Back when he claimed to a Calvinist of sorts, Perry Robinson picked up on Van Til’s notion of an internal critique. And that’s about the only type of argument Perry uses. From what I’ve seen of him over the years, he rarely makes even a gesture at presenting a positive case for Eastern Orthodoxy. Instead, he either attempts to mount an internal critique of Calvinism and/or Protestantism generally, or he stipulates that Protestant theology has unacceptable consequences, like its inability to issue “normative,” “unrevisable” dogmatic pronouncements (which begs the question of whether that consequence is unacceptable).
However, for someone who’s so dependent on tu quoque arguments, Perry doesn’t grasp what an internal critique really amounts to.
Take his current shtick. He tries to argue that Calvinism is internally inconsistent because it teaches sola scriptura, yet it also teaches double procession, which is unscriptural.
Now, let’s assume that double procession is unscriptural. Would that make Calvinism internally inconsistent? No.
Rather, it would simply mean that, in practice, Calvinists have been somewhat inconsistent in their implementation of sola Scriptura. But that’s not the same thing as an internal inconsistency, which involves a logical contradiction.
It’s no more internally inconsistent than if a professing Christian commits adultery. If he’s adulterous, does this prove that Christian ethics is internally inconsistent? Should he relieve the inconsistency by denying that adultery is a sin? No.
Christian ethics can be internally consistent even if a professing Christian behaves in a manner which is inconsistent with Christian ethics. Hypocrisy is morally inconsistent, not logically inconsistent.
Failure to be consistent with a standard doesn’t render your belief-system internally inconsistent. Your belief-system could be thoroughly coherent.
Let’s take a real example of internal inconsistency. Lutheran theology, at least of the LCMS variety, affirms gratia universalis and gratia particularis. It affirms election, but denies reprobation. This generates an internal contradiction. And Lutheran theologians even admit that these propositions are irreconcilable.
An abstract standard, whether it’s tradition, Scripture, or flipping a coin, doesn’t logically implicate any specific outcome. That’s not like the internal, logical relation between one doctrinal proposition and another doctrinal proposition.