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Archive for March, 2010

Psalm 22 is one of my favorite Messianic Prophecy in the Old Testament

I also think it’s also great for Presuppositionalists to have this in their toolbag; of course, evidence must be given in a certain fashion in a Van Tillian framework

Dr. William Barrick, Professor of Old Testament in The Master’s Seminary, is currently in a project of writing an exegetical commentary on the Psalms

Several years ago, he taught on Psalms 22, and the audio is available by clicking HERE

His outlines is also available HERE

It is worth listening to, especially in light of Good Friday and Easter this week!

You might be blown away by his insight!

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Note: Rough draft so you know

INTRODUCTION

This essay will attempt to offer criticism against Process Theism.  Given the limitation of the pages here, it will be assumed that the reader has a basic understanding of Process Theology.  The critique of Process[1] is done with the desire to “contend earnestly for the faith” by refuting a system that is antithetical to the “faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 1:3).  Beyond just providing a critique of Process theology, this essay is an exercise of critiquing a worldview that doesn’t even begin with the Bible, and to offer a concrete example of how the rejection of God’s Word leads God to destroy the wisdom of the wise, and God setting aside the cleverness of the clever (cf. 1st Corinthians 1:19).

THE DANGERS OF PROCESS THEOLOGY

In his first epistle to Timothy, Paul wrote that to “ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you,” church leaders such as Timothy should “pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things” (1st Timothy 4:16).  For the Christian who is paying close attention to doctrines and life, Process Theology turns out to be spiritually dangerous in regards to its doctrines and also its implication for the Christian life and ministry.

A theology founded by Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) and Charles Hartshorne, it is doctrinally at odds with Christianity.  It is a theology that is heavily driven by metaphysical philosophical orientation:  “Specifically, process theism is a product of theorizing that takes the categories of becoming, change, and time as foundational for metaphysics.”[2] According to Stanford’s Encyclopedia of Philosophy,

“For both Whitehead and Hartshorne, it is an essential attribute of God to be fully involved in and affected by temporal processes. This idea contrasts neatly with traditional forms of theism that hold God to be in all respects non-temporal (eternal), unchanging (immutable,) and unaffected by the world (impassible).”[3]

Not only does Process theism deny the traditional attributes of God, they also believe that God is dependent on the world, as Process theologian Robert Mellert states, “Process theologians, therefore, generally hold that God is in some sense dependent upon the world and that in that sense he is subject to the changes that take place in the world.”[4] One of the most popular proponents of Process today is John Cobb, and repeatedly throughout his works, he emphasizes that God is love even at the expense of God’s holiness and righteousness.  It is then no surprise then to find Cobb writes, “From the point of view of process theology, God is never violent in the usual sense.  Central to our understanding is that God relates to us persuasively rather than coercively…”[5] Certainly the actual doctrines of Process should be troubling for Bible-believing Christians, and Christians should be aware of them.

Christians should also be aware of the danger of Process Theology’s when it comes to its implication for the Christian life and ministry.  For instance, Joe Blosser, a preacher who subscribes to Process Theism, has correctly noted the relationship of how one’s view of God would affects one’s way of preaching about God: “The preacher describes the type of God to be modeled and then outlines practical ways to model that notion of God or become like a particular Christ-conception.”[6] Given Process view of God as non-imposing, this dramatically affects the authority of preaching:  “With God no longer conceived as an other imposing the Word on a congregation, we should no longer feel compelled to understand the preacher as the divinely appointed conveyer of God’s Word.”[7] Process Theism also affects in the area of theology of prayer: “In a relational universe, our prayers make a difference. While our prayers do not supernaturally change the events of the world, they ‘radiate’ in a non-local way across the universe, shaping the unconscious and conscious experiences of others, transforming others’ environments, and creating environments in which God’s vision of wholeness may be more fully realized.”[8] This excerpt is revealing, especially with Process denial that prayers have any supernatural effect through God.  Prayer should be done by the Christian primarily to communicate with God and Scripture does not talk about praying as a way to create some sort of an environment which the vision of God is realized to a greater degree.

WHAT SHOULD THE CHRISTIAN RESPONSE BE TOWARD PROCESS THEOLOGY?

In light of the spiritual danger of Process theology, what should be the appropriate Christian response especially by those who are leaders of the church?  Surely, Pastors are obligated to watch over their own and their congregation’s doctrines and life closely (1st Timothy 4:16), and to not be taken captive “through philosophy and empty deception” (Colossians 2:8), but Christians (not just church leaders!) are also called to destroy false speculations such as Process Theology, and take it captive for Christ:

“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” (2nd Corinthians 10:5)

In fact, part of the qualification of an elder is to “be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict” (Titus 1:9).  What Scripture commands here is clear: refute Process Theology, which contradicts the sound doctrine of Scripture.

