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Jason Harris

Jason loves to communicate God's word both in the local church and at conferences and retreats. Jason has been involved with Worship Music since 1996 and InFocus since 2005. Jason has degrees in theology, music, accounting, and research and is currently a PhD candidate and lecturer in the College of Business, Law, and Governance at James Cook University, Cairns. Jason is also a pastor at CrossPoint Church. You can contact Jason at jason@teaminfocus.com.au.

27 Comments

  1. avatar

    Jolita

    Wow. So let me get this straight – you’re a self-identified basic presuppositional evidentialist? Whew…

    Reply
  2. avatar

    Joshua

    I’ve read Kent’s 3 posts on Epistemology, and now this, and I have to say that I’m finding him more convincing. I think this was written before his other two posts though, so I’d like to see what else you have to say after reading those.

    The biggest problem I have is with your claim “All Truth is God’s Truth”. That claim has been dealt with here: http://www.psychoheresy-aware.org/truth92.html

    It’s only God’s truth if it is actually true. You list the researcher, the psychologist and the botanist as examples of people who can discover truth. I agree they can, in the same way an unsaved mathematician can discover that 2+2 = 4. It’s just that all three of those people discover “truth” all the time that we know from the Bible to be lies.

    The researcher and the botanist discover amazing “truths” about the age of the world. The psychologist discovers that you’re not a sinner, you just have low self esteem. The researcher discovers JEDP. All these men are exceptionally prone to self deception due to their unregenerate state.

    It is also plain that men are lead to a huge degree by the angle they approach a topic. The man who approaches fossils from a “millions of years” perspective finds exactly what he is looking for. Modern textual critics approach the Bible from “let’s pretend this is any old book, then try and come up with theories to explain stuff”. Their approach is largely responsible for their false “discoveries”. When men reject the doctrine of preservation, then come to me with an explanation for why we have what we have in the Bible today, is it any wonder that it’s all in terms of probability and likelihood and conflations. Should it surprise me that they would discover that God kept the real Scripture in hiding for 1700 odd years, and believers all those years were reading from corrupted documents? Should it surprise me that it’s only these same guys who feel they can “restore” the true text through their secular methods?

    What these men do and what they have discovered is flatly contradicted by Scripture, no matter how many “conservative” Christians have jumped onboard. Your epistemology is being twisted by your belief that these extra-Biblical “truths” are legitimate judges of Scripture. Either that, or you’ve applied your reason to rejecting the Biblical doctrine of preservation. Like it or not, you are a rationalist. So is Wallace. You have pitted your reason alongside modern textual critics against God’s revelation. There is conflict and you’ve sided with your reasoning. I’m not looking down on you for that – many Christian’s including myself do this all the time. I would describe myself like you do: basic presuppositional evidentialist. But there are times when I try and use my reasoning to argue against what is true and revealed in Scripture. Every time I justify watching a movie I know I shouldn’t, or defend some sin in my life, I’m pitting my reasoning against Scripture. I used to argue that folks who hadn’t heard of Jesus could still be saved. I put all my intellect and reasoning into it. I was wrong, I was fighting against Scripture. I think you are doing something similar.

    Reply
  3. avatar

    Jason Harris

    Joshua,

    Thanks for your comment. I’m quite busy at the moment but do plan to follow up with a response to Kent’s other two articles.

    I will comment briefly on your statement that “It’s only God’s truth if it is actually true.” I agree. And that’s the point of the statement. If it is indeed true, it is God’s truth. That in no way detracts from the ultimate authority of God’s Word, but it does present an epistemological system that can honestly deal with difficulties instead of retreating to pure fideism’s simplistic, prideful, and artificial security.

    Reply
  4. avatar

    Joshua

    Gah, I tried to rewrite the first part, but ended up posting both the bit I scratched and the bit I wanted to keep.

    Ignore this sentence: …

    Reply
  5. avatar

    Jason Harris

    Joshua,

    lol I hate it when that happens to me!

    I’ve updated the comment to what I think you meant it to be. I emailed the original comment to you in case I got it wrong. Feel free to drop me a note if it’s still not right.

    Reply
  6. avatar

    Joshua

    I still think the way you are mixing the two is risky. To start with what you think is truth and then try and walk it back is a very powerful temptation.

    “I think this is true, and all truth is God’s truth, therefore this is God’s Truth!”

    I don’t think that Kent Brandenburg’s fideism is anything like what you describe. He presented a powerful case against the “Forget God, I’m just going to follow the evidence on this one” line of reasoning. Men have done that with Evolution and ended up in a ditch. They’ve done it with miracles and ended up in a ditch. Somehow, men think that this faithless activity is valid and helpful when applied to discerning which Words are actually God’s. It isn’t. This was the majority of the thrust of Kent’s first post, and so far you’ve failed to address it.

    Reply
  7. avatar

    Joshua

    Thanks for editing me Jason. I appreciate your spirit in all this even though we drastically differ. If you go to the Good Shepherd Baptist Leadership Conference, or are going to the 2010 NBF let me know.

    Reply
  8. avatar

    Jason Harris

    Well, we agree on that. It is risky. Very risky. But the only alternative I can see is to run to the false security of a simplistic approach. I’m advocating doing something that is risky and dangerous… pursuing truth whatever the cost.

    I did purposefully choose not to respond to the application Kent made to the text/translation issue (as noted in the post above) because I believe it would distract from the crucial epistemological issues at hand.

    I’m still not sure if I’ll make the NBF this year. Uni is keeping me busy and poor! lol We’ll see brother.

    Reply
  9. avatar

    Joshua

    I understand you are trying to focus just on Kent’s epistemology, but I think you’ve failed to prove he’s on the wrong track. I think that would be plain to anyone comparing this post to his.

    Are We Rationalists:
    Firstly, it’s evident that you are a rationalist. When you set Scripture aside, investigate a matter from a neutral point of view and come up contradiction to Scripture: Rationalism. A man who speaks abrasively and angrily may not describe himself as rude, but his actions demonstrate the reality. Fundamentalists and Conservative Evangelicals may not want to describe themselves as rationalists, but their behavior is betraying them. Kent hasn’t set up a straw man, he has accurately described what he sees.

    Believing Scholarship:
    Wallace takes issue with Christians starting with Biblical presuppositions and investigating from there. He IS advocating that we set Scripture aside and investigate purely from the rules of the man made science of Modern Textual Criticism.

    I’m sorry, but that isn’t being objective, that’s being disobedient. Let me demonstrate: You seem to advocate the Creationist movement. That movement came from men who decided that no matter what a bunch of unsaved (and some professing Christian) scientists claimed about the Earth, that Scripture said otherwise and thus insisted on interpreting evidence in light of our faith in the Bible.

    Now naturally that yielded a wealth of information that supports the truth – God created the world a few thousand years ago, and that evolution is rubbish. But that entire movement came not from “forget what the Bible says, lets just review the evidence in our human reasoning”, but from “that can’t be true Biblically, and we are going to prove it”.

    Why does that work? Because your presuppositions have a MASSIVE influence upon your reasoning. If your presupposition is wrong, you’ll end up discovering thousands of things that aren’t so in your “objectivity”. I feel the several examples I’ve given here and above prove that beyond question.

    What would you think of a man who said “We can’t let Scripture get in our way of determining how mankind came to be, and the age of the Earth. Now we do have a Scriptural basis, but we’re going to evaluate this objectively. From what we can tell objectively, it would seem that the earth is millions of years old and man evolved.”

    What would you think if he rejected the claim that he was a rationalist, claimed that he still had a Scriptural underpinning but had just objectively followed where the evidence had led…. According to you, this man is a basic presuppositional evidentialist.

    That doesn’t add up. His conclusion is comprehensively refuted by Scripture. I can’t even admire the way he arrived at his conclusion – he trusted his reasoning over God’s and got it wrong. He is showing no faith, and has thus fallen into deception.

    You seem to feel that there is something admirable in men who ignore Scripture (like Wallace does) and just tries to work stuff out with their own reasoning. It doesn’t work Jason. It never has worked, and it never will. Kent is right here – your epistemology is flawed rationalism.

    This isn’t coming from “simplistic fiedism”. Anyone who has read anything Kent writes will know his reasoning is anything but simple and un-intellectual. He isn’t saying no one should think about the textual problems – they should.

    That’s your first two points answered – and I didn’t dig into the textual stuff, I just exposed faulty reasoning. I’ll come back at another time and deal with the rest.

    It’s a shame you cant make it to NBF, but if you can next year it’s being held at Good Shepherd Baptist in Brisbane, which is where I attend. I have seen some uni students come up from down south to attend our leadership conference, so I was wondering if you were one of em. Probably not though.

    Reply
  10. avatar

    Joshua

    Part 2: The limitations of human rationality and What is Truth?
    Again, I think you’ve failed to prove your point here. Jesus said “Thy word is truth”. The unbeliever has no ability to read and understand Scripture, which contains truth.

    They do obviously have the ability to reason and discover some things, as shown before, but are constantly erring because they are not guided by the Truth – Christ and Scripture. The unbeliever can deduct some facts, but then is left on his own to use these facts to deduce truth. And he gets it wrong, over and over again as I have already shown.

    The unbeliever can love, but love unshackled by the constraints of Scripture and the guidance of the Holy Spirit becomes perverted. The unbeliever can have spiritual experiences, but without Scripture and the Holy Spirit it is nothing. The unbeliever can reason, but reason unshackled from the constraints of Scripture and the guidance of the Holy Spirit is just fleshly reasoning and often flawed.

    That is all Kent is arguing. That is all Kent has proved. That’s all he needed to prove for his argument to stand. And he has proved conclusively that modern critical text advocates actually think it’s a great thing to unshackle reasoning from Scripture and the Holy Spirit. Little wonder the history of it is replete with heretics and unbelievers.

    That’s why your section headed Interpretation is utterly wrong. His epistemology isn’t flawed at all, nor is it hypocritical. He uses logic, researching, debate and reasoning all the time, in both his interpretation of Scripture and his apologetics. He isn’t hypocritically calling you (and other MVOs)out because you use all those as well. He uses those under the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit and Scripture, and refuses to divorce the two. Wallace and friends proudly divorce the two, and think it’s the only way to be intellectually credible. It isn’t – it’s faithless, and the well trod path to error. He is now at the end of that path and encouraging others to walk down the same road.

    And that’s the lot. I’ve demonstrated why each of your paragraphs fail to undermine the epistemology that you are attacking. I’ve written a lot, and I know it’s a lot of work to answer stuff like this, so don’t feel obliged to reply. I just didn’t want to leave it unanswered. God Bless. Josh

    Reply
  11. avatar

    Jason Harris

    Joshua,

    Thanks for the posts. I’ll try to be succinct in my response.

    First, I’ll mention that this post is a critique of Kent’s post, not a presentation of or defense of my epistemology. Nor is it an attack on Kent’s epistemology. It is a critique on this particular post. For a brief overview of my epistemology, you would need to follow the five links at the bottom of the post.

    1. Rationalism.

    When Kent and I used the term Rationalism, we capitalised the “R.” We are referring to system of thought with defined ideas and a history. I am definitely not a Rationalist in the modern sense of the term.

    You lay out three points in your idea of rationalism:

    a) When you set Scripture aside,
    b) investigate a matter from a neutral point of view and
    c) come up contradiction to Scripture

    In my study and reading, I don’t do any one of these. I never set Scripture aside in my thinking, I am a self-defined presuppositionalist so I can never seek to investigate a matter from a neutral point of view, and my conclusions never come up in contradiction to Scripture.

    2. Believing scholarship.

    Your use of Creationism is a great point because it highlights an important issue. Scripture clearly teaches six day literal creation. This does not mean we don’t look at astronomy or biology objectively. Sure, we go to these subjects with presuppositions (including the secular scientists), but we also seek to understand the facts objectively. Observing. Testing.

    That’s why I am a Presuppositional Evidentialist.

    There is nothing rebellious about this. We may temper our conclusions based on our presuppositions, but correctly understood science will ALWAYS back Scripture. When the two contradict, we go back to our hermeneutic and we go back to our scientific theories to see where OUR error was made. If that scares us, it is because we don’t trust that Scripture can be accurately and authoritatively interpreted.

    Again, you would find the post “Three Propositions on Rationality” helpful perhaps in understanding what I actually believe about this.

    3. What is Truth?

    You are correct to point out that the lost can often err in their understanding of the truth. But so can believers. Yes, we have the Word of God, but that doesn’t give us a monopoly on truth. It merely gives us some absolute and real truth that we can build on.

    4. Interpretation.

    First, let me please correct you on one point. I am not “MVO.” That is an inaccurate and spurious label.

    Again, I’m not sure you understand my position on this point. If man is fallen, then he is fallen and the application is to both the believer and the unbeliever. Human rationality is indeed limited. As a Presuppositional Evidentialist, I firmly hold to both believing scholarship (interpretation) and the proper and humble use of human rationality.

    I have been to the GSBC leadership conference several times over the years. I don’t think I’ll make it this year due to uni schedule.

    Grace to you.

    Reply
  12. avatar

    Joshua

    Hey Jason,
    Thanks for the reply. I read your five links prior to my 2nd post I believe. I found much I could agree with, and plenty to disagree with as well.
    1. I understand what you are saying about Rationalism. I just think your writings belie your claims. I can say “I’m a Capitalist, but I also believe that the government should own the means of production, we should abolish private property and we need to redistribute wealth in our society”. Even if you reject any claims of communisitic influence, it doesnt change the evidence. Brandenburg wasn’t claiming you were proud Capital R Rationalists, he was just claiming that your thinking had been influenced for the worse by their philosophy, then provided some solid examples of it.

    2. Scripture clearly teaches the preservation of the Words of God, just as it teaches literal days. I’m sorry, but this objectivity you speak of is a fable. I spent 3.5 years at UQ doing my science degree, and I got to meet real live scientists doing real research. They have no objectivity. Every one is led by their presuppositions. I have a suspicion I used to think like you did. I thought that people (unbelievers) would respect me if I came to my conclusions through studying evidence and leaving the Bible out of it. It doesn’t work. God doesn’t praise that. That thinking didn’t come from Scripture – you got it from the Rationalists. You’ve mixed it with Scripture like the Samaritans mixed Jehovah with idols, and think because part of what you are doing involves Scripture that God will be pleased with you. It’s pure, faithless rebellion. You aren’t setting about proving the truth of Scripture with science – rather you are putting God to the test of your manufactured science and own reasoning. Kent described it perfectly: seeing is believing.

    3. You dodged my argument and just restated that believers and non-believers can get things wrong. No one has argued against that. I said that reason unshackled from Scripture is perverted. I said that your epistemology is based off the idea that this is the only way to be intellectually credible. You call it “being objective”.

    4. If you don’t wish to be labelled MVO, then I wont use it. I do understand your position. Man is fallen and human rationality is indeed limited. The only way in which it can be properly used is under the guidance of Scripture and the Holy Spirit. Your epistemology is built upon the foundation that reason without either is a dependable source of Truth. I see the claims you are making about your position, but the evidence belies you.

    Always next year for conferences Sir, they come round quicker and quicker each year!

    God Bless,

    Josh

    Reply
  13. avatar

    Joshua

    I know you’ve already read it, because you posted a comment on Kent’s 4th part, but I thought I’d post this over here because it fleshed out what I was saying about mixing Scripture with Rationalism:

    One word that stuck out to me in Wallace’s quote was the word “integration.” It is quite fitting for him, “the integration of theology and scholarship.” Integrationism is a big problem in evangelicalism. Normally when we think of integrationism, we think of the integration of the “science” of psychology with biblical counseling. This is the new Christian psychology. The critique of this would be the same as for Wallace’s integrationism. He mixes his science of textual criticism with biblical doctrine. We will corrupt the Bible, in this case the teaching of God’s Word and its text, when we practice this integration. And this all relates to epistemology. Can we trust man’s observations in either of these fields? The consequence as related to the text of Scripture is a lack of certainty in the text of God’s Word.

    In integrationism, there is an attempt to find truth in two places: in God’s revelation and in human observations. Often this act is justified by a misused mantra from history: “All truth is God’s truth.” This raises the level of man’s observations to “truth,” the same authority as scripture. Nowhere in the Bible do we see science to have a role in enhancing what God has said. We have no scriptural model for submitting the truth of Scripture to man’s findings or discoveries. Man’s discoveries do not even rise to the level of general revelation, let alone the truth of Scripture. By nature man doesn’t discover something that is authoritative.

    Reply
  14. avatar

    Jason Harris

    Joshua,

    Thanks for the comment. I’ve addressed many of your comments in the post I put up this morning so I’ll just make a few brief comments.

    1. The Britannica Online Encyclopedia defines modern Rationalism as “the philosophical view that regards reason as the chief source and test of knowledge.” This is not what I believe. This is not what I practice. My beliefs and actions are inconsistent with this philosophy.

    2. You said “I thought that people (unbelievers) would respect me if I came to my conclusions through studying evidence and leaving the Bible out of it.” I agree that this is foolish and rebellious thinking. If this is what you think I believe, you misunderstand what I believe.

    3. I agree that “reason unshackled from Scripture” is limited. That’s why I am an unflinching Presuppositionalist. Again, you demonstrate a misunderstanding of what I really believe.

    We cannot know God outside of his personal revelation of himself to us in Scripture. But to then disparage Evidentialism is to attack the very character of the God who is revealed in that revelation. God is a rational being and has set out Scripture evidentially. God created us in his own image as inherently rational beings. Any argument against that thesis would by its very nature be rational. The anti-intellectual approach of many Christians is just as foolish and destructive as is the unbelief and rebellion of Rationalism.

