The Truth About God The Father

Critique of Chafer's Chapter 10-13 Theology Proper (129-180)

A common failure of our documented systematic theologies is their propensity to systematically explore orthodox and/or traditional doctrines which have no scriptural bases whatsoever. Naturalistic Theism encompasses exactly such a feckless exercise.1

For one whole chapter of twenty five pages Dr. Chafer waxes very philosophical and very, very verbose in trying to decipher what mankind could know about the existence of God, without the presence of God's revelation to man. This theologian's immediate response; “Who cares?” Our more pressing reaction should be “What does God's written Word tell us of man's intrinsic knowledge about God, and man's standing before Him?” A discussion of ontological arguments logically assembled by philosophers of yesteryear has no place whatsoever in a systematic theology. Arguing for or against the existence of reality, categorizing universal characteristics of existence and explaining “I think therefore I am,” is a sophomoric exercise for a philosophy student, or cultist's ground for Mary Baker Glover Eddy's Christian-Science reading room, but not the sacred ground for the theologian with a Holy Bible in his lap.

Likewise twenty two wordy paragraphs defining a teleological aposterior argument which proves the existence of God is nothing more than philosophical fodder with no founded place in a systematic theology. Supposing a power which produces intelligence and rational thought might somehow lack intelligence and rational thought is such a profound tom-foolery that it should not even be named theological, let alone find seven whole pages in a systematic theology book. In his own conclusion Dr. Chafer admits that such “abstract speculations” are completely unnecessary.2

Dr. Chafer does include two necessary arguments about man's intrinsic knowledge of God; the cosmological argument and the anthropological argument. But even in these his development is wholly philosophical and completely lacking for the theologian, even categorically incompetent for a systematic theologian. A competent cosmological argument and a competent anthropological argument must start where the Word of God starts, and not where the vain logical philosophies of mere men starts. The theologian must, as heretofore stated by all parties, begin with an infallible, inerrant source and unravel what has been revealed about Naturalistic Theism. Such a volume must first cast off all of Hodge, Strong, Thiessen and Chafer's Ontological-Teleological arguments as vain philosophy. There are two and only two pertinent books that fill their pages with philosophy; Job and Ecclesiastes. Neither of them contain ontological or teleological considerations. Why? Both of these philosophy dissertations begin and revolve around what Scripture reveals as man's intrinsic knowledge about God. Ergo a systematic theology presenting Naturalistic Theism must begin with nothing more and should venture through none of the rationalistic mud of unregenerate philosophers. Chafer's whole chapter needs to be reorganized and rewritten. Just such a venture was begun in the appendix of this report, and is presently in draft before you.

Critique of Chafer's Chapter 14 The Attributes of God (187-224)

Chapter 14 of Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer's Systematic Theology disqualifies him as a candidate for writing a theology book, and it thoroughly and completely disqualifies him for writing a systematic theology. In this chapter, titled “The Attributes of God”, a crescendo of improper, unsystematic organization crosses a line of incompetence where his scattered ramblings cannot be rationally comprehended. In this chapter, needing concise conclusions about our God and Father, passive communication methods cross a threshold in ones ability to comprehend his subject, his verb and the possible existence of indirect objects. In this Chapter where the heart of theology resides one cannot find sound Biblical Doctrine, Biblical research methods or Biblical hermeneutics. These observations make Chafer's six volume set uncomfortable in an independent Baptist theologians library.3

There are three glaring failures in Chafer's systematic theology; his failure to organize a presentation of doctrine, his failure to communicate anything in an active voice and a concise English sentence, and his failure to comprehend and capture a purely Biblical theology. These necessitate the review of more competent systematic works, and makes obvious the dire need of a purely Biblical systematic theology work captured in something less than six volumes.

Three more competent systematic works capture a profound insight to the attributes of God and surely capture a more thoroughly organized systematic theology. First, Dr. Chafer's lack genders a new respect of Augustus H. Strong. A strong attraction is in Strong's Baptist heritage; Baptist historically being people of the Book, i.e. people with the Holy Bible as a final authority and the being a sole authority of all faith and practice, ergo, people who defy creeds, traditions, and human founders, to rest solely on this one authority. Augustus Strong exhibits genius in organizing and communicating Bible doctrine and systematic theology. His prominent systematic errors being his acceptance of evolution as his creator, and his acceptance of the Presbyterian and Reformed-Theology and their unchangeable “decrees” of God. His organization captures well the attributes of God, however, as the first chapter of Part IV of his first volume. That part entitled “The nature, decrees, and works of God.”4

Chafer's whole section titled Bibliology, needed to be re-written to incorporate a Biblical view of inspiration; his whole chapter of “Naturalistic Theism,” needed to be re-written to capture any Biblical view at all; and now, his chapter on the attributes, personality and works of God is found to be in such unorganized, excessively passive and verbose conglomeration that it too needs to be re-written. Such a re-write, following Augustus Strong's superb example is begun in Appendix 3 of this report.

Henry Clarence Thiessen is the other Baptist author of a Systematic Theology. His organization and writing is far superior to Chafer's. His one volume called “Introductory Lectures In Systematic Theology” incorporates a very concise and careful wording of doctrine, where Chafer exhibits six volumes of verbose imprecise wording of the same. Both seem to equally capture evangelical error, with an un-Biblical doctrine of inspiration, naturalistic theology, and of the decrees of God, but Thiessen is greatly preferred to the excessively passive and verbose mannerisms of Dr. Chafer.