PUBLISHED EVANGELICAL CRITIQUES

Rather than re-invent the wheel, an assessment of what Evangelicals have already done concerning Process would be a wise course to take.  How has Evangelicals responded toward Process theology in print?  John Feinberg has devoted a chapter discussing Process in his book No One Like Him.  The half-dozen criticisms offered by Feinberg deals with the incoherence of the god of Process theology.[9] Ronald Nash has edited a volume in which various Evangelicals contributed their essays responding to Process Theology.  In the essay that Nash himself contributes, he framed his critique in terms of Process Theology versus Classical Theism, and faults Process Theology with committing an either/or fallacy between only Thomistic theism and Process Theology[10], a paragraph on how Process theologians are indebted to Greek philosophy and the incoherence of their view of God.[11] In terms of theologically driven responses, Evangelicals have compared and contrasted Process to Reformed theology[12], shed Biblical light against Process view of Jesus and the Trinity[13], addressed Process view of the problem of evil from a libertarian freewill perspective[14], and defended Creatio ex nihilo from Process attack[15].  Responses from Evangelicals that have taken more of a philosophical flavor has largely been metaphysical by nature, considering whether God could or could not act[16], Process view of Divine power[17], the relationship of God to the world[18] and the coherence of the concept of God to Whitehead’s overall metaphysics[19].  An Evangelical critique in print that is somewhat epistemological in nature was written by William Lane Craig concerning God’s foreknowledge and future contingency.[20] However, this deals more with God’s knowledge of the future rather than the epistemology of how man knows about God. If there can be any contribution towards an Evangelical response toward Process Theology, it is an epistemic critique of whether Process theologians can know the things they claim to know about God.

SIGNIFICANCE OF AN EPISTEMIC CRITIQUE

In his essay critiquing Process theology, Demarest has made an important observation of the role of epistemology in the debate: “In the realm of epistemology it is clear that process views of Christ and the Trinity are derived not from authoritative Scripture but from the philosophy of Whitehead as refined by his followers.”[21] Certainly, there is a clash between two competing epistemologies in the Process versus Christianity debate.  Despite realizing the different epistemology in which Process theologian operates, Demarest has not developed an epistemological critique in his essay.[22] It is important that Christians also critique the epistemology of Process theology.

To translate what the importance of epistemology means in terms that most preachers can appreciate, epistemology is like hermeneutics when it comes to theology.  The method of how one interprets the Scripture (hermeneutics) will determine what one’s interpretation of Scripture is.  For example, the position one adopts in the debate about the future restoration of Israel depends largely on whether one employs the historical-grammatical approach or the covenantal approach in hermeneutics.  Everyone who reads the Bible has a hermeneutic, whether they have consciously thought through it or not.  In debating theological issues, it is wise for theologians to be conscious of their own hermeneutics and to be able to critique an opponent’s hermeneutics.  Similarly, epistemology determines the content of what one believes to be true.  Discussion of epistemology is even more important when interacting with philosophy and theology that does not begin with the Bible.  While everyone has some form of an epistemology, not everyone has a hermeneutic of the Bible because some do not believe it is God’s Word; having never read the Bible before, etc.  This essay can make a contribution towards the Evangelical response to Process Theology by going after its epistemological foundation.  The critique also assumes what others Evangelicals have done, further reinforcing their works by presenting a refutation of Process Theology from another angle.  John Frame explains the reasoning behind the importance of a refutation during the rational exchanges between opposing views:

“Note therefore that when you seek to refute someone’s position, it is never sufficient merely to set forth arguments for an alternative (and incompatible) view. Many modern theologians, for example, argue against the orthodox view of Scripture by presenting arguments for liberal constructions, without even considering the biblical evidence that motivated the orthodox view in the first place…In such situations it is best, then, not only to argue an alternative view but also to refute the arguments that produced the view you are seeking to overthrow. Even then, of course, an opponent convinced of the rightness of his cause may take refuge in the possibility of your being wrong. But the more you cast doubt on those considerations that weigh most heavily with your opponent, the more adequate your argument will be.”[23]

DISTINCTION BETWEEN KNOWING AND BELIEVING

At this point, it is important to be aware of the distinction between knowing and believing.  How one arrives at truth (their presuppositions and method) is important.  To believe simply means to mentally assent to a claim as being true.  On the other hand, knowing is to believe what is true, having arrived to that truth properly. For example, you see that there are two clocks next to each other, and one that has stopped at 4:20, and the other is a working clock that has the right time. If one happened to look at the broken clock at 4:20 PM the belief that it’s 4:20 PM might happen to be true, but it wasn’t properly arrived at (the clock is faulty in giving the right time).  Thus, one cannot say they “know” it’s 4:20 PM, unless they arrived at this truth properly (by looking at the working clock).  Similarly, if one’s method of knowing God is faulty, then one cannot “know” their theological beliefs (thought they might believe them), since the beliefs have not been rationally justified.  While even a broken clock can be right at least twice a day, similarly a faulty epistemology can coincidently come to some truth, but it does not provide an adequate reason for it to be true.  Thus, a theological system with faulty epistemology that has claims about reality in the sphere of metaphysics or theology can be dismissed since it is arbitrary.

