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主后 2016/11/9学海无涯

【ST 101】神学导论:Digest 2

课程:【ST 101】Prolegomena 神学导论
教授:Dr. David Garner
学期:2016 Fall
成绩:99% (A)

Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics (ed. by John Bolt; transl. by John Vriend; Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003), 1:353–85.
         In this passage, Bavinck refutes naturalism (rationalism) and Roman Catholic supernaturalism, which are two ways that wrongly interpret the meaning of the doctrine of revelation. In the first place, Bavinck uses the reformational view to prove Roman Catholic supernaturalism to be erroneous. In the second place, Bavinck points out the scriptural interpretation of revelation as a contrast to rationalistic naturalism.
         To begin with, Bavinck argues that Roman Catholic supernaturalism misinterprets the difference between the natural and the supernatural. Then Bavinck gives nuances to the two terms, saying that nature tends to be a more broad meaning that it encompasses the range of all the visible and invisible world, which draws a distinction between the natural and the supernatural. In addition, the supernatural goes beyond the bounds or limits of the universe, and this is the right point of understanding the special revelation. However, the Roman Catholic view of the supernatural separates special revelation from creation and nature, and this view sets special revelation in opposition to “re-creation and grace” (Bavinck, 358).
         Furthermore, Bavinck says that on the one hand, the Roman Catholic view of the supernatural is false because it constructs the doctrine of supernatural “on the graduated scale of the good” (359); on the other hand, the view of the Reformation considers human nature as contaminated by sin. Additionally, Bavinck argues that Roman Catholicism denies the nature and says that revelation and nature are opposite, and Roman Catholicism thinks they can make things holy only by means of consecration. However, Bavinck says that the reformational view considers revelation as merely in opposition to sin, which makes the antithesis between revelation and nature a qualitative antithesis in an ethical sense rather than a physical sense.
         Also, Bavinck refutes rationalistic naturalism, which develops thoughts from Spinoza. It alleges that revelation is impossible because God is unchangeable; the world “leaves no room for the supernatural intervention of God” (363), and man is unable to recognize the reliability of revelation. However, the scriptural view affirms the possibility of revelation by attributing it to the action of God, and the Scriptural view of revelation parallels “word and fact, prophecy and miracle” (366) together.
         Then Bavinck refutes Monism which diminishes all reality. On the other hand, the Scriptural view (Theism) aims to arrange God’s creatures in pleasing relation to each other, but do not seek to make them the same in all that constitutes their realities. In addition, Bavinck points out that mechanical forces have their own functions in different ways, yet a natural law means “certain forces, under the same conditions, work in the same way” (369), which exists with revelation and miracles without disharmony. Beyond this, Bavinck believes that revelation and miracles of Scripture are totally distinct from the order of nature.
         Finally, Bavinck connects revelation and scripture, saying that Christian tradition views Scripture as “the incarnation of the word” (378), and history is “the expression of a divine plan” (379) for God’s creatures. And the totality of revelation is attained in the “parousia of Christ” (382), which is separated into two parts: (1) the objective revelation of God in Christ, and (2) the Spirit’s application of God’s revelatory words to his church.
B. B. Warfield, The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1948), “The Biblical Idea of Revelation,” 71–102.
         In the first part “The Nature of Revelation,” Warfield indicates the meaning of the supernatural religion of the Bible, saying it means the extraordinary intervention of God in the developmental process of the corrupted universe “for the salvation of men otherwise lost” (Warfield, 71). The religion of the Bible, therefore, is God’s creation in men enabling them to worship him.
         As Warfield observes, there are two species of revelation. One is natural or general revelation, and refers to “the revelation which God continuously makes to all men” (73). The other is supernatural or special revelation, which is limited to God’s chosen people. Thus, Warfield believes that the two forms of revelation, which “was the Divine purpose for man” (75), need to be regarded as a “unitary provision” (75) that can only work effectively by joining each other.
         In the second part, Warfield tells us the process of revelation. At first, supernatural revelation is made exclusively to particular persons. Second, supernatural revelation extends to their families, communities, and countries, finally, it will reach the whole world, and Jesus Christ will come, at which time the redemptive plan of God will be accomplished gloriously. All in all, to Warfield, the progress of supernatural revelation is the development of the redemptive plan of God which is operated “through mighty deeds of grace” (81). In the rest of the second part, Warfield points out three stages of revelation, which he will discuss in the third part.
         In the third part, Warfield discusses three modes of revelation which occur in every stage of “the history of the religion of the Bible” (83) in Jesus Christ.
         The first mode is “external manifestation” (83). This simply means God intervenes in the normal lives of men by showing himself to them, in which Warfield especially remind us that the “spiritual quality of a revelation” (84) delivered by the agency of men, is the word of God free from admixture, which is objective for its supernatural character or manner.
