Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Failed Clarkian Rubric and Hyperpreterism

As readers may be aware, at one time I was part of a website called PreteristBlog.  PreteristBlog was the premiere site for the effort against Hyperpreterism.  The site owner, Dee Dee Warren has collected an impressive amount of material.  From its founding until about 2009, PreteristBlog used what we might call the Mathison-Wilson-Gentry method or rubric in combating hyperpreterism (see here). This method started with what Doug Wilson called the Authority argument.  That is, hyperpreterism MUST claim God did not maintain any authority over how the Church at large has represented God's plan.  That somehow, we have been in gross eschatological error for 2,000 years.  Further, Kenneth Gentry has said "We are opening our critique [of hyperpreterism] with the historic argument, that is, the argument from the historic creeds of the Church. We do this in order to establish the significance of the debate: We are defending the historic, corporate, public, universal, systematic Christian faith." (Ken Gentry WSTTB pg 2)  This is not to say we never bring the Bible into it, but BEFORE we even get to the Bible and the proof-texts that hyperpreterists use, we MUST FIRST deal with their overarching premise.  In the same way, when a person wants us to get into discussing which "green laws" we should pass, we MUST FIRST discuss the validity of the premise of "man-made global warming".

Well, in about 2009 something changed at PreteristBlog.  Dee Dee Warren abandoned the Mathison-Wilson-Gentry method and instead adopted the Clarkian Rubric.  Clarkianism comes from the founder; Gordon Clark, a little known philosophy professor teaching between 1943-1973 at a secular college. Clark's epistemology (theory of knowledge) was radically secular and as he attempted to apply it to theology, he was opposed by those within his denomination.

Clarkianism looks at the Bible as a "textual" football, that if a person can merely apply a certain hermeneutic, they can supposedly unlock the true meaning of the Bible.  Clarkianism leans heavily on human intellect and "logic" rather than the biblical notion that it is God who "opens eyes and hearts" to understand the Bible.

As Clarkianism took over PreteristBlog, I left the site.  It was clearly heading in the wrong direction and I was at odds with Warren and her new Clarkian pals.  At the time I pointed out the dramatic change in methods, yet instead I was blamed for causing disunity.  Now, what I said then is being validated by a Clarkian.

Clarkian and ex-hyperpreterist Sam Frost recently said:

"I came in as a FP with Gordon Clark under my arm, and I used his “Presuppositionalism” as a grounds for stating that at least we have a right to question on the basis of the Supreme Judge, Scriptures. It would be a bad argument to start with the idea of Providence or historical “guidance” or “sustaining”. This is where the Wilson’s, Mathison’s, Sandlin’s and the like start. Clark afforded a correct starting point: the Bible. With that, the FP may proceed." -- source:

It then is CLEAR that the method of opposing hyperpreterism DID CHANGE.  PreteristBlog began to use the Clarkian method.  It began to "afford" hyperpreterists, not "a correct starting point" but an ASSUMED starting point.  Assumed in that it allows the hyperpreterists to just jump right into the Bible WITHOUT actually telling us WHAT, WHY, and HOW the Bible is the Bible.  Why the 66 books and  no more and no less?  How is it the hyperpreterist thinks the fallible men of Christianity were sustained by God enough to collate the Canon but not sustained enough to maintain the BASIC beliefs of God's plan??? It is a major contradiction that the Clarkian Rubric fails to address.  Clarkianism just allows the hyperpreterist to proceed without addressing important premises, such as WHAT IS THE BIBLE. Frost as much admits it.

So, there is a major, major reason I don't get along with Warren and her fellow Clarkians when they combat hyperpreterists; they are carrying the flawed rubric of Clark under their arm.  They are actually feeding into the hyperpreterist validation. An influential Clarkian seminary president has even knowingly enrolled a hyperpreterist leader into his seminary to bestow upon him a "minister's" degree.  To whom will he minister?  Hopefully not Christians, but perhaps Clarkians. (see here)

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