PROCESS’ EPISTEMOLOGY

Coming back to the epistemology of Process theology then, the question is whether (1) Process epistemology is coherent (internally compatible to make sense within itself) and (2) whether Process epistemology is adequate for it to logically lead to its theological statements.

(A) Empiricism[24]

As noted earlier, Process theology heavily emphasizes metaphysics since its inception by Whitehead.  Due to this emphasis on metaphysics, discussion of epistemology does not appear as frequently as one would like. Enough materials do exist from Whitehead’s writings for Process theologian Loomer[25] to conclude that although “there are elements in his system which would seem to indicate an uncertainty or a wavering on his part, but essentially his methodology is truly empirical.”[26] In the same vein as Whitehead, Loomer has affirmed empiricism: “All knowledge is empirically tested.”[27] For the record, Whitehead does not wish to identify his empiricism with the traditional (British) empiricism not because he was critical of empiricism itself, but because “his basic criticism of traditional empiricism is that it has not been sufficiently empirical…”[28] What he wants in epistemology is more empiricism, and one which is more consistently empirical.

Empiricism as an epistemology suffers from incoherence.  Empiricism really is an idea.  Unquestionably, an empiricist believes that empiricism is the proper way to know truth, yet how can one empirically demonstrate that empiricism is true?  No one has ever seen, tasted, touched, smelled or heard the idea itself.[29] Empiricism is not a physical entity that triggers sensations. Empiricism as an epistemology is self-refuting.  Empiricism is also incompatible with the aim of process philosophy[30].  There is an aim for empirical investigation:

“By means of empirical investigation, then, philosophy attempts to define the nature of the most general characters that pertains to all experience whatsoever.”[31]

“Philosophy is concerned with those structures which are universal and which must be present if we are to have any experiences at all.  Empirical analysis is the method which Whitehead uses in attempting to arrive at this goal.”[32]

Yet, the aim of finding the characteristic of all experience can never be achieved empirically because it is impossible for any human or group of humans to empirically investigate all experiences.  As finite human beings who experience birth and death, no one can empirically analyze all the experiences of man in the past, nor all the experiences of man in the future after his death to come to a conclusion about all experiences.  Whitehead adds further limitation to their epistemology in respect to time, since according to Loomer, “Sense-perception, for Whitehead, confines us to the immediate present.  From it we can gain no knowledge of the past or future.”[33] If knowledge is limited only to the immediate present, then the endeavor of Process epistemology to know the structures behind all experiences is already doom from the start.

Assuming empiricism to be true, there are theological pronouncements made by Process theologians, but pronouncements which cannot be known according to their own epistemology.  It is presupposed that empiricism is an adequate tool to discover God: “Whitehead’s concept of god is another example of the functioning of empirical analysis.”[34] Yet, how can Process theologians such as Cobb come to empirically know that “God is in all of us, calling us to be all this is possible in each moment”[35]?  Cobb cannot know this statement as a Process theologian since as a finite man limited to a particular space, he did observe God being inside everyone, and at the same time calling everyone to all that is possible in every moment.  On top of that, empiricism cannot even account for time: “If anyone thinks he has an image of time, let him describe its color, its shape, and smell.”[36]

How can a Process theologian know that “God is the source of novelty, of purpose, of meaning, of openness to others, of freedom, of responsibility, and of much else besides”[37]?  Has a Process theologian seen, tasted, touched, smelled and heard God to know the following:

“God is present, therefore, in every experience.”[38]

“Primordially, God is infinite in his conceptual ordering of all possibilities” and “God as primordial seems to have a firm empirical rootage.”[39]

“Now surely in some sense for process thought, God changes.  Because this change does not involve any change in the form of God or in God’s nature or character, it is better not to use the language of ‘evolution’…”[40]

“Whitehead sees God working in our history for a world in which each respects all others, in which all are free, in which the coordination that is necessary for society is effected largely by persuasion, and in which there is such approximation to social and economic equality as is possible.”[41] (11)

Another statement about God that Process cannot account for also has implication for one’s doctrine of man’s afterlife.  According to Cobb, “The only immorality would seem to be in God, as both Whitehead and Hartshorne have emphasized.”[42] He arrived at the conclusion that only God is immortal because in his view, creatures such as man cannot have eternal living existence: “Indeed, for process thought, the notion of any form of creaturely existence enduring forever seems inherently implausible.”[43] This goes against what Scripture has revealed, that God has set eternity in the hearts of man (Ecclesiastes 3:11).  And yet, when Cobb’s belief is epistemologically pressed, his claim that only God exists in the eternal future (with its corollary, Man will cease to exist) is unfounded: Cobbs cannot justify his proposition about the eternal future since “sense-perception furnishes us with knowledge only about the present world expressed in terms of mathematical structures characterized by sense qualities.”[44]

