Banner

"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

Contributors

  • Rev. John Samson
  • Rev. David Thommen (URC)
  • John Hendryx
  • Marco Gonzalez

    We are a community of confessing believers who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five solas, the doctrines of grace, monergistic regeneration, and the redemptive historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures.

    top250.jpg

    Community Websites

    Monergism Books on Facebook

    Blogroll

    Latest Posts

    Categories

    Archives

    Ministry Links

  • « Dead Men Walking by Pastor John Samson | Main | Christian - Rest in God's Sovereignty by Pastor John Samson »

    "I Can Only Believe in What I See"

    "I only believe what I see" is a contradictory statement. A self-contradictory statement both affirms and denies its own basic meaning. [J.P.] Moreland points out that "the proposition 'I can believe in only what I can see' cannot itself be seen. The underlying metaphysical and epistemological principle of "what is real is visible," is not visible! The statement, "I only believe what I see," expresses a conceptual principle distinct from the literal written sentence and is therefore neither visible to the eye nor detectable by the rest of the senses. Thus, to accept the statement, "I only believe what I see" demands acceptance of a principle that cannot be seen. Put another way, if a person actually believed the declaration, "I only believe what I see," then he or she would not believe the statement itself, because the belief cannot be seen. The statement "I only believe what I see," reduces to absurdity."

    [Atheists] committed to naturalism (that nature is the ultimate reality) often say, or imply, "I only believe in what can be observed empirically, or what can be inferred from what is empirically observed. This statement is also self-contradictory. Christian philosopher Greg L. Bahnsen [said]: "I only believe in what can be observed empirically, or what can be inferred from what is empirically observed' cannot itself be observed from empirical observation" The view that nature alone exists is not and cannot be derived from scientific inquiry. Rather, it is an empirical presumption or dogma of secularism that too often interferes with scientific inquiry."

    - Kenneth R. Samples (Without a Doubt: Answering the 20 Toughest Faith Questions, p. 35-37 [2004]).

    Frankly, (like the above example) you would be amazed at how often you can catch people being inconsistent wherein an assertion actually cancels itself out. For example...

    I recently read a long essay giving reason after reason in bullet points as to why we should never use confessions and creeds, thus he produced a creed that was against all creeds. He was constructing a document which argued a theology against all theology. Likewise those who say "no creed but Christ" have a problem since this itself is a dogmatic assertion, not to mention that as soon as they begin telling us who Christ is, they are, of necessity, forced to develop a creed.

    Then the other day someone wrote me a long theological email "treatise" on why we should never use theological words such as "monergism" and "synergism" because it was done out of pride, but rather we should only use the words of the Bible whenever presenting Biblical truth. Interestingly, his theological argument against extra-biblical terms itself used many words and phrases not found in the Bible. And I suppose that he would be forced, by his own standard, to deny the Trinity.

    The same kind of error is found in many postmodern Emerging churches: One of the leading dogmas of this movement is to deny all certainty ... so what you end up having is a declaration of certainty about uncertainty, a metanarrative which critiques and denies all metanarritives...in other words, a dogma (from what authority I don't know) that there should be no dogmas.

    It astounds me that people cannot see the irony of all this. "I can only believe in what I see"

    Posted by John on January 19, 2006 05:38 PM

    Comments

    I like this one:

    "Absolute truth does not exist."

    Really? Is that statement absolutely true? Or does absolute truth exist after all?

    Another inconsistent statement rebutted.


    I agree: there is a lot of irony to it. It is so simple seeming to me. If people would actually think more about their beliefs, they might see such contradictions. Perhaps the presuppositions just don't allow them to look at their own statements that way.


    AspiringTheologian

    http://aspiringtheologian.modblog.com/

    Thanks for reinforcing this simple rebuttal. As Christians, we tend to wring our hands when confronted with statements like those and others. We think that it might sound arrogant and downright naive to assume that we have the answers. However, by employing our minds and applying what truth we know, we are able to defend the reason for our beliefs while at the same time showing the postmodern thinker that he is no longer thinking rationally. My husband and I have been listening to lectures by Ronald Nash and just last evening he showed how to answer these foolish statements. Thank you for bringing Samples' book to our attention.

    Post a comment

    Please enter the letter "b" in the field below: