Summary of a debate with a Covenanting Reformed

I really didn’t want this to be a debate, and I don’t relish it. But it needed to be done…I guess. A friend of mine on Facebook–well, I’ve known him for around 5 years and gave him critical feedback of a kind concerning a book he wrote on political theology. On one of his message boards, the usual thread came up asking what the “gospel” is, and the standard answers were given, answers that send Irenaeus, Augustine, Athanasius, Cyril, John of Damascus, et al to hell: e.g., there is no gospel without the solas and imputation of Christ’s righteousness.

I responded that most of the Church never held this view and for obvious reasons: if you say that the Son suffered the eternal punishment from the Father, then one of two things happen:

1) You sever the Son from the Father and thus ruin the Trinity, since obviously the Father can’t be damned to hell. Trinitarian theology teaches that all members of the Trinity mutually indwell each other. If you eternally damn and cut off one member of the Trinity, you lose this mutual indwelling.


2) You make a division between the divine and human natures of the Logos. This is classic Nestorianism. Most Reformed theologians opt for this route.

When the argument was first put to D.R., the man in question, he responded that it was an irrational and absurd argument. Well, the great Lutheran historian Jaroslav Pelikan thought it was legitimate. The great Reformed theologian Louis Berkhof thought it was a good question (Berkhof admitted to taking the Nestorian route). So even the best Protestant thinkers admit it is a real and legit question.

He then responded that I base my worldview on philosophy and not the Bible. Seriously, it’s hard to be respectful with this kind of nonsense. Nobody, not even the most crass Mariological Catholic or even Mormon is going to say, “Well yeah, I guess you are right: We don’t like the bible after all.”

I responded, in agreement with EVERY SINGLE PROTESTANT HERMENEUTICS TEXT, that one’s metaphysics and philosophy determines how one reads a text. These guys are theonomists who follow Van Til and Greg Bahnsen. This is “Van Til 101.”

He responded, “Well, Jesus said he was forsaken by the Father.” And then he got sassy with me. Well, yeah Jesus said that. But you can’t read the Bible in a way to contradict what the Church–even the Reformed church at that–has said about Christ. My hermeneutics is not philosophy. It is Christology and Triadology. I let the wisdom of the Church, which is the Body of Christ, determine what I confess about Christ.

It comes down to this: propositions about soteriology cannot contradict propositions about Christology.

Well, in the following responses he just said he was deleting all my posts and warned me of my dangerous error. Well, that’s fine. he also didn’t deal with the pertinent issues.