If empiricism does not lead to the propositions Process Theology claims about God, then they really can not know the god of Process Theism.  Believing that “all knowledge is empirically tested,”[45] it turns out that Process theology is self-refuting.  John Frame’s description of the self-refuting is indeed applicable to Process Theology:  “Some philosophical theories are said to be self-refuting because they set up conditions of meaning, rationality, and/or truth that they themselves are unable to meet.”[46]

(B) Subjectivism

Some Process theologians probably realize the tension of the coherence of empiricism in their epistemology. Loomer’s statement is quite telling:

“The primary question is how do we know that our bodies function in sense-perception anyway?  This knowledge is not derived from sense-experience itself.  Even if we were to look in a mirror, we would only see our eyes; we would not see our eyes functioning in sense-perception.  The knowledge of the witness of our bodily organs in sense-perception is derived non-sensuously.”[47]

Trying to rescue their epistemology, Process theologians attempt to ground the basis for empiricism in man’s physical body. Why the human body?  Loomer explains: “The human body is selected as the basic course for our data because it is that part of our environment with which we most intimately react.”[48] The choice makes sense to Process theologian because “sense-experience is wholly contingent upon the functioning of the body, what Whitehead calls ‘the withness of the body.’”[49] In grounding empiricism to man’s physical body, what Whitehead and his followers have done is actually made man as the authority of all truth instead of God and His Word.  In other words, truth has to be conformed to what is dictated by the human body:

“There is another methodological principle which is important in the method of empirical analysis: what we have called the ‘monastic principle’…Whitehead attempts to construct, in a sense, a universalized psychology: the rest of the physical universe is to be interpreted in accordance with what we know of the human body.”[50]

Of course, the problem with the statement above is that it assumes there is a correspondence between truths in the physical universe with the human body.  There is no reason given by Process theologians to believe why the physical universe should necessarily correspond to the human body.

Ultimately, it boils down to man’s physically subjective feelings.  Note the following comments from Loomer and Cobb:

“Whitehead’s stress here is that the antecedent functioning of our bodies in sense-perception is derived from a causal physical feeing—vague to be sure but important.”[51]

“Thus sense-perception is a simplified and abstracted edition of the data we have non-sensuously inherited by means of causal physical feelings.”[52]

“That is, sensa are forms of emotional reactions; they are aspects of affective tones.  They are qualifications of the ‘how’ of specific physical feelings.”[53]

“The data of God’s physical feelings are our subjective experiences.  It is these that live on in God in their full immediacy.”[54]

Grounding empiricism in feelings compounds the problem of Process epistemology rather than resolves it.  Process has reduced the objective nature of empiricism to nothing more than what physical feelings project: “Sense perception essentially is projection of our inherited bodily feelings…”[55] What we sense then, is not so much the physical world outside our body but in essence what our feelings project.  Empiricism then is reduced to something that is more autobiographical than something actual of external reality: “The data of sense-perception (i.e., sensa) are not primarily perceived as qualifications or attributes of regions external to the human body.”[56] Thus, Process Theology cannot know any truth of the world outside the individual.  What has begun as an epistemology for physical hard facts has turned into a defeated epistemology unable to know anything of the world outside a person’s mind.

Truth then, becomes very subjective.  If the ultimate authority in Process epistemology is man, and particularly the authority is man’s feelings, Process epistemology becomes problematic: Led by men’s feeling, there are many competing and conflicting opinions man has about God and theology.  Not all of them could all be true in the same sense at the same time, since this would violate the Law of Non-Contradiction.

The subjective nature of Process epistemology reduces rationality to nothing more than a matter of preference.  Truth about God becomes nothing more than individual preferences, where the value of theology is nothing more than a fashion statement.  If truth (including the truth of God) is nothing more than preferences of individuals guided by their feelings, the debate between Process theology and Biblical Christianity becomes unintelligible and meaningless in the Process worldview:  It’s absurd to debate about your preference of chocolate ice cream against another person’s preference of vanilla ice cream.  It is equally absurd then to debate one’s preference of Process Theology against another person’s preference of Classical Theism.

Yet, Process theologians are inconsistent in their epistemology.  Process theologians do not believe rational discourse is reduced to nothing more than subjective feelings.  They believe truth transcends feelings and that there is an objective mooring to truth.  Process theologians go on to dispute with other beliefs.  For instance, Cobbs does not believe that God and nationalism should go together:  “For those who believe in God, such patriotism calls for reminding the nation that God cares equally for other peoples and respects their love of their nations.”[57] He believes this is true despite what Nationalistic theists might believe; Cobb urges them that rationally God does not love exclusively only one nation, but other nations as well.  Furthermore, Cobbs assume that truth is beyond what one may feel about it.  He laments his opinion that the reason why we find “God Almighty” in the Scriptures “is the result of a fateful decision made by those who translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek.  These translators found in Genesis and Job extensive references to El Shaddai, or just Shaddai.  This was a proper name for a god who was originally, we may assume, not identical with Yahweh.  Yahweh they translated as the Lord.”[58] Whether or not his claim is true, it is definitely true that he believes the basis for this truth is not subjective feelings but objective historical and lexical factors.

