In our posts about the current Trinitarian debate, we mentioned that this is actually not a new debate. The speculative and errant doctrines have been published for well over a decade (perhaps two), sold by trusted conservative Reformed and Evangelical publishers, and even taught at confessional Reformed seminaries. In the following lecture, Dr. James Dolezal demonstrates exactly this in his exposition of the theological writings of Profs. John Frame and K. Scott Oliphint. We gratefully credit Mr. Michael Lynch, another student at Calvin Theological Seminary, for pointing out this section of Dr. Dolezal’s lecture.
These views are not precisely the same as Dr. Ware’s, but they are similarly foundational in their creative suggestions. They are modifying the basic confessional understanding of the divine nature. Pointing this out is not meant to be an automatic defeater or “attack.” Rather, it is the reverse. We point this out to say that we ought not quickly condemn certain theologians without honestly acknowledging the breadth of the theological diversity and provocation in our own contexts. We cannot pretend that everything has been tidily in order, nor that it is only Baptists who have dared to push the boundaries. This controversy is our controversy, and conservative Reformed and Evangelical theologians need to acknowledge a certain amount of corporate responsibility for it.
The relevant section starts around the 47 minute mark.
One reply on “Dr. James Dolezal on Revisionist Theology in Contemporary Reformed Theology”
I find it difficult to resonate with anything Dolezal says here, and not just because of his arrogant and sarcastic tone. This is strife over words. John 1:14 says that the eternal Word “became flesh”? The historic Christian faith affirms that God “became” man. It is not inherently dangerous or heretical to affirm that the eternal God becomes in time, as long as the right qualifications are made and God’s eternality is not denied. Dolezal only quotes Frame’s qualifications and explicit commitment to God’s eternality so that he can make sarcastic faces while he does so and then repeat it as though he has made an argument against it. Moreover, in some sense, God became creator at the beginning of creation, since creation has a date. We don’t get to make up an illogical proposition — “God has been creating eternally” — and then condemn those who reject it, especially if this proposition necessary implies either that creation is eternal or that the creator is co-temporal with his creation. Or at the very least, if Dolezal gets to affirm something incomprehensible without having to work out all the details and potential problems before doing so, so does Frame. It doesn’t matter what you call it, but every Christian who has a relationship with God knows that God exists both above creation and in creation. Frame never says that God comes into existence. A failure to see this is simply a failure to read charitably. Frame is simply trying to affirm and explain the obvious reality that the eternal God lives and moves and acts and relates to his people and his creation in history in real ways. Give me Frame’s humility thoroughgoing personalism (regarding theology proper) any day of the week.
Pastor, Church of the Good Shepherd
North Augusta, SC