<< You're asking the question about ministerial authority the wrong way. Ministerial authority (even when in an ancient document) is personal, not abstract, and we don't deal with persons like we deal with geometry textbooks. There is no way to give you a "detailed theory" of when a person should heed and when a person should reject ministerial authority. There are, to be sure, historical examples from which we can draw instruction, as e.g., Athanasius vs. the Arians, Luther vs. the popes of his day, and Machen vs. Liberalism. But all of these things were personal conflicts dealing with incarnated reality, not abstract propositions residing in books. Flesh-and-blood reality cannot be reduced to propositions, much less to axioms, so your question is misconceived. Submission is more of a wisdom issue than a logic issue. >>
This is a half-truth. Ministerial authority may be personal, but revealed truth is propositional and abstract.
Luther, Machen, and Athanasius were acting on their understanding of certain abstract propositions revealed in Scripture. They were opposing true propositions to false propositions.
Either they were right, or they were wrong. Either their beliefs were true, or they were false.
They were persons acting on propositions. So truth is prior to belief, and belief is prior to behavior.
Yes, submission is a question of personal discretion, but that, in turn, is a question of where we think the truth lies. We act on our understanding, or misunderstanding, of the truth.
No, there is no algorithm for how or when to apply the rule of faith (sola Scriptura). But that is distinct from the rule of faith itself. Our rule of faith is susceptible to a “detailed theory.”
<< I continue to deny your demand that I provide some kind of explanation or alternative theory to the 1982 Chicago Statement. That Statement is simply not the necessary benchmark for orthodoxy that you seem to take it to be, so it's not incumbent on me to provide you with a detailed counter-theory. Christians were faithfully confessing the inerrancy of the Scriptures for many centuries before the rise of 19th century Presbyterian Baconianism that, through many twists and turns, gave birth to some of the categories that ultimately informed the Chicago Statement. Why can't I simply rest content in the corporate confession, without having a mechanical theory? The burden of proof is actually on you to explain why I OUGHT to have a mechanical theory. >>
i) To repeat myself ad nauseum, you were the one who originally introduced the Chicago Statement as a point of reference, not me.
ii) You also seem to be giving different, and not entirely consistent, answers for why you won’t respond. One answer is that it’s been so long since you’ve studied this issue that you’re not prepared to venture an opinion.
But, then, in this latest reply, you present a very distinct point of disagreement. For you regard the Chicago Statement as heir to a “mechanical” theory of inspiration, which is, in turn, heir to a Baconian epistemology.
Other issues aside, I don’t know why you attribute a mechanical theory of inspiration to 19C Presbyterian theology. Warfield, for one, was a champion of the organic theory of inspiration. Do you not know that? The organic theory is also on display in article 8 of the Chicago Statement.
iii) In addition, the larger issue is not what causal model we posit for inspiration, in terms of the precise relation between the divine and human agents.
Rather, the larger issue is the effect of whatever causal model we posit. For example, does our theory affirm or deny the self-witness of Scripture?
Does our theory affirm or deny the plenary verbal inspiration of Scripture? Does our theory affirm or deny the constantive character of Scripture? Does our theory affirm or deny the presence of historical and scientific errors in the teaching of Scripture?
<< As for how we subjectively enjoy access to "objective" reality, my basic answer is that we only enjoy that access subjectively. We are creatures. We cannot transcend created finitude and see things the way God does (i.e., timelessly). Our access to "objective" reality is always conditioned by our incarnated situation. Some sloppy thinkers like to claim that this makes "truth" impossible, but really all it does is uphold a facet of the Creator / creature distinction by reminding us of who and what we are. It doesn't make epistemology relativistic; it just makes epistemology messy. >>
This is a false antithesis, for the question is whether God has entered into our subjectivity. No, we cannot reproduce the divine mode of knowledge. But if Scripture is divine revelation, then Scripture does afford us a partial, God’s-eye glimpse of reality.
Likewise, the subjective dimension is not a God-free zone, but is under the same providential control as the objective dimension.