    4. It’s not that I just don’t want to be called MVO. It’s that the term is inaccurate. I do not believe we should use modern versions only. It’s a straw man label which intentionally misrepresents the position of the opponent.

    You said “Your epistemology is built upon the foundation that reason without either is a dependable source of Truth.” But you believe this as well.

    If you walked outside today and felt rain falling on your head, you would likely say “it’s raining.” This is a statement of fact which you base on neither Scripture nor the Spirit’s guiding. You base it merely on the empirical evidence and your rational faculties.

    So you think just like me on this particular issue. Of course the rub comes if Scripture says “on 23 April, 2009 at 11.30am, it will NOT be raining in QLD.” Then we would both be bound to say “The evidence seems to suggest to my mind and my senses that it is raining, but I choose to believe that God’s rationale is higher than mine and I believe that it is not raining.”

    I appreciate the strenuous discussion. It helps me be more clear and precise and provides crucial accountability to my thinking.

    Grace to you.

    Reply
  15. avatar

    Joshua

    Hey Jason,

    Thanks again for the reply. I’ve had a read of your other post.

    1. I think this is boiling down to a “Am not – are so! – Am not!” argument, so I’ll leave it there. I think your thinking has been tainted by their philosophy. You think it hasn’t. Further pushing of this point wont get either of us anywhere.

    2. You both claim that objectivity is important (aka, leave any biases out of it: “but we also seek to understand the facts objectively.” ), but also that you do not practice it (“I am a self-defined presuppositionalist so I can never seek to investigate a matter from a neutral point of view”).

    3. If this is so, why do you defend Wallace’s quote chastising evangelicals for letting their presuppositions influence their work?

    The argument is not against reason, it never has been. The argument is against the elevation of reason to a good provider of truth.

    4. I don’t believe that reason without Scripture or the Holy Spirit is a good source of Truth. You’re confusing truth with observations and information. Reason and science does not produce truth, it produces conclusions that it can support with evidence. Some of these conclusions may have overwhelming evidence at the time but be later found out to be false.

    Hence we have an ever shifting morass of “facts” produced by man and his reason. It isn’t producing or discovering truth – truth never changes, never alters.

    So when you pull out “All Truth is God’s Truth” – you are in error. You think man and his science can give you truth. Dr James Dobson once had an unsaved psychologist on his radio show, and justified it with “all truth is God’s truth”. Anyone who understands psychology understands the highly subjective, unverifyable nature of the field. That psychologist’s theories are now rejected and ignored by the professional psychology community.

    Where did that Truth go Jason, that “God’s Truth” that the psychologist was peddling? It’s fallen out of favour, and now is thus deemed “not true”. So what was true is now no longer true.

    How can this be? The answer is – it can’t. Truth either is or it isnt. Carnal reasoning can never provide it. You think it can. You think between Scripture and carnal reasoning, you can find truth. Thus the “Truth (2009 edition)” fresh from the presses of modern textual critics influences your view of Scripture.

    I don’t think Brandenburg is off in introducing MTC in a debate about epistemology. It shows the practical outworking of this philosophy.

    I appreciate your debate also. God bless,

    Josh

    Reply
  16. avatar

    Jason Harris

    Josh,

    2. It is impossible to not have bias. Therefore it’s impossible to be completely objective. When I argue for being objective, what I’m arguing for is taking science, archaeology, history, etc. seriously.

    We Fundamentalists tend to be very anti-intellectual. We mock “cemetery.” We can hardly say the word science with out adding “falsely so called.” Psychology must be said with a tone of disdain. And we teach revisionist history.

    This flagrant mocking of these fields of study implies that we think we believers have a monopoly on the truth, particularly the less educated believers.

    So no, I’m not saying we must set aside our Christian presuppositions in any of these fields, but I am saying that we need to take each of these fields seriously because they involve a process of learning truth and truth matters to God.

    3a. There is a difference between a basic presupposition such as the nature of God or the authenticity of Scripture and a smaller matter of interpretation such as which copies of the autographs are the best to use.

    Scripture never addresses the question of which copies are best to use in 2009. Though Kent and others will protest until they are blue in the face that Scripture does indeed address the issue, it simply doesn’t. Their interpretations are based on long, drawn-out logical (or rational) extrapolations integrated with their interpretation of historical, text-critical, and archaeological evidence. It is a possible interpretation of the facts, but it is not the historical one and it is not, in the opinion of much of Fundamentalism, the best interpretation.

    To bring these types of extrapolated interpretations to our study as if they were our basic (or fundamental) presuppositions is to assume what we are trying to argue. It lacks credibility and ultimately, it’s dishonest.

    3b. Reason is a provider of truth. Not all truth. Not ultimate truth. But clearly, without reason, we couldn’t even interpret God’s revelation.

    4. Information or conclusions can be true or untrue. So if you draw a conclusion that it is raining, it is either true or untrue (or conditionally true or untrue). I agree that we can’t always be sure our conclusions are absolute truth, but at some level, they are indeed a source of truth. We merely discover the truth that God made true.

    You repudiate the statement “All truth is God’s truth.” So is some real truth not God’s truth? Who’s truth is it? If it is not God’s truth, how can it be “truth”?

    Finally, the reason I wish this was being handled apart from the very controversial context in which he’s handling it is that many people will enter the discussion with their conclusion already drawn and will not be able to consider the issues on their own merit from Scripture and reason.

    Also, you write as if you know what my position is on “MTC.” I have not published my position on that so I wonder where your impression has come from.

    Grace to you.

    Reply
  17. avatar

    Joshua

    2. All the intellectual fields you mention can only be taken seriously in so far as they line up with Scripture. All of those fields seek to teach men. All the big names in History, Archeology and Science reject Scripture and teach “facts” to men to get them to reject the claims of God. They are treated far too seriously by both the Christian and the unbeliever alike. I had a reply here for why a suspicion of intellectualism is justified that ended up being a bit too blowy to leave, so I cut it out and put it in the next post.

