Theological Principles from Van Til’s Common Grace and the Gospel

Dr. K. Scott Oliphint explains three key theological principles from Van Til’s Common Grace and the Gospel.

Unedited and Unprocessed Recording of the Livestream



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Mark G

5 years ago

Thanks guys for putting on this conference and posting the presentations. I need to listen to this a few times but it helps solidify my understanding. I seem to come to some of this intuitively, i.e., I’ve had the good fortune (providence) to have sat under some great pastors/preachers, but this helps me to see where it’s coming from, in what ways it is distinctive, and why it matters.

Great stuff and thanks again.


5 years ago

Thank you guys for your diligent effort in putting the conference together and especially for making the audio free. It’s been challenging. I hope this comment is not seen as overly critical but, for all that I have to agree with Dr. Oliphint early on in the lecture, I must take issue with a main premise introduced later in the lecture. Namely, and I don’t say this for shock value, the destructive notion that Scripture logically and necessarily implies propositions that are false and contrary to other Scriptural propositions. He has stated this before in his lectures on the Trinity in his Doctrine of God class on iTunes U and intimated it on a previous episode on Christ the Center. If anybody is interested in our previous brief exchange it is here: http://reformedforum.wpengine.com/podcasts/ctc205/#comment-70354. Although I know I’m a peon, and he has a tremendously busy and academic schedule, I would have thought that some time would have been given to the objection before re-voicing it at a theology conference. Dr. Oliphint ends up, essentially, committing the same error as those he critiques. For instance, he criticizes Helm as deducing the implications of God’s immutability out so far as to deny the fact that we actually went from being under God’s wrath to grace. Two things about his criticism. One, why not take issue with Helm’s reasoning rather than point out a problem with logic, deduction, and necessary inference themselves? Why introduce a category of “good” joined with a conjunction, “and”, as if it “goodness” could be thought of apart from logic? Second, as mentioned, Oliphintin seems to commit a similar error to Helm (and the others mentioned) Specifically, he states that the Bible necessarily and logically implies tritheism (for the exact quote see the above link), but that that must be rejected since it’s not good, namely, it counters a supposedly clearer verse, “the Lord our God is one” or monotheism. This kind of thinking is in line with Oliphint’s thinking as expressed in the current lecture. Yet, upon further reflection, the doctrine of the Trinity (which he clearly accepts) also is not expressly stated in Scripture, but is rather a complex of ideas taught by it (deduced from it) and we still deem it good although it clearly counters (on a prima facie reading) the Shema. We dig deeper and think longer, and systematize, knowing that Scripture in all of it’s explicit and logically implied teaching are harmonious and complementary. When we run into conflict, knowing the Scripture cannot be broken, we reassess the truthfulness of the premises of our argument, our definitions, and our logic to find out where the error is. We do not blame logos. To put it the way Dr. Oliphint did in the lecture, can you imagine a preacher saying, “In the Bible we see it taught explicitly that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit each have the attributes of deity. This would logically imply a sort of Tri-unity of divine persons, but this we reject for deduction can never be placed above the clear datum of Scripture which is that there is only one true God, the Father.” I hope he too would be in hot water!



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