Loomer has stated that “God is not to be treated as an exception to metaphysical principles but rather as their chief exemplification.  To hold otherwise is to deny that we can have any natural knowledge of God.”[59] If this is the natural knowledge of God that Process purports to have, one is better off with what God has revealed about Himself instead.

(C) Process’ doctrine of revelation

As seen in the above, what Process theologians need is not the wisdom of man to know God, but to know God from God’s revelation.  Yet, their doctrine of revelation has attempted to set up roadblocks against the very thing they need to construct proper theology: God’s authoritative revelation about Himself.  According to Donald Viney in the Stanford’s Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “process theism is a genuinely philosophical theology in the sense that it is not grounded in claims of special insight or revealed truth but in philosophical reflection.”[60] This however, is not entirely true.  Process Theologian Russell Pregeant has stated, “A majority of process theologians also embrace a doctrine of revelation.  They understand it, however, in a way that does not involve God’s literal intervention in the world.”[61] Process’ doctrine of revelation emphatically denies the supernatural characteristic of God’s revelation:  “This communication, in other words, does not involve the violation of the order of the natural world.”[62] By denying the supernatural, Process has redefined what they mean when they say that the Bible is inspired.  Cobb notes, “But inspiration is not something supernatural.  God works in all events; an element of inspiration is present in all creative thought.”[63] According to their understanding of inspiration then, the Bible then is no different than any other book:

“There is inspiration in the writings of the ancient Greeks and Hindus and Chinese as well.  There is inspiration also in the writings of Shakespeare and Goethe and of contemporary poets and dramatists.  All this deserves our respect and listening.”[64]

As seen above, though they may use the term “inspiration”, it clearly is not meant in the same way Christians have commonly used this term.  In fact, they reject what “inspiration” really means: “If the question comes from one who thinks in very conservative categories, the answer must be an emphatic no!  The words of the text were not dictated by God.”[65] This leads to a bizarre statement by Cobb of how “today we may be inspired to reject some of the ideas that are found even in the most inspired passages of scripture.”[66]

Process’ doctrine of revelation suffers from internal defect when it comes to their view of the Bible.  On the one hand, the God’s revelation is not propositional[67] in nature: “This divine self-disclosure is to be distinguished from the communication of propositional truth or a body of doctrines, although it does entail cognitive content.”[68] That is because “from a process prospective, revelation has an event-character, as it does in so much recent theology, commensurate with its nature as divine self-disclosure rather than the communication of propositional truth.”[69] Yet on the other hand, Process theologians would state that the Bible contains factual errors:  “The Bible is full of errors of fact, of moral judgment, and of theological teaching.”[70] Thus, they deny inerrancy:  “Clearly a process thinker cannot affirm Bible inerrancy or literal historical accuracy.”[71] However, how can the Bible have anything thing false or in error if the Bible is not propositional to begin with?  To illustrate, take for instance the following phrase: “Hey You all.”  The phrase gives no propositional truth, since it is neither a true or false statement (it is just a greeting).  It is incorrect to say that the statement “Hey You all” is false.  The same is the situation with Process theologian’s denial of the propositional nature of the Bible and then saying the Bible is false:  A categorical fallacy has been committed when they say that the Bible is false, because supposedly the Bible does not contain statements that are true or false.

Furthermore, Process’ epistemology believes that there can never be falsehood and error: “In the pure form of either causal efficacy or sense-perception, Whitehead claims that there is no error.  Error arises from improper ‘symbolic reference’ which is the fusion of the two pure modes.”[72] Why then does Process theology suddenly find it convenient to fault the Bible with error?

THE HOPE: THE BIBLE IS GOD’S WORD

The above has attempted to demonstrate the self-defeating and arbitrary nature in the epistemology of Process theology.  Rather experience pessimism, there is hope of knowing God by going to the Bible.

The Bible, being God’s written authoritative revelation, is what Process theologians need to escape the futility of their system.  Being finite when God is infinite, being prone to error because of the effect of sin and the Fall, any knowledge of God has to be disclosed to us by Himself.  The God of the Bible can reveal Himself to us through His Word because of who God is: He knows all things, including things about Himself.  Statements about who He is, will be true for all times because His nature, character and Word never changes.  The god of Process Theology is unable to reveal himself: it has no authority, cannot control humans to write exactly what it wants, happens to change all the time and everything which affects creation and creatures affects him.  Whether or not God or any false god can or cannot reveal Himself or itself is determined by what that God or god is like.[73]

