Dedicated to the devotional, exegetical and philosophical study of theological paradox in Conservative, Thoroughly Biblical, Historically Orthodox, Essentially Reformed theology . . . to the glory of God alone!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

James Anderson on Reformed Forum Radio

There is an excellent and informative interview with James Anderson at the Reformed Forum. Dr. Anderson discusses his book, Paradox in Christian Theology, and fields questions about the Clark/Van Til controversy, Alvin Plantinga's thought, presuppositional apologetics, and other topics.

For the first few minutes, the hosts chatter about some uninteresting things (uninteresting in my opinion, anyway). If you want to go straight to the relevant portion, start around the 5:00 mark on the audio.

Here's a very insightful excerpt:

"By advocating paradox I don't want to give the impression that I'm giving a carte blanche to not think philosophically, to not think deeply, about these doctrines. Quite the opposite. . . . My position is that with each of these doctrines we reflect on them as hard as we can, we penetrate them as best we can based on the Scriptural data that we do have, but we also recognize that there are going to be limits, and that those limits are actually a positive thing and not a reflection of some inherent problem in the doctrines or in the process of theological reflection. . . . I think we can make progress, we can make considerable progress, in understanding these doctrines and resolving some of the . . . initial difficulties that we have with them, but at the same time recognizing that we're always only going to get so far and when we bump up against the limits of our capacity to formulate them in certain ways or to resolve certain difficulties in them, we shouldn't be too concerned about that. We certainly shouldn't say, 'Okay, we need to admit that Christians are ultimately irrationalists.' No. We don't need to say that at all. . . . It's a Biblically constrained rationality. It's a middle way between rationalism, of which I think [Gordon H.] Clark was a representative, and irrationalism, of which, to take an example I think the Neo-Orthodox - Karl Barth - would be an example, where you're saying that there are actual contradictions in there. So I think it's navigating a Biblical middle way between these two extremes: having too high a view of the human intellect, and perhaps too low a view of the intellect, of our ability to know the things of God."
~Dr. James Anderson


  1. Interestingly, Derek, Dr. Anderson's students are fond of calling him "NO A" Anderson. Apparently the man is a rather stiff grader. I know that Dr. Mike Milton certainly speaks highly of him.

    The Reformed Rebel

  2. Rebel,

    In view of the stringent and exacting logic involved in Dr. Anderson's philosophical arguments, I would not be surprised if he is a tough teacher. When someone like me proposes theological paradox, it's easy for an opponent to disagree by saying, "that guy just doesn't get the deep logic." It's true, I probably don't. But when someone like Dr. Anderson proposes it, one is forced to pause and consider the ease with which he could take a more rationalistic approach. Nothing "forces" him to take this line, except perhaps his allegiance to Sola Scriptura.

    In my few brief interactions with him, I've found him to be a kind and fair minded person. But then again, I'm not enrolled in any of his classes.

    I hope your ongoing seminary studies are fruitful, brother.



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