         The second mode is “internal suggestion” (83), which is the revelatory process in which God speaks his words through the mouths of the prophets with the modes of visions and dreams, and the prophets only speak the words that are delivered by God and they are subjected to his will in the speaking process. So, the prophets only play the roles of “God’s spokesman” (87) in the process of revelation, rather than being the creators of these words.
         The third mode is “concursive operation” (94). By saying this Warfield is referring to the “mode of the Spirit’s action” (94) as it gives support to the biblical writers and directs them to make a definite statement of the Divine truth. Moreover, Warfield says that the third mode does not contradict prophetic revelation, in which he says the Spirit is “working confluently in, with and by” (95) the biblical writers through “the action of human powers,” (95) and in which the Scripture retains an authentic sense of human writings in its written form and inherent features.
         Finally, Warfield expresses the idea of the nature and processes of revelation by using biblical terms that are usually used to indicate “disclosing, making known, making manifest… to supernatural acts or effects in kind” (97). Warfield gives two common expressions, which are “the word of God” and “the law.” Concerning the phrase “the word of Jehovah” (97), Warfield argues that it is talking about the agent of transmission of the word revelation in the biblical sense. Both of these terms speak of God’s revelation from different aspects, and the two aspects are combined together as an aggregated revelation: authoritative revelation and redemptive revelation, which respectively correspond to the “conception of an authoritative Canon of Scripture” (101) and the “conception of this Canon of Scripture as just the Word of God written” (101).
B. B. Warfield, The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible, “The Biblical Idea of Inspiration,” 131–166.
         In this passage, Warfield discusses the Scriptural definition of the term inspiration by comparing the meaning of the word inspiration in its English-speaking context, Latin theology, Greek, and Hebrew sense. Warfield says that according to Paul’s use of the Greek term θεόπνευστος and the Hebrew term רוּחַ, Scripture is “the product of the Divine breath” (133) and “a specifically Divine operation” (133).
         In the first place, Warfield points out that in 2 Tim 3:16, Paul explains and asserts that the teachings that Timothy received are the production of God and because of this, Scripture aims at “all holy purposes” (134). Additionally, Warfield also observes that Paul is just telling us the value of Scripture for the sake of its Divine origin, that is, it is breathed by God.
         What is more, Warfield observes that in 2 Pet 1:19-21, Peter continues Paul’s assertion, showing his readers that the entire Scripture as the “word of prophecy” given by the Spirit, bears the marks of those who witnessed “Christ’s glory” (135).
In addition, Warfield says that in Jn 5:34f, John notes that our Lord Jesus testifies to the authority of Scripture. First, Jesus adduces Scripture as law and prophecy. Second, Jesus goes on saying that Scripture cannot be reduced to nothing and its authority is impossible to gainsay.
         Moreover, Warfield makes an identification between Scripture as it is written and as it is said in the NT. First, Warfield states that Jesus constantly appeals to the authority of Scripture by saying that not only Scripture has been written down but also it would be absolutely fulfilled. Likewise, Jesus frequently makes appeal to Scripture just to ensure reliance on the authority of Scripture and the authorship of God who declares the entire Scripture. Also, the NT writers simply adduce Scripture as the written words that come from Divine authority, which would be definitely fulfilled, because it is “the declaration of the Holy Ghost through the human author” (145). Accordingly, NT writers were also convinced that Scripture is the word of God, and Warfield points out the fact that God says what Scripture says (146). Thus, every part of the Scriptures have divine authority, because they are given by God “through the instrumentality of men” (150) under the control of the Holy Spirit.
         Then, Warfield states that in a broad concept, the Holy Spirit is the actual author who gives birth to the Scriptural words, and the authority of the Holy Spirit is higher than that of human writers. In a narrow concept, Warfield believes that the Biblical writers view the Scriptures as the results of divine work that are given by the agency of men. As stated in the passage, Warfield makes a distinction between the two conceptions, saying that in consonance with the biblical idea of the relationship between the Spirit and the inspiration of Scripture, the Spirit is “breathing out of the Scriptures and not breathing into the Scriptures” (154).
         Nevertheless, Warfield pays attentions to a deeper problem, that is, as the Scriptures are collected in a complicatedly continuous manner, when we link the concept of “inspiration” to the preparation of the biblical writers to write the Scriptures, we may consider how each writing action relates to each other harmoniously throughout the historical process. Then, Warfield explains the meaning of “inspiration,” as a matter of fact, “inspiration” refers to a long process in which are involved “numerous and very varied Divine activities” (156). And, as Warfield says, owing to the providence of God as the only requirement to protect the sacred books, the writing process of Scripture is fully guided by God and completely in accordance with his purpose.
