The Padded Room

Here is the place to put discussions that are off-topic of an existing thread, yet perhaps worthwhile in their own right.

The name indicates that you can afford to “bump your head” here without as much consequence as usual. Also, the padding will provide a little bit of insulation so the potential “din” does not interfere with the focussed discussion going on in the other rooms.

150 thoughts on “The Padded Room

  1. Let’s all hope this time that it really is Manata’s last reply because it is clear he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, yet thinks he can fool the unwitting with philosophic jargon.

    So, G.H. Clark has told us that not all the omniscience persons KNOW ALL THE SAME TRUTHS!

    There are some things God doesn’t know. Here, specifically, is the problem of indexicals.

    Another great example of Paul Manata not heeding the Apostle Paul’s stern admonition: “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception. . . .”

    Any honest and fair, not to mention competent reading of Clark, would see that Clark’s distinguishing between first person and third person propositions is a semantic shift that doesn’t alter that which is known. For example:

    Paul Manata claims to know:

    1. I am making sinning against God.

    Like when he libels Christians by scurrilously referring to them crank dealers, falsely accuses them of Nestorianism, or publicly claims his elders need “spankings” on his blog. God knows this too. Notice the knower changed, but the meaning remains the same: Paul Manta is sinning against God when he libels and falsely accuses other Christians. Paul seems to forget that a proposition is the meaning of a declarative sentence. Replacing “I am sinning . . .” with “Paul Manata is sinning. . .” did not alter the meaning of the proposition, but rather moved from the first person subjective to a third person objective.

    Joel Parkinson who IS an honest, fair AND competent reader of Clark observes:

    “Thus the subjective thoughts of the three divine Persons and their objective knowledge are not one and the same even though they are both all-encompassing. The Father does not think, “I will or have died on a cross,” nor does he think, “I will or do indwell Christians.” Only the Son can think the former and the latter is unique to the Holy Spirit. But all three know “the Son will die or has died on a cross,” and “the Holy Spirit will or does indwell Christians.” So the subjective thoughts distinguish the Persons even though their objective knowledge is shared and complete.

    . . . We therefore conclude that the concept of the intellectual triunity of God helps to show the coherence of the Trinity. On the one hand, there are three subjective thoughts in the Godhead which cannot be reduced to one personality. One the other hand, there is one common objective body of knowledge to the three Persons. The omniscient content of this shared knowledge uniquely renders the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit indivisible. If they are indivisible, then they are one God. Yet we have not confounded the Persons.”

    Finally, notice what an awful pickle Manata has gotten himself into through his empty and deceptive use of contemporary analytical and philosophic jargon:

    Now an omniscient being knows everything that can be known. But since I am not omniscient, there is at least one proposition that I know — (1) — that is not known by any other knower, including an omniscient knower, or, God.

    Can a denial of omniscience be any clearer.

    1. An omniscient being knows everything that can be known.

    2. There is at least one proposition God doesn’t know.

    :. God is not an omniscient being.


    Goodbye Paul. For the record, I wasn’t being facetious in the least. I will be praying for you.

  2. You never seem to shut up even when you promise to do so and repeatedly.

    Greg Bahnsen has excluded indexicals from the definition of omniscience, so you’ll get no sympathy here.

    Well, of course, that’s because it is not the case that the Son knows some truths the Father does not know, but rather how what is known is different.

    There is a good reason why linguistic philosophy, which is what virtually all the modern philosophy has been reduced to, and what has entrapped you, is anti-philosophy. Schaeffer was correct on this score and it’s nice to see him vindicated by your remarks here. It took some time for its crippling effects to pollute Christian apologetes, but thankfully Francis wasn’t around to see your posts. OK, you’re not as bad as Poythress, but IMO it’s just a matter of time.

    Anyway, since you equivocate . . . Does God know what it feels like to rape a woman?

    The equivocation is entirely yours and rests on your sloppy use of the word “know.” Knowledge by definition is propositional. Consequently, a feeling is non-propositional and are not objects.

    Your Neo-orthodoxy is showing again Paul.

  3. Using the name of a dead theologian is fatuous. But using “the Ghost of . . .” is unacceptable even for the “padded room.” It is especially unacceptable when it is used as a subtle way dig the dead theologian. Further comments with such tags will be deleted.

  4. Well, I’m sure it was meant in good fun. I myself inadvertantly offended someone a while back with a “turning over in his grave” allusion to the very same man. “Let’s just say… it is our request not to do so; that has a much more pleasant sound to it.” (quick quiz: that’s roughly a quote from what recently-mentioned movie?)

  5. 1. All (things that God has revealed) are true.

    2. All (propositions contained in Scripture) are (things that God has revealed).

    3. Therefore, (propositions contained in Scripture) are true.

    While (1) and (2) can both be argued for, I think everyone here will agree that all Christians hold both, so we can stipulate them.

    (3) seems to follow rigorously. Said differently (as I would prefer)

    3′. If Scripture says P, then P.

    However, by their “only,” (we only know what Scripture affirms) Sean and T-fan affirm the converse of 3′, namely

    4. If P, then Scripture says P.

    I agree with I’m-not-sure-what-to-call-him that (4) would not seem to follow from Col 2:3.

    (let’s stipulate that “Scripture says P” is shorthand to include also propositions that are deduced from those in Scripture)

  6. I’ve been receiving ole Falwell’s “confidential” for awhile now – I haven’t the slightest clue how he found me
    You may find this amusing

    Insider weekly newsletter to The Moral Majority Coalition and
    The Liberty Alliance

    From: Jonathan Falwell
    Date: July 10, 2007

    A Significant Meeting Between Muslims and Christians

    On Monday, July 2, I attended what I can only pray may become a historic meeting. Several weeks ago, I received a call about attending a meeting at the Egyptian Embassy in Washington, D.C. I was told that this meeting would be hosted by the Ambassador from Egypt and might be attended by representatives of other Arab nations, as well as by 10-15 pastors, evangelists and Christian media representatives.

    My interest stirred, I agreed to attend the meeting even though I was not quite sure of its purpose. I asked Dr. Ron Godwin, Liberty University’s Executive Vice President to attend with me. When we arrived at the Embassy, we were greeted by Evangelist Benny Hinn and introduced to several other pastors, evangelists, Christian TV producers and representatives of Christian organizations. Among them were Gordon Robertson of the 700 Club, Paul Crouch Jr. of Trinity Broadcasting Network, Christian lobbyist Ralph Reed, Richard Cizik of the National Association of Evangelicals, Vernon Brewer of WorldHelp and several others.

    Within a period of no more than 10 minutes, the Ambassadors from Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Kuwait, Yemen, Iraq, Bahrain, and the Ambassador from the Arab League of Nations all arrived. I now realized that this meeting was far more than a social gathering. Soon thereafter, we sat down at a large table, Evangelicals all on one side and Arab representatives on the other, about 24 of us, for lunch.

    The Egyptian Ambassador began the meeting by graciously saying that we should not worry about diplomacy at this meeting. He went on to emphasize that we should have an open, honest conversation about what is necessary for bridges to be built between Islam and American Christians. At that moment, I realized that the meeting might, indeed, offer far greater potential than I had imagined.

    Over the course of several hours, a great deal of candid conversation took place. Conversation, on the Americans’ part that just might begin to crack open the doors to religious freedom in nations where it is now practically forbidden.

    One of the Ambassadors mentioned that American Christians seemed to always favor Israel in all situations, even when Israel was wrong. He asked if it might be possible that Christians become more “balanced” in our support of Israel.

    The answer to this question came from the former head of the Christian Coalition, Ralph Reed. Ralph said that we, as Christians, do take our support of Israel very seriously. Ralph went on to say that our support of Israel comes from our belief in the Scriptures and that this rendered our support for Israel largely nonnegotiable. However, with that understood, Ralph went on to say that we would also love to build far more positive relationships with Arab nations.

    We told the ambassadors that we loved the Arab people no more, but certainly no less, than the Israelis. We shared the Scriptural truth that God loves the entire world and sent His Son to die for all, regardless of their nationality. Thus, we stated that our love for Arabs was just as important a priority to us as is our love for Israel.