The epistemology of Process Theology confirms the glorious truth of God’s rhetorical boasts when He asks, “Where is the wise man?  Where is the scribe?  Where is the debater of this age?  Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1st Corinthians 1:20).  Process’ epistemology is foolishness and self-refuting.  In the end it must be revealed that from the beginning Process’ epistemology was never meant to discover truth.  Early in the history of Process Theism, Whitehead was never truly concern about the truth.  He writes, “It is more important that a proposition be interesting than that it be true.  The importance of truth is that it adds to interest.”[74] Christians should not be surprised, because God’s Word has revealed that man does not want the truth, but rather they suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18).  They rather worship the creativity of their own idols (Romans 1:25).  In the end, it is a spiritually moral issue for Whitehead and his followers:  Will they come to acknowledge their sin of revolting against the God who has clearly revealed Himself and His invisible attributes inexcusably to all in general revelation (Romans 1:20), and also in the self-attesting Word of God (cf. Luke 16:29-31) or perish under the righteous judgment for their sins of suppressing the truth (Romans 1:18)?  Will they turn to God to be graciously forgiven and saved through faith alone by Christ saving work alone?  Process theologians need to repent from the idol they have constructed.  They need to accept the Bible as the Word of God and humbly accept the inward testimony of God the Holy Spirit to His Written Word.[75]

Bibliography

Process Theology, edited by Ronald Nash. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1987.

Blosser, Joe. “Modeling God: Preaching in Process Theology.” Homiletic 31, no. 2 (Winter 2006),1-11.

Clark, Gordon. A Christian Philosophy of Men and Thing: An Introduction to Philosophy. Unicoi, Tennessee: The Trinity Foundation, 1952.

Cobb Jr., John B. The Process Perspective: Frequently Asked Questions about Process Theology. Saint Louis, Missouri: Chalice Press, 2003.

Epplerly, Bruce G. “Who Prays? A Process-Relational Reflection on Petitionary Prayer.” Encounter 69, no. 4 (2008): 15-24.

Feinberg, John S. No One Like Him: The Doctrine of God. Edited by John S. Feinberg. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2001: 172-179.

Frame, John M.  The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God. Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1987.

___________. “Self-Refuting Statements.” Frame-Poythress website. http://www.frame-poythress.org/frame_articles/2005Self.htm Accessed March 25th, 2010.

Grier, James M., Jr. “The Apologetical Value of the Self-Witness of Scripture.” Grace

Theological Journal 1, no. 1 (Spring 1980): 71–76.

Loomer, Bernard M. “Whitehead’s Method of Empirical Analysis.” In Process Theology: Basic Writings. Edited by Ewert H. Cousins. New York: New Man Press, 1971.

Mayhue, Richard L. “The Authority of Scripture.” The Master’s Seminary Journal 15, no. 2 (Fall 2004), 227-236.

Mellert, Robert B. What is Process Theology? New York: Paulist Press, 1975.

Pregeant, Russell. “Scripture and Revelation.” In Handbook of Process Theology. Edited by Jay McDaniel and Donna Bowman. Saint Louis, Missouri: Chalice Press, 2006.

Viney, Donald. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/process-theism/ (accessed March 27, 2010).

Whitehead, Alred North. Process and Reality. Edited by David Ray Griffin and Donald W. Sherburne. New York: Free Press, 1978.


[1] The terms “Process”, “Process Theology” and “Process Theism” are used interchangeably.

[2]Donald Viney, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,  s.v.”Process Theism”, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/process-theism/ (accessed March 27, 2010).

[3]Ibid. 

[4] Robert B. Mellert, What is Process Theology?, (New York: Paulist Press, 1975), 131.

[5] John B. Cobb Jr., The Process Perspective: Frequently Asked Questions about Process Theology, (Saint Louis, Missouri: Chalice Press, 2003), 17.

[6] Joe Blosser, “Modeling God: Preaching in Process Theology,” Homiletic 31, no. 2 (Winter 2006),

1.

[7] Ibid, 10.

[8] Bruce G. Epplerly, “Who Prays? A Process-Relational Reflection on Petitionary Prayer,” Encounter 69, no. 4 (2008), 20.

[9] John S. Feinberg, No One Like Him: The Doctrine of God, edited by John S. Feinberg (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2001), 172-179.

[10] Ronald Nash, “Process Theology and Classical Theism,” in Process Theology, edited by Ronald Nash (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1987), 21-22.

[11] Ibid, 22-26.

[12] Donald Bloesch, “Process Theology and Reformed Theology,” in Process Theology, edited by Ronald Nash (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1987), 35-56.

[13] Bruce Demarest, “The Process Reduction of Jesus and the Trinity,” in Process Theology, edited by Ronald Nash (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1987), 59-90.

[14] Michael Peterson, “God and Evil in Process Theology,” in Process Theology, edited by Ronald Nash (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1987), 121-139.

[15] William Lane Craig, “Creatio ex nihilo,” in Process Theology, edited by Ronald Nash (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1987), 145-173.

[16] Arthur F. Holmes, “Why God Cannot Act,” in Process Theology, edited by Ronald Nash (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1987), 181-195.

[17] David Basinger, “Divine Power: Do Process Theists Have a Better Idea?,” in Process Theology, edited by Ronald Nash (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1987), 201-213.

[18] Thomas V. Morris, “God and the World,” in Process Theology, edited by Ronald Nash (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1987), 285-306.