    3a”Scripture never addresses the question of which copies are best to use in 2009.” Sure it does, in the same way that 2000 year old book answers questions about using a high speed fibre optic ADSL internet connection to access digital images of naked women. It gives you all the principles you need to make an informed and God honouring choice.

    “Their interpretations are based on long, drawn-out logical (or rational) extrapolations integrated with their interpretation of historical, text-critical, and archaeological evidence.”

    I know you are talking about Kent, but that’s actually a brilliant summation of the entire field of Modern Textual critics. Interesting that you criticize Brandenburg for the exact behavior you stay silent on in MTC.

    I’m sorry, but Kent’s position isn’t long and convoluted. He’s just countering men who have invented long and convoluted oppositions to Scriptural truth. It’s like talking for 2 hours, giving a man 1 hours rebuttal, then complaining that he’s taking too long at the 15 minute mark. The truth Kent is arguing can be explained to a 12 year old. He just goes longer and deeper to deny intellectuals of the blogosphere the opportunity to claim their is no serious reasoned opposition to their heresy.

    As to the claim of historical revisionism, the first time I interacted with you on What is Truth was to try and get you to answer Kent’s challenge to provide a single quote to prove the historicity of the MTC view of Scripture post 18th C. For some strange reason neither you nor anyone else answered him – yet he is the historical revisionist? Is it because he transgressed against the unchanging truth of secular historian consensus?

    3b – Reason isn’t a provider of truth, it just has the possibility of interacting with it. If used in the correct way, guided by the Holy Spirit and Scripture, it can be a medium through which God explains truth. Otherwise it’s just a broken instrument and one more tool in Satan’s kit to funnel men into Hell. Even the broken clock is right twice a day, but dont be fooled into thinking it’s useful.

    4. My issue is with the reasoning behind the statement. The statement itself is actually a nothing statement – it says nothing. I’ll show you logically:

    All Truth is God’s Truth
    Therefore Truth = God’s Truth
    Therefore All God’s Truth is God’s Truth.
    In other words – truth is truth. That’s not an argument, that’s a repetitious statement proving nothing.

    What you are actually saying is “fleshly reasoning is just as capable of furnishing me with Truth as Scripture is”. You deny it but it is so. You read books by men, think you now have truth because you agree with them, and one day will hopefully discover you were wrong. What happened to God’s truth then that science had furnished you with? You never had it, you just thought they could give it to you. You accepted a counterfeit.

    The nature of scientific “fact” and conjecture is ever shifting and changing. It’s slanderous towards God to try and call what you’ve derived from that mess: His truth.

    I read your attempt to try and disprove his point logically without getting into MTC. There was no killer blow, no gotcha moments of sheer logical and rational inconsistency.

    What I understand about you and MTC comes from reading your posts over at What Is Truth and here. If you think I’ve only got a superficial understanding, I’d be happy to be corrected.

    God bless,

    Josh

    Reply
  18. avatar

    Joshua

    NOTE: You don’t have to reply to this, it’s just an expanded justification of anti-intellectualism + some rhetoric I couldn’t help.

    The anti-intellectualism is justified. Heresy generally starts with the intellectual who exalts his reason over God’s. Why are so many of the once great American universities and theological colleges now hotbeds of heresy and blasphemy? The general public can see that the field of science and those who practice is (scientists) have gone to war against the notion of God. Psychology was created by men with a particular interest in the occult and a total rejection of God.

    All the fields you mention are veritable goldmines of examples for fundamentalists who deride them. These fields of knowledge are FAMOUS for their rejection of God – they are operated by men who are heavily influenced by the big names that came before them: Darwin, Freud, Jung, Kinsey, Dewey etc etc. Where do you think “I don’t believe in God, I believe in Science” came from?

    I think the anti-intellectual suspicion is justified. 1 Corinthians 1:26 says: For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

    These wise men after the flesh are not who God has chosen to teach truth to the believer. Notice that God never gave intellectuals to the church. He gave them prophets, he gave them teachers, he gave them preachers, he gave them elders and deacons, but no where is the intellectual found. Their is more understanding of the origins of the world and universe to be found in our 8 year old Sunday School class than there is in the entire Academic Faculty of the University of Queensland. Perfect fulfillment of the verse above, repeated in Bible believing churches and apostate scientific faculties across the world.

    I’m not some hick Christian railing against education and learning. I teach for a living. I have two university degrees. I went to a private school and got a good OP. I read books to increase my understanding. I’m not trying to toot my own horn, but this isn’t some kind of jealousy against folks that can achieve academically. I’ve been there in the science lab. I’ve seen it up close. And this is in real hard scientific fields like chemistry, not pseudosciences like blokes pontificating on the possibility that some guy 1500 years ago might have been tinkering with his copy of another couple of hundred year old document that may or may not have been an accurate copy of the original.

    And even these chemistry professors end up with their petty biases about the proper understanding of microscopic particles. They get involved in thinly veiled flamewars with other guys who don’t think their view of the particle theory is up to scratch. They have their heavyweights on each side who everyone likes to reference for years, until someone figures out that his dogmatic quote repeated in every journal wasn’t quite true all the time. They reference each other, mis-state, over-state their support and understate their difficulties. They come to amazing conclusions and discover it’s all bunk years later. They steal theories and research off each other, while jealously guarding their own. This is all describing real scientists who use real equipment to measure solid data.

    So I know what goes on. I don’t have this illusion the general public has about the heroic scientist in a white coat nobly pursuing truth no matter what the cost. I have even less of an illusion when you start getting into the world of evaluating ancient documents. They don’t even have instruments to use in their measuring, unless they’ve been breaking out the C13 dating on their papiri. It’s even more subjective and “big name” based. Metzger puts a slam on Erasmus in one of his textbooks, and suddenly everyone knows 1 John 5:7 was only included in the TR because of pressure. The small print “my bad” 30 years later doesn’t quite change the damage. All the bigwigs think their was a Bzyantine Recension? Who needs hard evidence, it must be so! Why no emphasis upon hard evidence? Because the entire field is built around educated guess, unsupported but possible hypothesis and consensus.