    The conversation then turned to the perception among American Christians of the Arab world. I shared that as Christians, we are strongly pro-life. And, that while the vast majority of Christians in America speak out against the horrors of abortion, we never condone or tolerate violence against those who disagree with us on this issue. I went on to say that there is a very small minority in the pro-life community who do resort to violence, and that when they do, the rest of us strongly and publicly condemn their actions. We make it known that we do not support any such violence and we do everything possible to stop it.

    I then told the Ambassadors that, likewise, they should strongly condemn the violent actions of their radicals as well. I shared that this would amount to a huge step towards changing perceptions of Muslims in our country. While I may never know if these words will be heeded, I do know they heard these words loud and clear.

    We went on to discuss humanitarian and educational assistance. We told them that, as Christians, we welcome the opportunity to work with them to offer humanitarian aid in their countries. And, while we take the Great Commission very seriously, we understand that humanitarian aid only offered with proselytizing strings attached generates great distrust.

    We also offered Liberty University to bring fully accredited, American education to their countries through our Distance Learning Program. We shared how that any student in their countries could receive a fully accredited American university degree online. We also offered to allow students from their country to attend LU in our resident program. Throughout this portion of the discussion, we made it clear that LU was a Christian institution and that the only kind of education the world’s largest evangelical Christian university would ever offer would be Christ-centered without apologies.

    As the meeting neared its end, one of the Ambassadors shared what may be one of the most promising statements made during the entire two hours. He said that we must understand that Americans have always been accepting of other religions and faiths because that is how we were founded. He went on to say that their nations did not come from the same background. And, in what could be a glimmer of hope for the freedom to worship in the Arab world, he said that we must understand that they are trying to head in that direction as well. He said that he knows it has been a slow process, but they truly desire to make the acceptance of other religions a reality in their respective nations.

    We all agreed that this would not be the last meeting. We promised that this dialogue would continue, that we were willing to visit their countries, meet their people, and attempt to continue the conversation to build a more peaceful future for our children and theirs. And then, we closed the meeting in prayer, in Jesus’ name!

    This truly was an historic meeting.

  7. [moved here from Puritan Guide to the Opera]

    OK, the Three Tonners joke put me in my place.
    (laughing until it hurts!)

    What I was aluding to, is the simple marxist tactic of destroying culture, by blurring the edges. Just as in TV, I now (being in a different city, with cable available) have had a chance to watch TV (we don’t own one in our house- except for videos of our choice) and what I see, is an EXPONENTIAL increase of blacks in positions of a) authority, power, prestige, and (most incredulous of all) intelligence.

    All of the white characters are — yup, you guess it, semitically correct. I don’t know about you, but I find all that hawk nose, snake-eyed physiognomy disgusting. I truly do find Jews UGLY- i.e., Sarah Jessica Parker types, etc.

    So, I had an ulterior motive. WHY do we allow people to say, :Sorry, whites cannot do blackface,” when we allow (encourage?) blacks to do “whiteface”? Isn’t this a stereotyping in reverse? Are they not (think of the movie, Two white chicks) both mocking and insuting Caucasians at the same time? I, for one, am DEEPLY insulted.

    I mentioned Battle and Norman, because they are BOTH on that Live from the MET (Adrienne Obnoxious) and yes, while I could watch Battle, I really, REALLY had a hard time looking at Norman without severe revulsion. Same with that farewell performance of PRICE as AIDA. Those big, fat lips just make me wonder, “WHAT GRECO-ARYAN Egyptian would EVER find her more attractive, than the (usually) WHITE AMNERIS???”

    I was hoping to engage in a “This is our culture, only WE can truly understand it, only WE can truly portray it,” sort of thing. As corrolary, now white kids ape (Oops, too close to home!) “black [sic] culture” – but in becoming “wiggers” have they not also NOT remained WHITE, i.e., Anglo-Saxon?

    I believe so.

