Saturday, June 9, 2007

Philosophical Presuppositionalism

A frequent visitor and commenter on this blog, exist-dissolve, holds a firm belief that every student of the Bible, and I am assuming especially reformed theologians, reads into the Scriptures their own philosophical presuppositions into the text so that they can make the scriptures speak how they want them to speak. While I readily admit that this is a reality among many, is philosophical presuppositionalism a universal reality when approaching the scriptures? I heartily say that is false. He attacks Calvinists for reading in their presuppositions into the scriptures. However, if I were to read my presuppositions into the scriptures, I would still be a convinced Calvinist-hating Arminian. I was an ardent defender of free-will theology only a few years ago. At my college, the Calvinism and Arminianism debate was a heated one, and still is. Many Calvinist I know would promote their five points and only gave me philosophical ramblings of why Calvinism is true. I was not convinced. In fact, I believed them to be outright heretics. I approached the scriptures with a Calvinist-hating, free-will defending, ardent Arminian presupposition. What happened? I became a five point Calvinist. Prior to my serious, daily reading of the scriptures (which I never really did before) I had never read anything by a Calvinist. I had never even heard of any of the ancient reformers except Martin Luther, and I hadn't heard of R.C. Sproul or James White either. I simply approached the scriptures with my Arminian presuppositions and the scriptures convinced me that my presuppositions were incorrect.

The authors here at the reformed mafia are not philosophical presuppositionalists. We are men who are committed to the authority, the inspiration, the inerrancy, the infallibility, and the power of Scripture. The Scriptures themselves are authoritative over one's own philosophical presuppositions. This is why convinced God-hating atheists become passionate soul-winners of the gospel simply by the reading of the Divine Word of Scripture. It is within the pages of Scripture that the Holy Spirit brings about new birth in a soul and kills ones presuppositions. The Scriptures speak for themselves. The Scriptures are powerful over philosophical presuppositions.

We also at the reformed mafia do not play the proof-text game. We believe in exegetically examining the scriptures verse-by-verse as the Holy Spirit has inspired them to be written. There is a reason the Scriptures were written in its order, and the authors at the reformed mafia are committed to studying the Scriptures in that order and understanding the Word of God as the Spirit inspired it to be written.

We do not read in our philosophy into the text. If we did, at least for me, I would still be a convinced Calvinist-hating Arminian. There would still be convinced God-hating Atheists, who because of the scriptures, have been miraculously and powerfully converted. However, the scriptures are authoritative and have the power to override our philosophies and bring salvation to lost souls and bring understanding of the truth, through the working of the spirit to the minds of God's people!

Sola Scriptura!!

1 comment:

Gordan said...

To clarify, I do believe we inevitably bring presuppositions to the text. There is no alternative: none of us are "blank slates."

However, like you said, Scripture has the power to change a man's operating presuppositions.

My point is that there is a difference between saying that we deny allowing our presuppositions to interpret the Scripture for us on the one hand, and claiming to be formal Presuppositionalists (apologetically speaking.)

I am in fact that latter sort, Presuppositional with relation to apologetic method: but with you, Josh, I'd argue that I am that because that's what I see the Scripture teaching. I used to be an Evidentialist, but the teaching of the Bible forced me to change.