Authority and Knowledge - RR101D8

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Authority and Knowledge
Course: Course - Epistemology
Subject: Subject:Philosophy
Lesson#: 8
Length: 0:55:49
TapeCode: RR101D8
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission

[Rushdoony] It is commentary on some aspect of occurancee from Biblical perspective. Now, it goes out on a donation basis and gifts are tax-deductable. If you’re interested, I’ll pass this around, sign up, be sure to put your zip code, and then be sure to hand it to me after the conclusion of the hour, for the {?}. And remember, tomorrow we will plan to go over time, about ten minutes. Let us begin with prayer.

Our Lord and our God, who through Thy Word, has shown us the way and set forth the things that are of Thee. Give us ever grace to commit ourselves wholly and entirely to Thy Word. That we may walk as more than conquerors through Him that loved us. That we may in all things know that Thou art Lord, Thy Word is truth, and that Thy Word is indeed the means whereby we have the principle of knowledge. Bless us as we give ourselves to the study of the things that are of Thee. In Jesus name, Amen.

Yesterday we dealt with the subject of the death of God and its implications, and we saw that the death of God thinkers have declared that in our time, for man God is dead, he lives as though God were not, and of course in most cases, believes that there is no God. Now, the death of God school feels that this is true also of you and me and the average churchman. That for them God is dead. And this is a point they make emphatically, over and over again with regard to our contemporary world, Christians included. I’m afraid there is a measure of truth in it. This morning, I chatted by phone and then again after chapel briefly with a woman here locally who works as a nurse in the emergency ward. She is a very kind Christian, a Reformed Christian, and she observed there’s no question that a very large percentage of people here are church members and this is their home country, but that in the time she’s been working there in the emergency ward, as people have brought in only once has anyone in that crisis thought about the Lord in prayer. Now it’s at points like that, at crisis in our lives, we show whether God is alive or dead for us, but only one person went to the table in emergency in prayer. It’s a shocking fact. It does indicate how far we have drifted, and it is because while people are nominally Christian, God is not sovereign for them. If God were sovereign for them, they would think about Him first and last, He would be the Alpha and the Omega of their lives, and this is why I said yesterday in apologetics I believe, we had to begin with a sovereign God and His infallible Word. And today as we discuss authority and knowledge, this is of course precisely where we do begin. [00:04:34]

When men discuss epistemology, it is their desire to

When men discuss epistemology, it is their desire to be as objective and scientific as possible. They want to convey the impression that theirs is a concern with conclusions which are open to all reasonable men. If somehow you do not agree with them, it’s because you’re not being reasonable. This is the attitude that all philosophers have. Theirs is the reasonable, the rational, the scientific approach or whatever term they choose to use. For them, the most reprehensible position of all is to offer infallible truth, to present something on authority, it is their declaration that all conclusions should be provable by testing and by scientific verification. The offence of Biblical faith is that it denies this fact, instead of bringing all things to the judgment of man’s mind, it takes all things to the standard of the infallible Word. The humanist sees this as intellectual bankruptcy on our heart. Unfortunately many church men agree. They insist they accept the authority of God’s Word, but only because it meets the requirements of reason and Aristotle’s Logic. The most prominent figure to so hold in recent years was Edward John Carnell. Carnell in his Introduction to Christian Apologetics, published in 1952, declared and I quote, “Granted that we need revelation from God to learn how He will dispose of us at the end of our lives, are there not many revelations which vie for our approval? How shall we make a selection, when we are not God? We can answer this in a sentence: Accept that revelation which, when examined, yields a system of thought which is horizontally self-consistent and which vertically fits the facts of history. When viewing the Bible, the Christian says, ‘I see a series of data in the Bible. If I accept the system as it is outlined, I can make a lot of problems easy.’ Bring on your revelations! Let them make peace with the law of contradiction and the facts of history, and they will deserve a rational man’s assent. A careful examination of the Bible reveals that it passes these stringent examinations summa cum laude.” Unquote. [00:07:46]