  8. [moved from Vera’s protest]
    Tim I know you are going to erase this comment because it isn’t on topic nevertheless I wanted to ask if you and MRB would please do an article on evolution. Thank you

  9. MB already did a nice job on that subject (at least, the historical-evidentiary basis) here.

    Atheist-materialist evolution could not be true in this sense: if it were true, then thoughts are themselves secretions (to state the matter crudely) and therefore it would be a category mistake to assign truth-value to them. It fact, it wd make no sense in such a universe to speak of propositions having truth-values; therefore the assertion of evolution as a true theory would self-refute.

    This leaves non-materialist evolution that would still need to be addressed as to teleology.

  10. God is self sufficient; He needs nothing outside Himself; He cannot become greater than He is, in knowledge, love, power, glory, for a greater than God is inconceivable. Nevertheless, He creates a world for His own glory-to obtain more glory, to enter into significant knowledge; love- and power-relationships which He would not have entered otherwise. In other words, on the one hand, God’s knowledge, love, power, and glory preclude addition; on the other hand they demand addition. (P.308 Foundations of Christian Scholarship)

    Would either of you please expatiate upon this issue and the problem of the Christian paradox in general. As I understand it Van Til asserts that ultimately all teaching of Scripture is apparently contradictory. Your words on this topic would be most edifying to me, thank you.

  11. 007, check out Plantinga’s evolutionary argument against naturalism. Its incredible. I did a post on it at my blog here, if you’re interested.

    Mr. Butler and Mr. Harris: what are your thoughts on Ron Paul? I’ve become a huge fan. I’m excited for once about something Republican.

  12. 007 — that’s too big a topic to bang off in a comment box. However, one thing that may help in this reflection is to understand that everything is mysterious ultimately. This is the worst fallacy of the natural attitude, which creeps into evidential apologetics — the idea that lots of things are “obvious,” and well-understood — physical objects, the world, the correspondence between human mind and world, the human mind itself — and we need to ascend to the “mysteries” of Christian doctrine. But all those things are mysterious too.

    Some mysteries clarify, others obscure. So the “contradiction” of the Trinity sheds light, by which we understand everything; while pagan “mysteries” darken and obscure. This is one way reason we are not left to pick between rival mysteries.

    Keith — yes, if you poke around you will see that we are fully on board with Ron Paul.

    He is clearly the only candidate in either Party that is not already owned lock stock and barrel by the cryptocracy. For that reason, he will be assassinated if he manages to break through the media blackout and make a serious run. So our support has a tragic aspect. Yet we must do so, if only in the hope that it will wake some people up to what is going on.

    Has anyone read:
    Review article of Meredith’s latest book?
    Just as evangelicals miss creation ex nihilo, it seems to me that only a scholar of some force can miss the enduring relevance of the Sabbath commandment. To us simpletons it’s rather plain. Either way, I would benefit from your take on Kline’s view. The reviewer disagreed with him on that point.

  14. Question: Would someone address how to incorporate some of the basic tenets of agrarianism into one’s life when moving, job change, etc. is impossible. I know that “community” is one element. Others?

  15. I happened across the above link while viewing some material on the shroud of Turin and Gary Habermas of Liberty University. Here is a link with Habermas assuring his skeptical opponent that he doesn’t assume that the Bible is inspired or reliable

  16. Eliza (#113) — it would be hard to say much in interaction with Kline without actually reading the book. However, clearly he is continuing to sing his old chorus of common grace and intrusion ethic. Both of these lead him to a natural law framework which is deeply hostile to the biblical ethic. Thus, despite his many rich insights into biblical symbolism, he must be taken as a foundational antinomian who has done great harm to the kingdom of God on balance.

  17. BJJB (#114,115,119) — Sorry it took so long to get to this. The first link says “This video has been removed due to terms of use violation.” The second one says “The greatest story ever told,” not “Zeitgeist.” So, can you get back to me if this is the video you are interested in. Also, could you summarize in one sentence what you think the “problem” is that needs to be addressed?

  18. The title of the doc is Zeitgeist the section of the doc linked above is the section of Zeitgeist I’m interested in hearing your comments on.

