone who claims to love logic and sound reasoning, you surely don't make sense!" Whoever quoted this is a genius. He stumbled on the defining character of classical thought.

An earlier blog noted that one failure of Classical thought is that of definition. They cannot accept a "definition" like the Trinity without sacrificing their intelligence. So you commonly see them raise their hands in surrender and declare, "It is a mystery". What they really mean is that they do not understand the concept based on their foundational thinking. So Biblical "common sense" does not make sense to them. They have to re-interpret things according to their world ( which is many times out-of-this-world) and they end up being ridiculous to the simple thinker who has a lot of common sense.

The second failure of classical theology is the unrestrained generalization of a theological principle that may have only a limited application in Scripture the way God really intended it.

Predestination for example, is very specific in scripture and only applies to that which was explicitly declared as predestined. Classicists would readily grab that concept (which is good) but use it to apply to everything (which is a hermeneutical failure) almost unconditionally. Furthermore, a context analysis of the words predestined and fore-ordained in Scripture means a current state of being and really very simply means that God has made something (whatever is the subject) a "natural law". This immediately excludes a lot of things including how many spoons of sugar I will put in my coffee three days from now. It becomes ridiculous if you include that in God's natural law OR God's fore-ordination or God's predestination.

Prayer "according to God's will" is mentioned ONLY ONCE in scripture but the classicist tends to interpret its meaning quite incorrectly and then apply it to all his prayers and pretty soon discovers prayers that do not have answers. The hermeneutic meaning has been discussed elsewhere in this blog but suffice it to say that "according to God's will" simply meant by John was prayer that does not violate the character of God. This means that we can pray for our wishes and desires and not just our needs. In fact, Jesus himself says not to pray for our needs in Matthew 6. Hence, we should only pray for our aspirations, wishes and desires. Now these may not be in line with the perfect will of God but if it does not violate the character of God, God COULD definitely answer such prayer positively! A biblical example is when Israel asked Samuel for a king in the book of 1 Samuel. This was NOT in line with God's will at all since God himself said it, BUT HE GRANTED THEIR WISH ANYWAY!!! Classical theologians have a difficult time interpreting these events because this is quite an exception to their theology.

God does not relent, God has no shadow of turning does NOT imply that God does not change His mind about specific events. God's character and attributes never change, but He definitely changes his mind time and again depending on the prayers of his people. There are three great examples in Scripture at least: Moses convincing God to change his mind in destroying his people in Exodus 32 ending in verse 14; Hezekiah convincing God to extend his life which God did 15 more years even after God declared his will to Hezekiah that he should die that night; and, to make things even controversial, the Assyrians in Nineveh convincing God to change his mind on destroying their city in the book of Jonah! Many classical preachers are able to exegete these passages with satisfaction but they are quite helpless in trying to relate their theology to the evidences against it... very paradoxical and ironic, and they claim to be logical and intelligent? I believe they are, but they have the wrong foundation on Scripture.

...above is a draft which we will expand, expound and develop further....

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