TIM HARRIS SAID:
“Fellas, I think you are starting to sound like a broken record.”
That’s because we’re responding to a broken record.
“It seems like charity requires that at some point you should grant their assertions and steer around the topography they have laid out.”
Grant their assertions? Surely you jest. If they make a string of unjustifiable assertions, I’m not going to grant their assertions.
“Granted, Clark and his followers are coy about laying out certain elements listed above explicitly; but this is my best effort to put into words what seems to be going on with the replies they give.”
Is this a statement of your own position? Or is this an attempt to improve on the conventional formulation of Scripturalism so that we can evaluate the strongest version of Scripturalism?
“But simply beating the dead horse of "you can't know this and therefore cannot talk about it" seems unhelpful.”
I disagree. It’s the Scripturalist who has put the issue of what is knowable front and center. Limiting knowledge to what you can account for is central to the Scripturalist claim. Limiting knowledge to what’s deducible from Scripture is central to the Scripturalist claim.
It’s quite helpful to point out that the Scripturalist can’t make good on his central claims. I’m not going to let him off the hook just to be charitable. For one thing, that would be rather patronizing. No, I’ll hold him to his claims.
I’m happy to interact with your working draft of Scripturalism on its own terms. But I don’t regard that as supplanting the formulations of Gerety or Robbins.
1. A system of thought is a system of propositions.
2. Logic is the transcendental structure of thought; it cannot be denied without denying thought itself. We think, and thus, think logically, because that is the structure of God's mind, and we are made in his image.
3. A system of thought must include axioms.
4. Our set of axioms is, the propositions contained in the Bible.
5. No proposition can be known to be true by empirical verification.
6. The propositions in the Bible can be known because the sensory stimulation "reminds" us of propositions that are planted in our minds directly by God (Plato, Augustine).
7. Beyond this, it is necessary to form beliefs based on sensory stimulation, and assert those beliefs to live as a human.
8. The beliefs in (7) do not rise to the level of certainty, per (5).
9. The mark of the beliefs in (7) is (a) they have the form of propositions, but (b) though not "known" to be true, they can be uttered in terms of a principle of sincerity and integrity, and when so uttered, function as true propositions; i.e. the mark of this class of proposition is how such propositions function ethically as utterances of responsible agents. In terms of that ethic, syllogisms can be formed that mingle (i) propositions known to be true and (ii) propositions not known to be true, but which are uttered with sincerity, and which may be taken to function as propositions known to be true with that caveat.
10. The statements 1-9 are verified either by the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit, or are necessary and inescapable deliverances of thought.
Let’s run back through these:
i) That assertion sidesteps the question of how a Scripturalist can know that God exists. He must account for that truth-claim.
ii) Likewise, appeal to the imago Dei is a tacit appeal to Scriptural teaching on the imago Dei. That sidesteps the question of how a Scripturalist can know Scripture–given his constraints on what is knowable.
i) When you say a system of truth must include axioms, is that claim deducible from Scripture?
ii) Wouldn’t an axiomatic model fall prey to conventional objections to classical foundationalism?
#4.What about logical axioms? An axiomatic system can’t get very far without logical axioms. Are they supplied by Scripture. Or do they constitute extrascriptural axioms?
i) Does Scripture say no propositions can be empirically verified?
ii) What’s the supporting argument for the claim that no propositions can be empirically verified?
#6. Two problems:
i) Does Scripture tell us that Biblical propositions are knowable because sensory simulation reminds us of innate propositions?
ii) Wouldn’t this form of divine illumination render Biblical revelation superfluous? Who needs a historic, verbal revelation if we enjoy innate knowledge equivalent to the content of Scripture?
#8.Why should we accept this denial?
#9.Although they can’t be known to be true, they function as if they were known to be true? Isn’t that a form of fideism? Are sincere falsehoods ethically obligatory?
i) An appeal to the witness of the Spirit involves a tacit appeal to Scriptural teaching on the person and work of the Spirit. So that sidesteps the question of how a Scripturalist can identify the witness of the Spirit.
ii) Are the deliverances of reason an additional source of knowledge, apart from Scripture?