  19. This may be off topic even in this off topic thread:

    I’d love to hear Butler/Harris’ thoughts on Alex Jones’ new film Endgame. I’d also love to hear what you who participate in this forum think as well. It is available to buy/stream on his website or you can see it (warning: low quality) for free at Google Video:

  20. TJH/MRB,

    What are your thoughts on concealed handgun licenses? Obviously, the state should not need to grant me a license for a right I think we already have, but in weighing the benefits of concealed carry vs. the going through the requirements to obtain the license (fingerprinting, record as a license holder, etc.), what are your thoughts?

  21. GV — I have one for Penna. I wasn’t fingerprinted. I wouldn’t do it if your county requires fingerprints. As far as record-keeping, I wouldn’t worry about that too much, since you don’t have to own a gun in order to obtained a carry permit.

  22. I don’t want to be treated like a criminal for claiming my Constitutional right. It’s a matter of principle.

    And frankly, the day may come when it will be more than just a matter of principle.

  23. I get the principle and agree wholeheartedly, but I am really struggling with whether or not the benefit of carrying (and especially my wife) is worth “setting principle aside” (I can’t believe I just said that). My objection to the fingerprinting is identical to TJH. However, I have wondered to myself when the day comes that it will be “more than a matter of principle,” whether I’ve been fingerprinted won’t really matter. The question then will only be, “At what point am I willing to pull the trigger?” I’m really trying to figure out the wisest action here, so feel free to share any other thoughts. I appreciate your perspective.

  24. In my state they require fingerprinting. I could keep a gun in my house without fingerprinting, or carry it with me (and my family) when we travel by getting fingerprinted. The latter gives me more freedom to protect my family, the former limits my freedom to a house which is owned by the government anyway through eternal property tax, and eminent domain (another constitutional afforedment.

  25. A couple years before he died, I heard Samuel Francis give a speech in which he argued very cogently that being armed for self-defense is a right belonging to every man that is more fundamental even than the Constitution — like the right to eat, or breathe. As a matter of conscience, I am persuaded.

    On that assumption, the question of permits is one of pragmatics — how to minimize interference from a lawless “magistrate.”

    Sort of like, if the magistrate asked you to have a permit before eating.

    As far as carrying in your automobile, I offer two thoughts.

    1. We should all resist a “request” to have our premises (house or car) searched, even if there is absolutely nothing to hide. If all Americans had this spirit, there would be a lot less to fear.

    2. Anecdotal, but maybe worth something:  a guy was pulled over in a national park in a different state for a minor vehicular infraction. In the course of obtaining license and registration, the officer discovered a rod. He made a scene — driver and passenger having to put hands on the dashboard, a lot of blustery verbiage, etc. But in the end, he returned the rod and there was no ticket or incident.

    Was he just a “nice guy”? Or did he know that he wouldn’t really have a case uncovering heat carried by an American, and discovered through no fault of his own?

  26. A question about authority. You join a church with a decent session. New men are nominated, some of whom may not only be non-confessional (of course for me one has to be almost 100% to be considered confessional), but also, the man is insensitive and you’ve seen this in action. (Not only that but he slandered Ron Paul! Now you see why I am asking!) Therefore, you vote against him, but the tyranny of the majority prevails and now you are “under the authority” of one who doesn’t know the WCF from the WLC (slight exaggeration). What do you do? Submit? Allow him to come to your house to check up on you spiritually? How does that work?

  27. Joshua (continuing from earlier thread) — no, that’s not why we write about opera; it was just an apropos-that throw-away comment.

    I think some people (and I have been the chief sinner) on both the Right and Left in the church get a “mission from God” attitude; the thrill of battle gets in their blood; they start to live for doing battle. Which is understandable — as Lee said, it is a good thing war is so terrible, or we would grow to love it. And I think Chesterton said somewhere, there must be something great about warfare, or so many Christian men would not have been drawn to becoming soldiers.

    Nevertheless, in our saner moments we need to remember the obvious — our life on earth is meant to be developed at the hearth and in the field and woods. War is to be an exceptional time of discipline and readiness.