[19] James Mannoia, “Is God an Exception to Whitehead’s metaphysics?,” in Process Theology, edited by Ronald Nash (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1987), 257-279.

[20] William Lane Craig, “Divine Foreknowledge and Future Contingency,” in Process Theology, edited by Ronald Nash (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1987), 95-115.  Note: William Lane Craig writes from the perspective of an Arminian who subscribes to the doctrine of Middle knowledge.

[21] Bruce Demarest, “The Process Reduction of Jesus and the Trinity,” in Process Theology, edited by Ronald Nash (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1987), 84.

[22] This is understandable, since the scope of his essay was largely on Process view of Jesus and the Trinity.  However, a critique of Process’ epistemology is needed.

[23] John M. Frame, The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, (Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1987), 258.  Emphasis is mine.

[24] This is an epistemology which believes that truth is known through the five senses by seeing, tasting, touching, smelling and hearing, and only by these five senses.

[25] Much of the material here largely cite from Bernard M. Loomer, a process theologian whose doctoral dissertation in philosophy does pertain to Process epistemology of empiricism.  His essay cited here has been adapted from the concluding essay of his dissertation.

[26] Bernard M. Loomer, “Whitehead’s Method of Empirical Analysis,” in Process Theology: Basic Writings, edited by Ewert H. Cousins (New York: New Man Press, 1971), 68.

[27] Ibid, 72.

[28] Ibid, 69.

[29] Although we can empirically experience the symbols of the in the forms of language, but the idea itself should never be confused with the symbols for the idea.

[30] “The metaphysical underpinning of process theism is often called process philosophy, a label suggested by the title of Whitehead’s magnum opus, Process and Reality.” From Donald Viney, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,  s.v.”Process Theism”, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/process-theism/ (accessed March 27, 2010).

[31] Bernard M. Loomer, “Whitehead’s Method of Empirical Analysis,” in Process Theology: Basic Writings, edited by Ewert H. Cousins (New York: New Man Press, 1971), 69.

[32] Ibid, 68.

[33] Ibid, 74.

[34] Ibid, 78.

[35] John B. Cobb Jr., The Process Perspective: Frequently Asked Questions about Process Theology, (Saint Louis, Missouri: Chalice Press, 2003), 39.

[36] Gordon Clark, A Christian Philosophy of Men and Thing: An Introduction to Philosophy, (Unicoi, Tennessee: The Trinity Foundation, 1952), 205.

[37] John B. Cobb Jr., The Process Perspective: Frequently Asked Questions about Process Theology, (Saint Louis, Missouri: Chalice Press, 2003), 39.

[38] Bernard M. Loomer, “Whitehead’s Method of Empirical Analysis,” in Process Theology: Basic Writings, edited by Ewert H. Cousins (New York: New Man Press, 1971), 81.

[39] Ibid.

[40] John B. Cobb Jr., The Process Perspective: Frequently Asked Questions about Process Theology, (Saint Louis, Missouri: Chalice Press, 2003), 32.

[41] Ibid, 11.

[42] Ibid, 108.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Bernard M. Loomer, “Whitehead’s Method of Empirical Analysis,” in Process Theology: Basic Writings, edited by Ewert H. Cousins (New York: New Man Press, 1971), 78.

[45] Ibid, 72.

[46] John Frame, “Self-Refuting Statements,” Frame-Poythress, http://www.frame-poythress.org/frame_articles/2005Self.htm (accessed March 25th, 2010).

[47] Bernard M. Loomer, “Whitehead’s Method of Empirical Analysis,” in Process Theology: Basic Writings, edited by Ewert H. Cousins (New York: New Man Press, 1971), 75.

[48] Ibid, 73.

[49] Ibid, 75.

[50] Ibid, 73.  Emphasis is mine.

[51] Ibid.

[52] Ibid, 75-76.

[53] Ibid, 77.

[54] John B. Cobb Jr., The Process Perspective: Frequently Asked Questions about Process Theology, (Saint Louis, Missouri: Chalice Press, 2003), 110.

[55] Bernard M. Loomer, “Whitehead’s Method of Empirical Analysis,” in Process Theology: Basic Writings, edited by Ewert H. Cousins (New York: New Man Press, 1971), 74.

[56] Ibid, 77.

[57] John B. Cobb Jr., The Process Perspective: Frequently Asked Questions about Process Theology, (Saint Louis, Missouri: Chalice Press, 2003),, 124.

[58] Ibid, 7.

[59] Bernard M. Loomer, “Whitehead’s Method of Empirical Analysis,” in Process Theology: Basic Writings, edited by Ewert H. Cousins (New York: New Man Press, 1971), 82.

[60] Donald Viney, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,  s.v.”Process Theism”, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/process-theism/ (accessed March 27, 2010).

[61] Russell Pregeant, “Scripture and Revelation,” in Handbook of Process Theology, edited by Jay McDaniel and Donna Bowman (Saint Louis, Missouri: Chalice Press, 2006), 67.

[62] Ibid, 67.

[63] John B. Cobb Jr., The Process Perspective: Frequently Asked Questions about Process Theology, (Saint Louis, Missouri: Chalice Press, 2003), 67.

[64] Ibid, 72.

[65] Ibid, 68-69.

[66] Ibid, 73.

[67] Statements that are descriptive by nature, with truth value (true or false).

[68] Russell Pregeant, “Scripture and Revelation,” in Handbook of Process Theology, edited by Jay McDaniel and Donna Bowman (Saint Louis, Missouri: Chalice Press, 2006), 68.

[69] Russell Pregeant, “Scripture and Revelation,” in Handbook of Process Theology, edited by Jay McDaniel and Donna Bowman (Saint Louis, Missouri: Chalice Press, 2006), 69.

[70] John B. Cobb Jr., The Process Perspective: Frequently Asked Questions about Process Theology, (Saint Louis, Missouri: Chalice Press, 2003), 69.

[71] Ibid, 66.

[72] Bernard M. Loomer, “Whitehead’s Method of Empirical Analysis,” in Process Theology: Basic Writings, edited by Ewert H. Cousins (New York: New Man Press, 1971), 78.

[73] An insightful article that led me to understand this was: Richard Mayhue, “The Authority of Scripture”, The Master’s Seminary Journal 15, no. 2 (Fall 2004), 227-236.

[74] Alred North Whitehead, Process and Reality, edited by David Ray Griffin and Donald W. Sherburne (New York: Free Press, 1978), 395.

[75] James M. Grier Jr., “The Apologetical Value of the Self-Witness of Scripture”, Grace Theological Journal 1, no. 1 (Spring 2008), 227.

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This is the best message I have ever heard on John 9, and the best sermon I’ve heard of Al Mohler’s sermon, and I say that as a big Al Mohler fan

It was given during the 2010 Shepherd’s Conference

Watch the Video from Al Mohler’s revamped website:

http://www.albertmohler.com/2010/03/04/no-little-people-no-little-sermons-john-9-2/

You have to watch this sermon from beginning to end!  It puts into perspective that in ministry there will never be little people never little sermon

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Alvin Plantinga’s “Warranted Christian Belief” is available for full view online for free over at Christian Classics Ethereal Library.

Click here to SEE IT!

Perhaps Andy can add it in under our E-Books tab! What a great resource!

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Ted Slater had the same thought when he wrote,

It’s been over a month since Focus on the Family’s ad appeared in the Super Bowl. From time to time I hear comments that maybe Focus shouldn’t have placed the ad, or should have placed a more hard-hitting ad. “What good has it done?” I hear some ask.

It certainly did, with a woman name Susan.  Her email to Focus on the Family:

I need to thank you so much. It’s not like me to reach out to strangers or agencies for help. I was truly feeling lost. I saw the ad during the Super Bowl and it stuck in my head. I feel like that commercial was made to reach out to me.

Later that week I googled it and watched the ad over and over. Then I went to your website and watched the related interview. I felt drawn to reach out to you and I am so glad that I did. You may think that all you did was email me back, but you did so much more than that!!! You gave me hope and encouragement.

Why is it? If you want to know, read the rest of the entry over at Boundlessline’s blog

It made my night just reading it!

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“We cannot treat the Bible as a collection of therapeutic insights.  To do sort distorts its message and will not lead to lasting change.  If a system could give us what we need, Jesus would never have come.  But he came because what was wrong with us could not be fixed any other way.  He is the only answer, so we must never offer a message that is less than good news.  We don’t offer people a system; we point them to a Redeemer.  He is hope.”

–Paul David Tripp from Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, page 9.

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Theology Proper is the part of systematic theology which concern the person and attributes of God Himself.

Often times those who do not have a relationship with God thinks that studying who God is, is just an meaningless pursuit of speculations, with no implication to the real world.

However, Christians studies of theology proper does have implications to the real world: Christians should be compelled  to live more Godly lives!

Those who are teachers of Theology have the important responsibility (and privilege) of teaching the deep truth of God and also what it means to the listeners’ lives.

Here are some food for thought that might stimulate you to further mine the depths of God’s Word and Truth:

  1. Concerning the Trinity, I have previously written on how the Son’s economic subordination to the Father has practical implication in the gender-role debate, specially how it is possible to be equal in nature and have different roles
  2. God’s omniscience is what Solomon appeals to in Proverbs 5:21, in the section which instructs his son not to commit adultery.
  3. Since God is Holy, Christians are to be Holy as well (1 Peter 1: 16).
  4. 1st John 4:16 teaches that God is Love, and it is on the basis of the love of God that Christians will be perfected for the Day of Judgment (1st John 4:17).
  5. Knowing that God is perfect, Jesus tells the disciples to aim for the goal of being perfect as the Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48).
  6. God’s attribute includes mercy (Exodus 34:6), and Jesus taught in the parable of the unmerciful servant that Christians’ experience of mercy should lead them to show forgiving mercy to others (Matthew 18:21-35).

What are some more you can think of???

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