Please note, I take no credit for making these available, the original source of these ebooks is: GaryNorth.com
Please note, I take no credit for making these available, the original source of these ebooks is: GaryNorth.com
Hello friends, I’ve been thinking about the presupposition that “we cannot escape ourselves”. I’d like to share a few thoughts which came to mind. If I had more time, I could probably go into more detail, but this will have to do, at least for now. Please bear with the roughness of this draft. Since this is informal, let me get to the heart of the matter, assuming a working knowledge of some terms, and assuming we cannot escape ourselves….
If we cannot escape ourselves, we cannot escape autonomy, if we cannot escape autonomy, we cannot escape subjectivism, if we cannot escape subjectivism, we cannot escape personal relativism, if we cannot escape personal relativism, we can never really know anything for certain (including the existence of God)!
Despite the common experience of people making claims to knowledge, despite the fact Science which deals with phenomena outside of self operates on the assumption that we can know reality objectively, despite the fact the laws of logic are observable (in practice) outside of self and cannot be accounted for by self.
In a sense, we cannot escape ourselves; that is without the monergistic work of God in salvation, without Christ as Lord, without acknowledging God as Creator, we cannot truly escape ourselves. And yet, this is preciously a reason (not to mention total depravity) why so many non-Christians are opposed to the whole notion that we can know reality….objectively, that is reality outside of ourselves. The whole notion of objective knowledge, leads directly to God, to His authority, Theonomy (the antitheis of autonomy), the self-attesting authority of Christ (outside of self), the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the authority of Scripture (outside of self).
However, sinful mankind suppresses the truth of God’s existence, and inconsistently, whether admitted or not, are private objectivists. People cannot and do not live out personal relativism consistently with all it’s implications as an all-encompassing epistemology. In other words, if people did not inconsistently escape themselves, how could people make meaningful knowledge claims? Have you not heard anyone say “well that may be true for you, but not for me”? How could people even trust their own senses enough to make meaningful judgments which impact everyday life? We could not, however I am comforted by the assurance that, because God created the facts, and we are made in the image of God, and in God we live and move and have our being, we can know with certainty of reality outside of ourselves.
In short, only a Christian saved by the grace of God can escape themselves, however the non-Christian also created in the image of God, borrows from the knowledge they suppress. Finally, our epistemology is compatibilistic, meaning we acknowledge some truths are personal relative, however at the same time we acknowledge other objective truth which is true outside of our existence and accurately describes reality, the way it is.
Praise God for freeing us from ourselves! Praise the Lord for His Lordship over our lives! Praise the Lord for His “special Revelation” persevered and passed down to future generations. Praise our Triune God for making Himself known in God the Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and savior.
Btw, I am accustomed to writing somewhat brief posts on messageboards (usually in response), and I am sorry if this has been a confusing read, and pray that someone out there, may benefit from this. Thank you for taking the time and effort. God bless and Soli Deo Gloria!
“Greg L. Bahnsen, (1948-1995), was an ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and a full time Scholar in Residence for the Southern California Center for Christian Studies. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Southern California, specializing in the theory of knowledge. He previously received the B.A. (magna cum laude, philosophy) from Westmont College, and then simultaneously earned the M.Div. and Th.M. degrees from Westminster Theological Seminary. Dr. Bahnsen lectured to a broad range of evangelical Christian groups at many colleges and conferences. He was an experienced apologist and debater, a clear and cogent teacher of the Christian worldview who was devoted to training believers in understanding and applying the Christian faith to every area of life. He published numerous scholarly articles, a number of well-known books, and has over 1,500 recorded lectures and sermons. NOTE: While Dr. Bahnsen died on December 11th, 1995, his audio tapes and written materials were, and still remain, the foundation for Covenant Media Foundation’s ministry.” – CMF
Always Ready: Directions for Defending the Faith (ISBN 0-915815-28-1)
By This Standard: The Authority Of God’s Law Today (ISBN 0-930464-06-0) (Available online for free.)
Five Views on Law and Gospel (Chapter contribution) (ISBN 0-310-21271-5)
Foundations of Christian Scholarship (2 Chapter Contributions) (ISBN 1-879998-25-4)
God and Politics: Four Views on the Reformation of Civil Government (Chapter contribution) (ISBN 0-87552-448-6)
Homosexuality: A Biblical View (ISBN 0-8010-0744-5)
House Divided: The Breakup of Dispensational Theology with Kenneth Gentry. (ISBN 0-930464-27-3) (Available online for free)
Presuppositional Apologetics: Stated and Defended (ISBN 0915815559)
Theonomy: An Informed Response (2 Chapter contributions) (ISBN 0-930464-59-1)
Theonomy in Christian Ethics (ISBN 0-9678317-3-3)
Van Til’s Apologetic: Readings and Analysis (ISBN 0-87552-098-7)
Victory in Jesus: The Bright Hope of Postmillennialism (ISBN 0-9678317-1-7)
The Standard Bearer: A Festschrift for Greg L. Bahnsen (ISBN 0-9678317-4-1)
Worldviews, everyone has a worldview, whether they know it or not, whether spoken or unspoken, whether informal or formal. Most everyone is comfortable in their worldview, enough to defend their views when put on the spot. There are not many solipsists in reality. Most people believe they are right about their worldview. But considering the differences and contradictions, how many worldviews can actually be right? This is not to say that there are not grains of truth in different worldviews, but when I ask how many worldviews can be right, I am referring to the most basic presuppositions which make up a worldview, people’s answers to the “big questions” in life, like the question “does God exist?” This may come as a surprise, but when we talk about reality, and actuality, there is only one perfect worldview, and that is God’s worldview! Why or how? Because He is the Creator of everything, because He is omniscient, His perception of reality is perfect and complete lacking nothing. How can we know about God’s view of the world? We can know objectively through the inspired, infallible, inerrant revelations from God preserved in the writings of Sacred Scripture. We know subjectively through illumination given by God the Holy Spirit in reading the objective Word of God. So the foundation of the Christian worldview is the Bible, and because the Bible represents God’s view, we must set God’s worldview over and against non-believing worldviews. You see my friends, either Christianity is true or it is not, there is no “probability” about it. None of the writers of Scripture speak of their faith in God in a terms of probability. Would the apostles have suffered and given their lives up for a God they thought might exist, or probably, most likely exists? Absolutely not!
To the Romans the Apostle Paul declares:
“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39 (NKJV)
To the Colossians the Apostle Paul writes:
“that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:2-3 (NKJV)
To the Philippians the Apostle Paul writes:
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy,for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now,being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” Philippians 1:3-6
Finally, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for” Heb 11:1 (ESV)
This brief message written by me, were inspired by the following lectures given by Dr. Greg Bahnsen focusing on the antithesis between the Christian worldview and non-Christian worldviews.
For more free MP3’s, look under the “Van Tillian Media” header.
One of my overall objectives for this blog/site is to bring together under one roof, as many Van Tillian resources as possible. With that said, this short post is long overdue (my how time slips by, I’ve had CMF bookmarked for nine or ten years now lol).
For the record, it appears that Covenant Media Foundation owns the rights to the wealth of articles in the following link: GREG BAHNSEN ARTICLES
The articles address many different topics including: Apologetics, Authority, Autonomy, Christian Ethics, Critiques of Evidentialism and Classical Apologetics, Epistemology, Presuppositionalism, The Problem of Evil, Theology, Inerrancy, and Limited Atonement.
Fortunately the articles can be saved and copied, and converted into other formats such as pdf, epub, and mobi.
From all of my searching Covenant Media Foundation appears to have the most comprehensive collection of articles by Dr. Bahnsen on the web, if not a nearly complete monopoly on everything Greg Bahnsen. I hope one day, CMF will be a little more generous with at least a select portion of their wealth of resources. In the meantime, Christians lacking financially will have to settle for the free articles, a handful of mp3’s, and the select few YouTube offerings.
Author Name: North, Gary
Book Title: Westminster’s Confession
Subtitle: The Abandonment of Van Til’s Legacy
Year of Publication: 1991
Description: “In the final days of October, 1990, the long-predicted book by the faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary finally appeared: Theonomy: A Reformed Critique. In response come Westminster’s Confession. It is both a negative and a positive statement. Theonomists believe that “you can’t beat something with nothing.” It is not enough to demonstrate that someone is wrong; you must also show what is correct. Cornelius Van Til made this principle the bedrock application of his apologetic method. It was not enough to demonstrate that his opponents’ systems of thought were internally inconsistent; he also showed why Christianity is the only logical alternative. But he left an incomplete legacy. He refused to offer an explicitly biblical alternative to the natural law theory that he had refuted. His system created a judicial vacuum. Into that vacuum have come two rival factions: the political pluralists and the theonomists. The battle is now engaged. Westminster Seminary’s problem for a generation – indeed, Calvinistic American Presbyterianism’s problem for two centuries – has been to justify a commitment to modern religious and political pluralism in terms of the Westminster Confession’s judicial standards. The faculty has been double-minded on this point: Proclaiming their commitment to Van Til’s apologetic method, they have simultaneously denied the idea that the Bible is the bearer of biblical blueprints or judicial frameworks for society. In short, they have abandoned any ideal of a Christian society, i.e., Christendom itself. This is Westminster’s social and cultural confession – a Theologically negative confession, proclaiming in the name of the original Westminster Assembly what society ought not to be, but never daring to suggest what it should be. In contrast,Westminster’s Confession offers a positive confession. It offers a biblical alternative. It restores the vision of Christendom.”
Amazon Reviewer Steven H. Propp:
“Gary Kilgore North (born 1942) is head of the Institute for Christian Economics, and a prominent Christian Reconstructionist, who has written widely on many topics (including postmillennial eschatology).
He wrote in the Foreword to this often sharply-worded 1991 book, “This book is a refutation of Theonomy: A Reformed Critique… My book is what some people will call a ‘quickie.’ The Westminster book is, too, but it took about five years to get it into print… In short, I did not devote my full attention to writing this book… So it is hardly a great book. It does not have to be a great book. It just has to be better than ‘Theonomy: A Reformed Critique.’ … What I neglect will be covered by Greg Bahnsen in the book I commissioned him to write, No Other Standard: Theonomy and Its Critics…”
He asserts, “(Westminster is) no longer willing to defend without qualification Cornelius Van Til’s absolute rejection of natural law theory, both ancient and modern. Here is Westminster’s dilemma: it had to break publicly with Van Til’s philosophy in order to justify its rejection of theonomy. It had to reject his monumental legacy to the Church. Yet even now, the faculty has refused to admit openly that most of them have made this break. This is the thesis of my book.” (Pg. xxii)
He points out, “Rousas Rushdoony does not belong to a local church, nor has he taken communion in two decades, except when he is on the road, speaking in a church that has a policy of open communion or is unaware of his non-member status. He has not spoken with (North or Bahnsen) for many years. But this is Rushdoony’s problem, not ours… Several Christian leaders have attempted to get me and Rushdoony to sit down and discuss our problems. I have in every case agreed, even flying to Washington, D.C., in 1981 to meet with him. He backed out of his agreement when I walked in the room, and he has refused all mediation ever since.” (Pg. 80-81)
He further reveals about his famous disagreement with his father-in-law, “The time has come to stop covering up what really is going on… I submitted to (Rousas J. Rushdoony’s) Chalcedon Report my monthly essay… Rushdoony sent it back and insisted that I rewrite it, saying that it was heretical, and even worse. I refused to rewrite it. I did not insist that he publish it; I just refused to rewrite it… he submitted a protest to our church elders informing them of our heresy, and asking them to discipline us (North and James Jordan) both… they replied that (the article) was somewhat peculiar but certainly not heretical… (Rushdoony) then publicly fired me and Jordan from the Chalcedon Report… What is this disagreement all about? It is (local church) Tyler’s disagreement with Mr. Rushdoony about the requirement of local church attendance and taking the Lord’s Supper…” (Pg. 334-336)
This book will be “must reading” for people wanting “in-depth” information about the Christian Reconstruction/Theonomy debate.”
DOWNLOAD FOR FREE: http://www.garynorth.com/freebooks/docs/pdf/westministers_confession.pdf