  28. Have either of you read Christianity and Neo-Liberalism – The spiritual crisis in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and beyond by Paul M. Elliott? If so what are your thoughts on it?

  29. M — I have only flipped through the book, but I did attend a conference the burden of which was Elliot presenting the material in view-graph format. I am sympathetic to their concerns, but (1) some of his criticisms indicate a lack of understanding. Most egregious was his attack on Dr Poythress’ perspectivalism, which he clearly does not understand. Even the true concerns showed a lack of patience with the brethren. Thus, (2) in my opinion, the concerns do not warrant breaking fellowship. Indeed, I am inclined to think that breaking away with such slight effort at understanding and reform is schismatic, and did harm to both themselves and to the OPC.

  30. Elliot says that Machen left the PCUSA throughout his book and thus argued that seperating as opposed to sticking things out and being kicked out was justifiable. My understanding was that Machen was kicked out, am I mistaken?

  31. M — quite so. The closest you could come to speaking of voluntary withdrawal in that case would be those besides Machen that left “voluntarily” to form the OPC. However, they stood with Machen and believed that when he was kicked out they were kicked out.

  32. Elliot’s book has me very concerned. The perspectivalism discussion comes at the end and isn’t the center or largest source of his unease. It is the views of Sheppard, Gaffin, Kainared, Green and others which seemingly have been defended and upheld often in a scandalous or conspiratorial manner by Westminster and the General Assembly. It appears based on Elliot’s research that this behavior and these views have been infiltrating the denomination for quite some time without challenge, and when there is some challenge it appears that Westminster or the Assembly pull some shady business to achieve their goals. I’ve mentioned the book to an elder at my church — he was unaware of it or any problems. I intend to speak about it with others in order to get a proper grasp on the situation. I recommend reading the book if you haven’t, there sure is a lot in there.

  33. Tim,

    Was wondering if you could do a post on profanity? Was interested in your thoughts on cussing.

    Is there context where it is acceptable? Is it inherently sinful?



  34. Daniel,
    I am intrigued by your request, and hope to write something on it in the not too distant future. It may be too big of a subject to address adequately in one post; I’m kind of nervous.

  35. I am interested in studying at Christ college if it is still in operation. I heard rumors it was not. What procress would I need to go through or who would I need to talk to in reference to admission? Thank you and have a great day!

  36. Lying ang committing rape are weaknesses, not strengths. Cracks in the granite, if you will, signs of impending dissolution. We lie either because we are trying to hide from shame, or are trying to conceal our motives (unless we are trying to save a life). Some questions or discussions are so convoluted that the best answer is silence. As to rape, God keep us from all our sins, including the ones we don’t feel we are capable of.

  37. Greetings from Poland,
    As a fan of Van Til and Bahnsen’s approach to apologetics I came across an article written by OPC theologian Paul M. Elliott ( who criticized Van Til for his alleged faulty conclusion about our capability to really know things.
    I find it suspicious and wondered if he actually understood Van Til at that point. I remember Dr. Michale Butler’s comparison of knowledge of a thing from Clarckian and Van Tillian perspective but it didn’t indicate that we can’t have proper knowledge in Van Til’s view.
    Could you comment on that?

  38. Stanislaw —
    I am very grateful to hear that you discovered us from Poland. Please tell us more about yourself if you are so inclined.

    This is a large topic, and books could be written on it and have been. Suffice it to say in summary fashion, that Van Til’s project takes Augustine’s argument “no revelation, no knowledge” (e.g. for the possibility of language, or memory) and expands it radically. But since there IS revelation, there is knowledge. The project is to SHOW this coupling in one area after another.

    Clark, on the other hand, argued that man could take in the world without revelation, though it would not lead to apodictic knowledge, but only opinion apparently. We need revelation in order for our thoughts to crystalize into true knowledge. This dichotomy is analogous to that of Plato, except that the where the latter argued that insight into the eternal forms was necessary for knowledge, for Clark this is replaced with voluntaristic embrace of Scripture. It seems to us that Clark advocates fideism and thus does not attain unto knowledge. He does not show the transcendental necessity for revelation of the triune God for knowledge to be possible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *