Michael Scott Horton Attacks Propositional Revelation in Modern Reformation magazine
August 2001 Dr. Michael Scott Horton of Westminster Theological Seminary writing in the May/June 2001 issue of "Modern Reformation" magazine (Vol. 10, No. 3, p. 33):
"With the ecclesiastical consensus, Reformed scholasticism accepted the view that talk about God was analogical, even in Scripture, where it is not only talk about God, but talk from God. In every analogy (warrior, king, father, good, angry, etc.) God is more unlike than like the human analogue. Does that leave us drowning in relativism? How can we know that God really is good if not even Scripture gives us access to God's inner being? The answer given by the Reformed has been that these analogies (hence, the 'analogical' mode of God's self-revelation) are selected by God himself as sufficient approximations for weak creatures to understand for their salvation.
"Calvin's well-known description of Scripture as an example of divine accommodation to human weakness and as, therefore, similar to a nanny who speaks 'baby-talk' to an infant, challenges all attempts to make even of Scripture itself an exact mirror of the being of God. Only Jesus Christ is 'the exact representation of [God's] being,' and this univocal core was and remains himself veiled in our humanity. We know what we need to know for salvation and worship, not everything that we wish to know or might be led by our curiosity to inquire. In common with Lutheran theology, Reformed theology emphasizes that God reveals himself by hiding himself. As apologist Cornelius Van Til put it, 'It is an adaptation by God to the limitations of the human creature. Man's systematic interpretation of the revelation of God is never more than an approximation of the system of truth revealed in Scripture, and the system of truth as revealed in Scripture is anthropomorphic. But being anthropomorphic does not make it untrue. The Confessions of the Church pretend to be nothing more than frankly approximated statements of the inherently anthropomorphic revelation of God.'"
John Robbins' Comments:
First, there is no consensus that all talk about God is analogical. Even if there were, one does not discover truth by counting noses.
Second, it is not true that "not even Scripture gives us access to God's inner being." In fact, that statement is a denial of propositional revelation and of Christianity. Horton is preaching an "Unknown God."
Third, Horton attempts to mislead his readers by saying that "only Jesus Christ [not Scripture] is 'the exact representation of [God's] being,'" for other Scriptures assert that "We have the mind of Christ" in the Scriptures themselves. Horton wants to separate Christ from his Word, which is the tactic of liberals, Neo-orthodox, and other unbelievers.
Fourth, because of his own principle that Scripture is totally analogical, Horton must accept the language of Hebrews 1:3 as analogical, and therefore not an accurate description of Christ.
Fifth, it is false that "God reveals himself by hiding himself." This doubletalk is a denial of the truth that God reveals himself through the very words he puts in the mouths of his prophets, apostles, and finally Scripture. Horton's agnostic theology is a denial of Christianity.
Sixth, Horton's citation of Cornelius Van Til is another bit of evidence that Van Til was a significant factor in wrecking the Christian witness in America in the twentieth century.
Thanks to Hugh McCann for pointing out this horrific bit of theology to us.
The Trinity Foundation
August 24, 2001
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