Now as we analyze Carnell’s statement, we must say

Now as we analyze Carnell’s statement, we must say first of all he has a very curious view of the Bible, does he not? He says that we read the Bible, quote “to learn how He will dispose of us at the end of our lives.” Humanistic, is it not? The only concern is not with the sovereignty of God, but fire insurance, how will He dispose of us at the end of our lives? He misses, obviously, the main thrust of the Bible. If the only function of the Bible is to tell us whether we’re going to go to heaven or to hell, then he is reading another Bible than the one I know. Then, second, Carnell says, “Are there not many revelations which vie for our approval?” I touched on that sometime back, let us examine it briefly again. There are not many revelations which vie for our approval. There is no purported revelation outside the Bible in the ancient world. The sacred books of the East so-called make no such claims for themselves. As a matter of fact, the sacred books of the East are essentially atheistic. They do not offer a revelation, they deny that the idea of revelation is possible, or that knowledge is possible. So there is a radical ignorance here on Carnell’s part concerning the so-called holy books. The Koran and the Book of Mormon, which do, nonetheless are imitations and have very serious and obvious defects that are obvious to all, they do not have a god who can speak an infallible word. The Book of Mormon has no god, it has many gods, Adam was the first god, every man is going to become a god. There is no one god who can speak an infallible word that is true for all time, and therefore the Book of Mormon says that there is a continual addition to the body of revelation by the twelve apostles of the Mormon church. You have no infallible word, it can be contradicted with a fresh revelation at all times. Mohammed’s god cannot give an infallible word, although it is treated as an infallible word by Islam, because he is basically an impersonal, a deterministic god. Thus the only revelation we have is Scripture and only a sovereign, omnipotent, predestinating God can speak an infallible Word. We dealt with that earlier. Only a sovereign, predestinating God who absolutely controls all things can speak an infallible Word. Any other god can only speak a tentative word because he is not absolutely in control of all things. This is why the idea of the infallible word is alien to other religions. [00:11:44]

Then third, Carnell rests everything on, quote, ...

Then third, Carnell rests everything on, quote, “a rational man’s assent.” Here is the doctrine of autonomous man quite nakedly; quite nakedly stated. The ultimate authority is not in Scripture but in the rational man and his judgment of Scripture, so that what Carnell in effect is saying, that man is sovereign, man’s mind can judge all things, he says nothing of man’s sin. But the Protestant position is, unlike the Catholic, that the whole man, the total creature is fallen. This is what total depravity means. Some people get the mistaken idea, which certainly they cannot get from Calvin, that the natural man or the fallen man is totally incapable of any good anytime, this is not what Calvin says. In fact, Calvin says that sometimes the virtues of the ungodly put the Christians to shame. But what he is saying is that man is totally depraved in every aspect of his being; his will is governed basically by sin, his reason is essentially and basically governed by his sin, his imagination is basically governed by his sin. So that in every area, every area of man’s life, sin governs. This is total depravity. Well if Calvin is right and if Saint Paul is right and if all of Scripture is right in asserting that every imagination of man’s heart was entirely corrupt and is entirely corrupt outside of Christ, then we must say that Carnell cannot hold that a rational man’s judgment is capable of giving a fair judgment to Scripture, to revelation. After all, who wants to, if he’s a sinner, say amen to a revelation which says that he is sentenced to death? You’re not going to do it without grace. It’s like a condemned man coming before a court and being told he has the right to be told a judgment. And that’s exactly what the fallen man as he faces the Word of God; he vetoes it. Carnell’s god is very clearly not sovereign. And the test of rationality for him is not God but the fallen reason of man. Our test of rationality must be God; God and the Bible, in passing Carnell’s test, the test summa cum laude are not the God and Bible of Christianity. And this comes out very clearly in his next book Christian Commitment, an Apologetic, 1957, in which he goes overboard for existentialism. He’s begun with the autonomous mind of man and he goes headlong into existentialism. He sees God under necessity to man, and he actually uses at one point in one of his books, the word necessity. That God is bound to do certain things if man does certain things. You might consider Carnell’s Christian Commitment and Apologetic, as something to write on in terms of Van Til’s perspective. [00:16:03]

The non-Christian is much more honest and systematic

The non-Christian is much more honest and systematic than Carnell. He denies God altogether, and he wants to eliminate everything connected with God from his worldview. One of the most interesting statements of this and one of the more honest, came early in the last century, Max Stirner, S-T-I-R-N-E-R, The Ego and His Own. And Stirner had clearly accepted the epistemology of the modern world and his conclusion was, therefore, I no longer need other men, the world, I have myself, and so he wrote, and I quote, “To the Christian, the world’s history is the higher thing, because it is the history of Christ or ‘man’ (He has ‘man’ in quotes, man is no longer real to him apart from himself.) To the egoist, only his history has value, because he wants to develop only himself, not the mankind-idea, not God’s plan, not the purposes of Providence, not liberty, and the like. He does not look upon himself as a tool of the idea or a vessel of God, he recognizes no calling, he does not fancy that he exists for the future development of mankind and that he must contribute his mite to it, but he lives himself out, careless of how well or ill humanity may fare thereby. They say of God, ‘names name thee not.’ That holds good of me: no concept expresses me, nothing that is designated as my essence exhausts me; they are only names. Likewise they say of God that he is perfect and has no calling to strive after perfection. That too holds good of me. I am owner of my might, and I am so when I know myself as unique. In the unique one the owner himself returns into his creative nothing, out of which he is born. Every higher essence above me, be it God, be it man, weakens the feeling of my uniqueness, and pales only before the sun of this consciousness. If I concern myself for myself, the unique one, then my concern rests on its transitory, mortal creator, who consumes himself, and I may say: all things are nothing to me.” Unquote. I suggest that you may find it worthwhile if you can find, and you should, Max Stirner’s book The Ego and His Own, that you perhaps write a paper on that, if that {?} this. Incidently, Max Stirner wrote a book on education, or rather a pamphlet, which was recently reproduced and was very successful among many elements of the New Left, he’s very much in tune with these things now. Stirner, as a man who in terms of modern epistemology, regarded himself as the universe and cared about no man, has a very interesting passage in which he ridicules other atheists, he says, you’re all Christians, you’re all Christians. You deny God but you still live in terms of Biblical morality. You think it’s wrong to commit incest or bigamy. And if there is no God what’s wrong with it? Now this is how radical Stirner was in his insistence there was no God, there was no world, there was no law. He was his own world and his own law. The ultimate infallible word for Stirner was his own. The only valid knowledge was what he felt, what he wanted. [00:20:58]