    In order to sustain this, you create an academic field around it. That way, you and like-minded friends get to decide what is called good evidence and what isn’t. Everyone knows that you have to weigh, not count manuscripts. Got some serious dissenters from that party line? Easy – don’t let em write in your journals, because only real credible scientists can write in your journals. If he asks why he isn’t credible, tell him it’s because he hasn’t been published. Follow that logical merry-go-round until he feels ill and wants to get off.

    Do you have a really strong point for your article? Make it the first paragraph! Not so strong? Get more references from other blokes all making a rough guess but together you can make it look like comprehensive agreement. Got a really weak point but it sounds like what folks in your field are dying to hear? PUT IT IN ANYWAY! Sure you might cop a bit of flak, but if the waves aren’t too large your article will still be sitting there when the next johnny-come-lately scientist comes along so he has someone to reference to keep the ball rolling: “As Professor Peters states in his authoritative article on the effect of solar flares upon primitive scribal tendencies towards conflation…” The list goes on.

    Reply
  19. avatar

    Jason Harris

    2. Anti-intellectualism.

    Anti-intellectualism is self-defeating. You cannot understand and hold sound doctrine without careful and precise intellectual pursuit. There is just as much heresy coming from fundamentalist anti-intellectualism as from autonomous intellectualism.

    You say all these fields are “famous” for their rejection of God. Fact is, humans are famous for their rejection of God and were doing it quite well before any of these fields were developed.

    Fact is, science is famous for scientific research. Psychology is famous for studying the human mind and how humans function and interact. Archaeology is famous for digging for buried artifacts.

    Every person that God gave to the church is an intellectual. We are made in God’s image and God is an intellectual.

    As far as the rest of your thoughts on intellectualism, all I can say is “wow.” Just wow. It’s been a while since I’ve talked to someone with that level of cynicism and conspiracy thinking.

    Still, I’m guessing that next time you’re sick, you won’t be going to your Sunday School class for help even though you seem to believe they have a monopoly on the truth.

    3a. “I know you are talking about Kent, but that’s actually a brilliant summation of the entire field of Modern Textual critics.”

    My point exactly. I have a reasonable defense of my epistemology while the other side claim to be fideists but actually rely on the same material I do to back their supposedly strictly Scriptural assertions.

    I wasn’t complaining about Kent’s long defenses. I asked him to write this series. I’m saying that the logic of verbal, plenary accessibility is merely that… logic. It is not Scriptural.

    Re: historical revisionism. I have very intentionally chosen not to debate the text/translation issue publicly for years now for my own reasons. If you are suggesting that I did not answer because I don’t have a good answer, you can believe what you want to believe.

    Suffice it to say, I have a very personal understanding of the devastation this issue has caused in Australian Fundamentalism. It is a matter of great heartache to me. If you feel that you could benefit by discussing this issue with me openly, I’d be happy to do so by email.

    3b. “If used in the correct way, guided by the Holy Spirit and Scripture, it can be a medium through which God explains truth.”

    It is impossible to know truth apart from reason. It is our rational mind that takes symbols on a page and turns them into meaningful syllabic sequences which then evoke meaning and ideas in our minds. God made it that way. There is absolutely no understanding of any truth at any time independent of reason. To be unreasonable or a-reasonable is to be either ungodly or mentally ill.

    4. “All truth is God’s truth.”

    Good point. It’s like saying to your child “Food is food. Eat it.”

    We only say it when the point is so obvious that there is no other way to say it than to make an insultingly obvious statement.

    The statement is not meant to prove anything. It’s meant to remind us of a simple reality that is painfully obvious.

    You still haven’t responded to my illustration about rain. You’ve been pretty hard on me for calling “what [I’ve] derived from that mess: His truth.” So I’m interested to know, do you get out your Bible every time you feel rain falling on your head to find out of it truly is raining? Is it slanderous to say “it’s raining”?

    Well, I’m not sure if we’re getting anywhere. I do sense that perhaps the real issue that is important to you here is the text/translation debate. If that’s the case, perhaps we’d be more productive having that discussion privately. Let me know if you think it would be beneficial.

    Grace to you.

    Reply
  20. avatar

    Joshua

    Hello again Jason.

    I think we are getting somewhere. I forced myself to think about the whole thing over the weekend rather than replying, and I’ve found it very helpful. I reviewed what I’ve written, and I don’t think I like my tone, so I will endeavour to change it.

    I’ve had a good think about what I mean when I say reason isn’t a good provider of truth. I think it applies to what we are talking about.

    I don’t think I’m totally against reason as in “trust nothing your brain tells you!” For example, I do trust my reason to make a simple step like “it is raining, you are getting wet, go inside”. Short steps like that are okay.

    I think what I actually mean is that I do not trust the largescale organized systems of reasoning we call the sciences that much. That doesn’t mean I’m skeptical of everything they produce, I just assign them a low level of credibility.

    Whenever we interact with the sciences, particularly in the way that popular science is conveyed to people, you need to have a certain level of trust to accept their conclusions. The common man has this in spades – he believes that just about everything science tells him must be true. He believes the biologist talking millions of years because he sees him as part of the same system that gave him TV and medical advances. He assigns him the same level of credibility, even though it is grossly unjustified. The man who builds the bridge and the X-ray machine I give a lot more credibility because his science has a very solid feedback mechanism if it’s flawed – the bridge falls down and the X-ray picture doesn’t develop. The other sciences have a remarkable ability to build castles in the air – giant systems of logic with A built on B built on C based upon the perceived credibility of particular authors who arrive at utterly wrong conclusions based off the wrong presuppositions. Thousands of incredibly smart men and women all checking each others work and all digging themselves further into error because of it. To these I give very little credibility.