         Next, Warfield observes that inspiration, which aims at redeeming God’s people, is a portion of God’s redemptive revelation. And the Holy Spirit, who breathes out the Scriptures, works in the process of God’s inspiration.
         Finally, Warfield indicates: First, the NT writers testify concerning the origin of Scripture that it is from God, and concerning the quality of Scripture that it is the divine word, which is the nature of Scripture. Second, the NT writers bear witness to the inspiration of Scripture, for they put their writings alongside the books of the OT. So, the NT and the OT are in the same group, which supports the inspiration of Scripture.
John Murray in Ned Stonehouse, ed., The Infallible Word: A Symposium (Philadelphia: Presbyterian Guard, 1946), 1–54
         In this passage, Murray discusses the self-attestation of Scripture from two aspects: (1) the objective witness of Scripture and (2) the internal testimony of Scripture.
Part I
         In this part, Murray demonstrates that we should first look at the Bible as it is delivered to us through human authors.
         At the very beginning, Murray notices the problem: How can the Bible be the infallible word of the perfect God if it is written by fallible human authors? Still, he says that although we should not neglect the difficulties when we deal with the unresolved problems concerning the infallibility of Scripture, we can still have faith that the Bible’s testimony about itself is a true, firm ground for belief. The ground is provided by God for us to approach these difficulties.
         Then, Murray demonstrates that only the Bible is the place where we should go to discover the reality and construct our theories. In other words, Scripture bears witness to itself. In order to support this thesis, Murray divides this part into two sections. In the first section, Murray discusses the negative evidence. In the second section, Murray uses the positive evidence. These two evidence are recorded in Scripture.
         In the first place, Murray discusses the negative evidence, saying: “Scripture does not adversely criticize itself” (Murray, 11). Though we have to acknowledge that Scripture is written by sinful men, it still does no harm to the credibility and authenticity of Scripture. Next, Murray presents the antithesis, which falls into the pitfall of an incorrect interpretation of the Bible, and claims that because some parts of Scripture contradict other parts, Scripture is erroneous. As Murray states, however, the “temporary and provisional character” (12) of the regulations in the Old Testament, like the Mosaic law, are authoritatively bestowed by God, and its authority is supported by Pauline epistles and the teachings of Jesus. Apart from the testimonies of Paul and Jesus, Murray also corrects the wrong understanding which alleges that Jeremiah and Isaiah criticize the Pentateuch in their writings, saying that Jeremiah and Isaiah are just arguing against the “formalism and hypocrisy” (13) of Israel.
         In the second place, Murray discusses the positive evidence to support the doctrine of the infallibility of the Bible. To begin with, Murray reminds us that we should always let the witness of Scripture be the foundation of our doctrine of Scripture. He lends credence from the Old Testament, in which abundant evidence supports the attachment of the “divine character and authority” (17) to the written word in Scripture. Also, Murray notices the other books of the Old Testament, like the prophetic books, call to witness the laws in the Pentateuch, and “presuppose the divine authority and sanction of these laws” (18). In addition, Murray reminds us that we should not consider the OT as “a fixed collection of sacred writings” (19), for none of the writers of the OT say the OT is the entire Scripture, and this connects to his discussion concerning the witness of the NT to the OT. Moreover, Murray turns to the witness of the “authoritative speakers and writers of the New Testament” (19) to the character of the Old Testament, especially by using the witness of Jesus’s word, because the word of Jesus, as a “finality” (20), constitutes the entire framework of the Christian faith. Specifically, according to the NT, Jesus comes to fulfill the entire law and every word of the prophets, and the other writers of the NT also deny the breakableness of the Scripture. In other words, there is an organic connection between the OT and the NT.
Part II
         In this part, Murray discusses “the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit” (42). In contrast with the Barthian view, Murray apprehends the internal testimony as the “ever-recurring activity of God” (44). Consequently, the authority of Scripture is constituted by the testimony of the Spirit. More specifically, as Murray stated, the Spirit lays its work “upon the heart and mind of man” (48). Then Murray refers to Paul’s letters, saying that his preaching is from “the accompanying demonstration of the Spirit and manifestation of divine power” (49), and the Spirit brings power, confidence, and assurance to the Thessalonians. Furthermore, Murray points out here that testimony means “the function of the Holy Spirit” (49) to rule and convince the mind of man “upon the power and seal” (52) of the Spirit. Finally, Murray says that the Spirit only bears witness to the fixed content of Scripture, and does not add new information on to it.
Sinclair Ferguson in Peter A. Lillback and Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., eds., Thy Word is Still Truth (NJ: P&R, 2013), 1207–1222.
         In this passage, before discussing the Bible’s view of itself, Ferguson demonstrates that the relationship between apostleship and Scripture justifies that the bible really has “a view of itself” (1209). First, in the OT, there is a “canonical self-consciousness” (1210) which indicates that Scripture is from God. Second, by referring to the OT, the NT also obviously recognizes Scripture as it is given by God. Third, the NT authors are aware the authority of their writings is equal in importance to that of the OT. Fourth, in the NT, there is a sense of “the existence of a class of literature” (1211) which shares the canonical status.
         Then, Ferguson pays attention to four features of “the bible’s view of itself” (1213). The first feature is inspiration, by which Ferguson reminds us that both God’s “general providential superintendence” (1215) and God’s activities through the Spirit to produce Scripture are two elements that distinctively mark the matter of inspiration. Inspiration is not an excess of the biblical exegesis.
         The second feature is authority. First, Ferguson points out that the NT appeals to the OT as Scripture, which means Scripture is written by “divine authority, in the canon of the community of God’s people” (1216). Second, Ferguson believes that the authority of Scripture is connected with “the context of ongoing redemptive history” (1217). Third, Ferguson relates the authority of Scripture to its sufficiency leading us to salvation, which is the meaning of sola Scriptura. In the context of the Reformation, sola Scripture means God’s word is adequate.
         The third feature is reliability. First, Ferguson points out that the “grammatical infelicities” (1220) and the “human idiosyncrasy” (1220) cannot harm the infallibility of Scripture. Second, Ferguson says that Scripture uses “accepted customs of speech” (1220) during that time that it was written down in human languages. Third, as Ferguson stated, Scripture authenticates itself as the infallible word of God, and we Christians are persuaded by the testimony, and not by the proof of the infallibility of Scripture.
The fourth feature is necessity. Ferguson moves on to the practical function of God’s revelatory word that has been spoken by God “for all people, in all places” (1221). Its function is evangelistic if we understand it holistically. Furthermore, we can well grasp the meaning of the perspicuity of Scripture if we consider the practical function. Scripture is clear so that God’s salvation is not difficult for average men to understand, and the Spirit “brings illumination to our darkened understanding” (1222) to apprehend Scripture.
Michael Kruger in David B. Garner, ed. Did God Really Say? Affirming the Truthfulness and Trustworthiness of Scripture . Kindle ed., Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2012, 1044-1355.
         Kruger notices the recent problems which challenges the origin and authority of the NT canon, and he argues with five major theses of modern canonical studies.
         To begin with, Kruger points out that according to some scholars, before the fourth century, there was no NT canon. As Kruger demonstrated, first, even though the distinction between the term canon and Scripture may cause the confusion that canon is totally different “than in all preceding centuries” (Kruger, 1102), we can still apply the term canon prior to the fourth century. Second, Kruger believes that in the second century, some core NT books were considered as authoritative books by the church.
         Then, Kruger argues that the idea of producing canonical books is embodied in the first-century church. First, we need to understand the formation of the canon as it is impelled by God’s redemptive activities in Jesus Christ. Second, both early Christians and the NT writers relate the canon (the new covenant) to the Old Testament. In other words, there is an organic connection between the canonical books and the Old Testament when we take the structure of the covenant into consideration.
         In addition, Kruger refutes the third thesis, saying the NT writers really have “a sense of their own authority” (1192) when they are writing the books. In the first place, Kruger discusses the role of the apostles. As the apostles declared in the NT, they recognize themselves as speaking with the authority of Christ, which is an awareness of their apostolic authority. In the second place, Kruger states that some NT writers “assign scriptural status” (1201) to other NT books, by which Kruger overthrows the antithesis that does not regard the NT as Scripture.
         Also, the fourth thesis is disproved by Kruger. It falsely claimed this: there was a theological contest among the factions of early Christianity, and the canon is only the production of those Christian winners on theological issues. First, Kruger refutes the claim of Bauer, saying: “the amount of diversity” (1287) in the early church is significantly enlarged beyond the truth. Second, Kruger points out the false assumption, which claims that the canonical status of the NT books is based on the universal agreement of the church.
         Finally, the fifth thesis is countered by Kruger, for it considers the authority of the church as the foundation of the authority of the canon. As Kruger states, on the contrary, Scripture is self-authenticated because the canonical books were set up by “the revelatory activities of the Holy Spirit” (1316), and the church is to affirm the canonical books that are “the natural and inevitable outworking of the self-authenticating nature of Scripture” (1344). Hence, according to what Kruger has concluded, the self-authenticating nature of Scripture means “the canon, in a sense, chose itself” (1344).

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