It’s interesting that Karl Marx regarded as the greatest

It’s interesting that Karl Marx regarded as the greatest enemy that he had; Max Stirner, because what Karl Marx admitted was that Stirner was logically right, but he didn’t want that total anarchism, he wanted communism. He recognized that bringing men together under communism was pragmatic, that philosophically Stirner was right. And so he wrote two long volumes which are rarely reprinted now, which are nothing but a wild, fanatical, almost hysterical abuse of Stirner. Because, you’ve got to give Marx credit for this, he saw that Stirner had pushed it to its logical conclusion; the denial of God, and it really put the atheist in a bind. If you accept modern epistemology, why, you live only for yourself and you don’t care for any man or state or law. There is a concept of infallibility, in Stirner. He says it; it is myself. Karl Marx insisted it was the dictatorship of the proletariat, he had a concept of infallibility. You see, when men deny the infallible word of God, they do not say, we are now rationalists, and live by it, they say it but they don’t live by it, they develop their own concept of infallibility. Now this is another subject but I am going to touch on it because it is important. I am in process of writing a book on the idea of infallibility, and how fallen man has taken this concept because it is an inescapable concept, and applied it in one area after another and developed his own doctrine of secular infallibility. A man I know, a Catholic scholar, who is a Calvinist of sorts, I gave him Calvin’s Institutes, and Van Til, and Dooyeweerd, and he quite {?} it, so he says now he’s an anti-Tomistic Calvinistic Catholic. He’s also a professor in a Catholic institution, and it’s very interesting, he’s making quite an impact among the students. Any rate, he wrote a very interesting paper which has not been published, but of which I have a carbon copy. It was delivered a few years ago at a particular university. The thesis of this paper was an analysis of Khrushchev’s speeches when the de-Stalinization of the communist party took place. In his first speech he got up and to gain popularity you remember, Stalin had died, everyone was glad to see him dead, they couldn’t wait to get him buried, and Stalin’s daughter has a very vivid picture of all the big wheels in the {?} bureau huddled around the bed, afraid of this man. And when he rallied for a moment, for a moment, and opened his eyes and thrashed around a bit they scattered like mice, they were so terrorized, maybe he was going to pull through. But, Stalin gained popularity with the people, denounced the crimes of Stalin, when it was over all the party bureauticians said what have you done? You’ve destroyed us! Don’t you know the dictatorship of the proletariat is infallible? And if you say Stalin is fallible, then you’re fallible, the whole works is fallible, and the party falls apart. So he got out and made a second speech in another meeting, and he said that there had been some serious misunderstanding. Now I’m condensing and positerizing it, but this is the jest of it. He said Stalinism is wrong, that’s what I’m saying. But wrong for our time, the certain crisis of a few years ago required it, but if you take Stalinism and apply it today, it’s not the word for the moment. So, Stalin’s infallibility for his time was preserved, but any Stalinist in the party who wanted the same thing for today, it was no longer the infallible word, you see it’s a developing word. So they preserved it that way. [00:26:14]

Now of course, as we saw with Freud, he has a concept

Now of course, as we saw with Freud, he has a concept of the infallibility also, the id. The id in Freud is always infallible. Everything the id reveals is a kind of unconscious infallible word. For the theoreticians of democracy, there is also a doctrine of infallibility: vox populi, vox dei. The voice of the people is the voice of God; infallibility. The idea of the democratic consensus, and if I may get in my commercial for this hour, in my book The Messianic Character of American Education, just look up the democratic consensus in the index and read it, it’s a concept of infallibility. So, the secular man has a concept of infallibility. He may talk about being rational and scientific, but hiding in the background is a concept of infallibility. For the philosopher Croce, C-R-O-C-E, the aesthetic experience is infallible. You can go down the line as you analyze these various schools of thought, whether in actual philosophy or political thought or wherever, there is everywhere in one of them, every one of them, in the background, the concealed but unmistakable doctrine of infallibility. Now let’s look at Sartre, because Sartre is always one of the most interesting, one of the most intelligent figures of our time. By the way, in case you don’t know this about Jean Paul Sartre, he was a cousin of Albert Schweitzer. There’s no good in the family as far as I was concerned. Now, this is what Sartre said in Being and Nothingness, and I quote, “The world is human. We can see the very particular position of consciousness: being is everywhere, opposite me, around me; it weighs down on me, it besieges me, and I am perpetually referred from being to being; that table which is there is being and nothing else; that rock, that tree, that landscape, being and nothing else. I want to grasp this being, and I no longer find anything but myself. This is because knowledge, intermediate between being and non-being, refers me to absolute being if I want to make knowledge subjective and refers me to myself when I think to grasp the absolute. The very meaning of knowledge is what it is not and is not what it is; for in order to know being such as it is, it would be necessary to be that being. (Let me add parenthetically that my wife says that only a man could talk as stupidly as Sartre does. I’m just throwing that out for the benefit of the ladies present.) But there is this ‘such as it is’ only because I am not the being which I know; and if I should become it, then the ‘such as it is’ would vanish and could no longer even be thought. We are not dealing here either with skepticism — which supposes precisely that the such as it is belongs to being — nor with relativism. Knowledge puts us in the presence of the absolute, and there is a truth of knowledge. But this truth, although releasing to us nothing more and nothing less than the absolute, remains strictly human.” Now those last two sentences sum it up. And if you didn’t understand all that went before, here it is clear. Knowledge, he says, puts us in the presence of the absolute. You cannot have knowledge without having somewhere an absolute; something in the way of an infallible word, to put it in Christian terms. You cannot have a world of total relativism and have knowledge. Knowledge always puts us in the presence of the absolute. This is why I tell my wife, you can forgive a lot in Sartre because he always comes out with something that is almost ruthlessly honest like that. But of course he says, when you do that, you come in the presence of what is strictly human, we cannot follow him there. But the point is very valid. [00:31:30]

Now, how is Sartre going to get any further than man

Now, how is Sartre going to get any further than man in his knowledge. The fact is he cannot. His absolute is man and he cannot get beyond man. So that, he must say the infallible word is man, and he does. He says, and I quote, “All human activities are equivalent.” Unquote. They’re all just as good as another, all equally absolute, all equally authoritative. And so he says, man must free himself from gold, values, and laws, because then he hampers with his infallible word, you’re diluting the infallible word of man if you allow laws from the outside and the idea of Scripture to impinge on you. The way to get to the infallible word in you is to be yourself completely. So he says, and I quote, “it amounts to the same thing whether one gets drunk alone or is a leader of nations.” Unquote. If you’re doing your thing, fine. In fact there’s a better fact you have the infallible word in the drunk than the leader of nations, because the drunk is there in the corner drinking his bottle, unconcerned about his family or the world, whereas the leader of nations is looking to see if men are really approving of what he’s doing. So, he is diluting his word with other people. Here you have a concept of infallibility, but it’s one crawling on all fours, is it not? So their knowledge winds up in self-knowledge, and instead of being scientific and rational, it is just as authoritative as you can get and hold to infallibility. Thus, we must say philosophy offers us simply an alternate authority, another word, another reason in place of God’s absolute authority and God’s absolute Word. Authority is not replaced by reason or by science, but is transferred to reason and to science as the new gods before whom we must bow down. Max Planck has said that, “Whatever can be measured exists.” Reality is what I say it is. Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen, in a famous paper, Can Quantum Mechanical Description of Physical Reality Be Considered Complete? wrote, and I quote, this is from 1935 in Physical Review, “The elements of the physical reality cannot be determined by a priori philosophical considerations, but must be found by an appeal to results of experiments and measurements. A comprehensive definition of reality, is, however, unnecessary for our purpose. We shall be satisfied with the following criterion, which we regard as reasonable. If, without in any way disturbing a system, we can predict with certainty, that is with probability equal to unity, the value of a physical quantity, then there exists an element of physical reality corresponding to this physical quality.” Now, these men claim, these scientists, that they have renounced a priori thinking, that they give a reasonable criterion for knowledge. But the reasonable criterion they give is again a priori concept they’ve sneaked in after they’ve denied a priori thinking. Because they do not say we know this is so, but we feel it’s reasonable. So again they’ve introduced their idea as authority, they have a closed system with no God in it. They introduce a given which is as authoritative and infallible as anything we hold Scripture to be. True, they retain the option to change it at will for another one which is just as authoritative. [00:36:47]

The criterion therefore of rationality, as held by

The criterion therefore of rationality, as held by humanism, is that if via man they can assert authority and infallibility as nakedly as they choose, as long as they leave God out of authority and infallibility. We are told today that science and reason came into its own with the Greeks. Now my book The One and the Many (My second commercial of the hour, if I may be pardoned) I do cite the fact that the element of occultism was very strong in the Greeks. Aristotle would have his esoteric lectures, the hidden truth, for his disciples, the published word was something else. And I cite the fact that Alexander the Great wrote him when one of his books was published saying, “What benefit is there for us now? I hear your Metaphysics (I believe it was) is being published. We have no hidden truth for ourselves.” And he assured him what I have said is only for the masses, not for you. Occultism, mysticism, all these things riddled Greek philosophical thought. But as long as they were not believing in God, it was rational in the eyes of the scholars and of modern man. The ultimate authority of scientific man, so called, is against God as what is held today. I dealt with various ideas of infallibility among the philosophers, and with Freud, let me cite a few others: Dewey’s idea of the great community, Rousseau in his Social Contract said that “the general will is always right and ever tends to the public advantage.” The majority is always infallibly right, or as others say, the general will as it is incarnate in an elite group, take your choice, but either way infallibility. The doctrine of infallibility, as we said earlier, does not disappear, it transfers. The essence of modernism is the belief that infallibility belongs to the present moment. Infallibility belongs to the present moment or the present age. This was very clearly set forth by O.B. Frothingham, one of the founders of Unitarianism and this movement, a disciple of Hegel, who wrote these things in a book entitled The Religion of Humanity; humanism. He said, and I quote, “The interior spirit of any age is the spirit of god; and no faith can be living that has that spirit against it; no church can be strong except in that alliance. The life of the time appoints the creed of the time and modifies the establishment of the time.” Unquote. This is the faith of modernism and religion and science and politics and the arts and every other area. Every moment has its truth, and the way to be relevant and the way to be true is to express the spirit of the age, and if any church tries to oppose the spirit of that age, it will be weak and it will falter and fail. It will be irrelevant. “The life of the time appoints the creed of the time and modifies the establishment of the time.” Here is pure Hegelianism. This is why modernism appeals so to our age and men are not troubled if they have a different gospel from year to year. The spirit of modernism requires it. And they’re only pleased if their pastor is so relevant, you see. His changing gospel means that he really has the word. And when you keep repeating that same old stuff out of the old black book, well you’re just hopelessly out of step with the times. You’ve lost touch with the true fountainhead of infallibility, the spirit of the age. This is the essence of modernism. It has a doctrine of infallibility, and Frothingham spelled it out very plainly. As a result, yesterday’s truth cannot be considered seriously today. You can honor the book, you use it in the pulpit as a jumping off point, and you take something and you modernize it completely because it’s nice to keep tabs on the past. You can indeed honor Calvin and Augustine or Aquinas or Luther or whomever you choose because they express the spirit of the time in their age. [00:42:58]

I actually heard the president of a theological seminary

I actually heard the president of a theological seminary of the Northern Church in, I believe, 1950, ’51, at the general assembly of the church, when there was a move for the revision of the confession of faith, get up and oppose it, as a {?}, a modernist, and he criticized the man who was calling for radical revision of the creed by declaring, “the creed represents the spirit of the moment at the time of the Westminster Assembly, and it was a great document, we need to retain it and to honor it as the faith of our fathers. But if you begin creating a new revision of the creed, you’re creating something which may be obsolete within a year or two.” So we honor the expressions of the past, but we don’t pin the moment down to another expression because the spirit of the age determines the creed of the age, and it is continually changing and modified. This is why people who say, I’m not going to make a break from the church (I hear this all the time in the Northern Church) until they change the creeds. They don’t have to! The essence of modernism is you can respect the existential expression of the past and go on your way with the existential expression of the past. Let it stand, pay {?} service to it. You believe in existential truth. But to separate ourselves, they say, from the infallible historical moment is death or at best, irrelevance. To quote Frothingham again on this, he said and I quote, “Humanity has but one life, breathes but one atmosphere, draws sustenance from one central orb. To be reconciled with humanity, to feel the common pulse, is life; to be alienated from humanity, to have no share in the common vitality, is death. The slightest material separation is felt disastrously.” Unquote. Be reconciled, he says, with man. And the slightest separation from man is death. It might be worthwhile if you can locate O.B. Frothingham’s The Religion of Humanity, to deal with that. Very, very important book; O.B. Frothingham; The Religion of Humanity. Be reconciled with man, isn’t that the gospel the modernist churches are preaching? Over and over again, isn’t that the gospel of equalitarianism? The gospel of politics today? Be ye reconciled with man, and then there will be salvation. But Isaiah had a better word, “Cease ye from man whose breath is in his nostrils, for wherein is he to be accounted of?” Are there any questions now in our remaining time? First of all, let me remind you there was a paper going around for those who want to be on the Chalcedon Report mailing list. Yes? [00:47:31]

[Audience member] You think Dr

[Audience member] You think Dr. Carnell has made any valuable contributions to Christianity today? I see a lot of schools seriously using him, {?} schools, here and there.

[Rushdoony] Yes, having talked with pupils, I know the damage he has done. They become modernists, while they claim to be believers in the infallible Word, the clear note in their preaching is, reconciliation with man, so that his own seminary, they would have not so much emphasis on a theocentric note, but an anthropocentric note. And students were taken on a pilgrimage into {?} to see what they needed to do for these people. They asked me to speak at one of those seminars, they never asked me back again. Yes?

[Audience member] You mentioned a moment ago about the existential truth of {?} church, how do you view the suffering church as it is now in light of outwardly respecting the existential truth of Westminster Confession, and the outward manifestations of that day.

[Rushdoony] I would say the southern church is not much different than the northern {?} I described. I think the denomination in its leadership is committed to a position not unlike Frothingham. The south is a more conservative part of the country, so it has more of a façade than other churches do, but I think it very definitely is calling for reconciliation with man rather than God, and I think it’s a good church to walk out of.

[Audience laughter]

[Audience member] {?}

[Rushdoony] I haven’t read that particular book. I just browsed through one of his more recent books, He is There and He is Not Silent, this week, and it’s the closest he has ever come to Van Till’s epistemology, and it is a book on epistemology. And it’s a brief and a rather popular statement, but I could not see any deviation from Van Til’s position in He is There and He is Not Silent. So that while I have been told that he says at times to some student groups, there are a few points where he doesn’t agree with Van Til, none of this shows up in He is There and He is Not Silent. But I don’t know that book, I am sorry to say.

[Audience member] He makes a statement here {?} our Christianity must become truly universal, relevant to all things {?} of the world. {?}

[Rushdoony] Yes, well I would have to read it in context to know. We believe the more closely we stick to the Word, the more relevant we are. Now, if you may pardon the personal example, I do try to make my preaching relevant to the current scene always. But I try to make it relevant not in terms of reconciliation to man, but in terms of the sovereign Word of God, and the fact that it applies to all situations. So, relevancy is good if we know what the relevancy is geared to. I don’t believe in purely abstract preaching, I think we have too much of that in the name of orthodoxy and I don’t think it’s healthy. But the kind of relevancy we usually get is more comparable to drowning. Any other questions? Yes? [00:52:23]

[Audience member] ...

[Audience member] {?}

[Rushdoony] What was that now? Yes.

[Audience member] {?} You mentioned Aristotle’s Metaphysics {?}

[Rushdoony] Aristotle’s? No, in my One and the Many, I have quite a bit on Aristotle’s Metaphysics. In fact, Bertrand Russell wasn’t very happy with his own work when he saw what it led to, because the result of his book was; the logical, analytical school of philosophers; Wittgenstein, Tarnac, and the others. And it irritated Russell greatly, because very often men don’t like to see the logical consequences of what they do.

[Audience member] Do you think {?} What I’m saying is {?}

[Rushdoony] Well, no I think there’s more to mathematics then that. Since it’s not my field, I don’t want to comment on it but there is a very brilliant student here in the South who is a graduate student in mathematics and I am encouraging him to go through his PhD program, he’s getting a little discouraged now because he’s finding so much relativism in the field and to develop a Christian theory in this area, but I’d rather stay out of it myself because I don’t feel I’m qualified to comment. I have my ideas but I wouldn’t be prepared to defend them. Are there any other questions? Well we, yes?

[Audience member] For the {?} class, are you, I’ve forgotten {?} for this evening still stands or not, the time?

[Rushdoony] Yes, at 8 o’clock I will be in the class, it’s behind the chapel I believe.

[Audience member] {?}

[Rushdoony] Yes, {?}. Well, I think we’re adjourned now even though we {?}

[End of tape]

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