    MTC, Psychology and History falls squarely into the latter category. When you then add in that the unsaved are of their father the Devil who has a distinct interest in influencing men’s minds in areas pertaining to Scripture, Church history and human behaviour, then your approach to these issues is extreme scepticism. When you discover that not only their presuppositions but also their conclusions are at odds with Scripture, then they are entirely rejected. What bothers me is that I think your claim of “all truth is God’s truth” actually translates to “I trust and assign credibility to these guys and thus I accept what they are saying as truth”. In order to engage with what they do and what they discuss, you of necessity have to trust them. You can’t verify everything Metzger claims with authority. You don’t check his every reference – you just have to trust him. This trust can be based on “he is respected in his field, therefore he can’t be telling porkies because all the other smart guys in this field think he’s wonderful”, but we both know of entire fields that you find the more respected the man the more deceived and in error he is. Biology and Charles Darwin, Psychology and Freud or the entire field of Gender Studies make good reference material to prove my point. Intellectuals can and do build logical castles firmly rooted on thin air.

    You can’t help but have to make these leaps of trust with authors you read. I do it all the time with Creation Science magazines, or even when I’m reading Kent Brandenburg. Because I admire their presuppositions, because they are believers and because their conclusions line up with Scripture, I feel comfortable accepting their claims once filtered through my own reasoning. Does this then make it Truth? I don’t know if I’d go that far. I don’t know if I trust my own reasoning that far.

    So yeah, I worry that you are giving these intellectuals more credibility than they deserve, particularly when you start mentioning their conclusions in the same sentence as God’s Truth. I don’t think they deserve the trust you are giving them. Just because you or I read something that sounds like it hits the nail right on the head doesn’t mean we’ve just discovered God’s Truth, written from before the foundation of the world.

    So what we get throughout our debate is my constant attack upon the reliability of reason as seen in science, and your defence of the use of reason itself. I think we’re arguing cross purposes because I haven’t been careful to narrow down exactly what I mean. Perhaps looking at it in this light we’ll have more we can agree on?

    A few other points that you are welcome to respond to or ignore:

    The “not credible because you’re not published” argument came from a debate I had with a University biology intellectual. He said Creation Science wasn’t a real science because they didn’t get published in peer reviewed journals like everyone else. I said they were rejected out of hand because they were creationists. He said that was because they didn’t have any credibility. I asked how to get credibility. He said “get published in a journal”. We went round and round and round that train of circular logic. He ended up claiming I was cynical and paranoid because of this “conspiracy” to keep Creationists out of journals. Perhaps you’ll find you’re just as paranoid and cynical as I am in this area also?

    I would be curious to hear your position on the textual issue, and would be happy to read it via email. As to why you don’t write openly about this, I’ll give you some pure speculation on my part: From how you write, and the fact that you’ve mentioned study, it sounds like you’re a Bible College student. If that’s the case, and you’ve rejected the KJV as the best translation available in the English language, then you’ll most likely be branded a heretic in a good proportion of IFB churches in Australia. I suspect you have some nuanced position on the KJV well short of “any Bible version is fine!” but also well short of “based on the right manuscripts using the right translation method with the stamp of approval from Bible believing Churches and thus the only option in the face of the heretical pretenders spawned from MTC”. If you’re in Bible College, then you probably want to preach and serve as a Pastor, but word of that stuff gets around like wildfire and will ruin you. You probably are quite conservative on issues, hence being an IFB, but think we’ve got a few little hangups on issues you are hoping will die with time but at the moment are unwilling to attack publically. All speculation though, let me know how close or wildly far off I am!

    Reply
  21. avatar

    Jason Harris

    Joshua,

    Thanks for your response.

    I do think your comment clears up a lot of the areas of difficulty between us.

    1) The sciences.

    “I just assign them a low level of credibility.”

    Sure. I can understand this sentiment. I think I would prefer to say that I approach them with a higher level of caution, but the point remains.

    I’m probably not quite as skeptical as you, but I do agree that critical thinking is crucial at every level. This includes when the Word is being preached. That’s part of why the InFocus purpose statement says we want to help “develop a generation of readers, thinkers, and theologians.”

    I find it interesting (though not surprising) that you specifically single out history, psychology, and lower textual criticism as more suspect than other sciences. Granted, some of these do tend to be more speculative than others.

    Still, taking Psychology for example, you would think that even unsaved people who studied man in-depth would emerge with some very helpful insights, especially inasmuch as man’s mind and body are closely connected in many ways (eg. the mind functions in the context of tissue and cells). I would think these intricacies would be cause for caution both in our acceptance and in our condemnation of such a science.

    2) Lower textual criticism.

    I agree that these matters are extremely complex. In fact, I suspect that those who hold most adamantly to either position tend to know the least about the issue. Still, there is much readily accessible material published from both sides and it’s not difficult to get a fairly good idea of the issues merely by reading that.

    That said, I’ve invested a significant portion of my life in understanding the issue and always try to approach it as carefully and critically as possible.

    Your speculation made me laugh though it wasn’t too far off! =P I am actually doing postgraduate study in accounting right now, though I do have a degree in theology. Most pastors in Australia would have an idea of where I stand on this particular issue. Unfortunately, I find discussing the issue tends to create more heat than light, and that does the cause of Christ no service, so I try to handle it carefully.

    Drop me an email at jason @ givemetruth . net if you want to give me your email.

    3) Creation science.

    I agree that the science community is a closed community which tends to ostracise those who don’t conform. I’m often frustrated by the completely unfounded claims of evolutionary science. I think that particular field is a great example of the lengths rebellious men will go to in order to protect the presupposition that there is no God.

    But even there, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist (no pun intended!) to see that evolution is at times downright unreasonable.

    4)Conclusion.

    I think we both agree with Francis Schaeffer that autonomous reason is futile. While I think there are some significant differences in our thinking, particularly in matters of nuance and degree, I do think we both recognise at least the basic legitimacy of reason and the inherent dangers it presents for fallen man.

    I’ll look forward to hearing from you if you’re interested in going on by email.

    Grace to you.

    Reply
  22. avatar

    Joshua

    1. I singled out those three because they are of particular interest to me as a Christian. There are plenty more I could mention, most of them in the social sciences. I have a chemistry background, which is why I used it as an example above. Chemistry is one of the “concrete” sciences, yet even it ends up suffering from the same problems as the others.

    I agree with the importance of critical thinking.

    I did a few psych subjects. The first thing the lecturer told me was that psychology has absolutely no idea where the mind is located in the body, and anyone who says he knows is lying. Psychology still debates nature vs nurture.

    Psychology is heavily influenced by which particular big name you follow. Freud was once in – his theories are now widely regarded as discredited. For a while Jung was king, now he is mud. You can split professors up by which guy they follow – and the difference is like the diff between a Reformed Theologian and a Mormon. Their particular approach gives them massively differing takes on the same evidence. Hence the constant shifting in psychological dogmas.

    You see this stuff in churches now. Is the “Truth” that Jung got from his spirit guide Philemon (The 4 personality types) God’s Truth? Christians everywhere love that stuff. Modern psychology almost completely rejected his thinking a long time ago – but all the books have been written! A Spirit-Controlled Temperment from LaHaye. Florence Litteur has Personality Plus. Use the Myers Briggs test to discover your spiritual giftings!

    So tell me, what is God’s truth that we have from Psychology? Is it the most current accepted psychological science?: it has rejected Jungian psychology. If all Truth is God’s truth, and you can get that delivered fresh from the latest in psychological science, then these guys have been importing falsehood into the church (I’m guessing all falsehood is Satan’s falsehood now?) and calling it truth.

    How do you know you aren’t doing this? Certain sciences (and of these psychology is king) change very rapidly from year to year. How can you tell whether you are bringing in Satan’s lies or God’s Truth?

    I still think you’re struggling with a false notion of science and scientists. Perhaps your uni has an option for you do a few electives in psychology so you can see this stuff first hand? Even better – 10 minutes on wikipedia researching the founding names in psychology will show you what it really is:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Jung#Relationship_with_Freud.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigmund_Freud

    I’ll drop you an email, but I think the bottom line is this:

    The integrationist approach you are teaching here is heresy and ultimately will weaken the brethren. Satan has used your mind to gain an advantage over you, and then is using it to harm others. The Apostle Paul specifically warned Christians against you when he wrote: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” I think you are resisting the Holy Spirit of Truth so you can continue to walk and teach in your own Wisdom.

    Reply
  23. avatar

    Joshua

    Well, either this site ate my post, or it was removed.

    I wont go back over it all again, I’ll just summarize.

    I think you attempted to discredit Brandenburg’s epistemology by finding a major flaw. From what I can tell, that flaw is “he doesnt realize that all truth is God’s truth”. I feel that sufficient has been posted for a believer to recognise that the philosophy behind that statement is ungodly and decieving.

    Ironically, this is the flawed lynchpin of your own epistemology. While in the end we agreed that reason has some use, that is a far cry from proving the “All Truth” philosphy you espouse.

    You claim that science can provide us with truth. Science itself doesn’t even claim that. It merely provides theories with evidence – and all scientific advancement is built upon disproving previously held theories. Because it is constantly changing and refining, scientists don’t claim to provide TRUTH, they claim to provide a hypothesis the current evidence supports. They fully expect that someone else will come along one day and either completely disprove it or show where it was wrong.

    The nature of Truth is that it is unchanging. Your Scientific truth changes all the time. They can’t possibly be the same, yet the philosophy behind “all truth is God’s truth” claims they are. You are redefining truth to continue with your false teaching. God will hold you accountable for this. God warned Christians against you in the book of Colossians: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”

    You seem like a nice guy Jason. You seem sincere in your faith. But what you are teaching here is heresy, and it harms the brethren. Don’t let Satan have the advantage over you through pride of intellect. God doesn’t care about how in you were with the current trend of thinking in your day. He never commanded you to integrate his truth with other stuff you derived from the reasoning of the wise of this world.

    Reply
  24. avatar

    Joshua

    Wierd, my browser wasn’t showing my last post, so I just condensed it into another one. Now they are both there. Reply to either or none, your call.

    Reply
  25. avatar

    Jason Harris

    Joshua,

    Thanks for your comments. I’ve been way too busy lately which is why I’m just now responding.

    I have done several classes on Psychology. I understand that there is much more subjectivity in these sciences than the uninitiated suspect. All this proves is that Modernism is in error, but that’s ok because I already knew that.

    So I guess the conclusion is that you believe I’m teaching “heresy” and I believe your epistemology is mistaken. Pure Fideism is superstition and I believe superstition is driven by fear.

    I appreciate the counter point and trust that iron has been sharpened.

    Grace to you.

    Reply
  26. avatar

    Jason Harris

    Sorry Joshua. One more thing that came to mind.

    You and I both agree that all truth is God’s truth. You just don’t think we can know much truth outside of Scripture. I think you’re far too cynical about what we can understand outside of Scripture and not realistic about what we can understand in Scripture.

    Reply
  27. avatar

    Joshua

    I’d say that’s a pretty good summary Jason. I still feel that you have ultimately left my criticisms of the “All truth” philosophy unanswered, but that will be up to any reader to judge.

    I’ll restate the key unanswered point:

    “You claim that science can provide us with truth. Science itself doesn’t even claim that. It merely provides theories with evidence – and all scientific advancement is built upon disproving previously held theories. Because it is constantly changing and refining, scientists don’t claim to provide TRUTH, they claim to provide a hypothesis the current evidence supports. They fully expect that someone else will come along one day and either completely disprove it or show where it was wrong.

    The nature of Truth is that it is unchanging. Your Scientific truth changes all the time. They can’t possibly be the same, yet the philosophy behind “all truth is God’s truth” claims they are. You are redefining truth to continue with your false teaching.”

    There is no room for sitting on that fence.

    Thanks for the response. This was an interesting exercise.

    Reply

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