Dr. Thiessen divided his Theism from his Theology, as did Strong, and he organized the latter as: 1) The Nature of God- Essence and Attributes, 2) The Nature of God- The Unity and Trinity, 3) The Decrees of God, 4) The Works of God in Sovereignty. Such a work mimics the organization structure and content of Strong and makes a worthy outline for a re-write of Chafer's vain attempt.

Charles Hodge,(1797-1878) in a perfectly thorough systematic theology, by a perfectly thorough, albeit Presbyterian, theologian, organized his Theology Proper as: 1) Origin of the idea of God, 2) Theism, 3) Anti-Theistic theories, 4) knowledge of God, 5) The Nature of God and His Attributes, 6) the Trinity, 7) The Divinity of Christ, 8) The Holy Spirit, 9) The Decrees of God, 10) Creation, 11) Providence, and 12) Miracles.

For the area of Theology Proper it would be hard to improve on Hodges Systematic approach. Strong seems to be the first to separate Theism from Theology and that separation is artificial and unnecessary. Where each theologian should have expounded the Bibles dispensationalism, under the works of God, alas none have. A special disappointment is hailed for Chafer, who started with a burning desire to word dispensationalism but had no depth to include it under the works of God. Instead all these theologians spent exorbitant time defending the Westminster confession and its fatalistic heresy; that God decrees everything that happens, and knew who you'd marry before the foundation of the earth!5 And also supposing that God knows every soul that shall be saved and decreed it before the foundation of the earth!6 And also that God knows every soul headed to hell and predestined them to go there before the foundation of the earth!7

Hodge the Presbyterian, worshiper of John Calvin, made his Systematic Theology systematically Westminster, and loyal to Roman diabolical philosophies. Strong, bolstered the deity of Christ in his, but retained the Westminster confession without correction, and would not depart from vain philosophy. Thiessen departed from inspiration of Scripture, but not from the Westminster Confession or philosophical viewpoints. And Chafer added unmitigated wordiness to Thiessen, bolstered the denial of plenary verbal inspiration, infallibility and inerrancy, while bowing the more loyally to the Westminster as he spinelessly regurgitated the philosophical perspectives; perspectives incorporated by Roman Catholics and carried on by Protestants who did nor protest enough. It is high time that someone with a systems background and a solid grasp on an infallible inerrant sole authority, defy the Westminster Confession of 1646, defy the philosopher and define a Biblical Systematic Theology. Alas Chafer is not that man.

Critique of Chafer's Chapter 15 Divine Decrees (pg. 225-259)

A supposition about Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer's competence in writing a systematic theology is worded previously but a comment on his thirty five pages defending the Westminster Confession's divine decrees is in order here. He starts by asserting that anyone who would disagree with the Westminster's interpretation is “dishonoring and misleading.”8 He contends that since both the Westminster Confession of 1646 and the Bible assert the decree, the purpose, the determinate counsel, the foreknowledge, the fore ordination, and the election by which God is said to act, therefore the Westminster Confession of 1646 is the truth. Incidentally, it reports as truth that God decrees everything that happens and knew who you'd marry before the foundation of the earth!9 that God knows every soul that shall be saved and decreed it before the foundation of the earth!10 and that God knows every soul headed to hell and predestined them to go there before the foundation of the earth!11

Dr. Chafer then rambles on and on for thirty three pages before he allows a Rev. Alex Brown to write his misguided conclusion.12 Dr. Chafer is provided a perfect convenience for writing out his dispensational theology in a section about the works of God, instead of writing about the actual works of God he expands and justifies the Roman Catholic myth, worded by John Calvin, codified in the Westminster Confession of 1646, perpetuated by Presbyterians, certified by Reformed Theologians, and presently creeping in to non-Protestant (i.e. Baptists) theology, the myth of divine decrees. Someone needs to accentuate the old relevant story and declare in no uncertain terms, “The Emperor has NO clothes.”13

I hold in my hands a Bible that declares, Prayer changes things, and they hold in their systematic theologies that, All is foreknown, nothing can change. One is wrong. I hold in my hands a Bible that says, “It repented God that He had made man”, that God repented of what he was going to do to Nineveh, and that God and I can change the eternal destiny of my neighbor, and they write a systematic theology that says “nay, nay.” I hold in my lap a book that says Sarah gave Hagar to Abram and mucked up a situation with obtuse consequences; they say God planned it that way from the foundation of the world. I hold a book that says Abraham intervened for Lot and caused his salvation, they say God would have done it that way anyhow. My Bile says Moses intervened to prevent God from destroying the Sons of Israel, they say God was just pulling Moses' leg with false threats. My Bible says Joash only had three victories because he only struck his arrows three times, their decrees say God didn't rearrange his plan he just deceived old Elisha and Joash. My book says God changed his minded, God changed his Word, and God changed his message just to give Hezekiah thirteen more years of life; they say he was just messing with Elisha and Hezekiah's head. It is high time somebody stood up to these dishonoring deceivers and plainly declared that the Westminster Confession is WRONG! One is responsible for their own actions, decisions, and rejections, and God does pay attention to the whosoevers of the Bible. Again, Dr. Chafer proved not to be that man.

Critique of Chafer's Chapter 16 The Names of Deity (260-271)

Chafer worded an excellent chapter on The Names of Deity. There is a distinct break from his very wordy, excessively philosophical style previously displayed. He emphasized in this chapter that the Scriptures were his main source. This had not been mentioned or practiced previous. It made all the difference in the world. The concise wording seems to be accomplished by citing other works heavily, but it was a joy to read a concise well worded chapter. Evidently he wrote his own conclusion, that is the only portion that reminded me of his disturbing style.

Critique of Chafer's Chapter 17-19 Trinitarianism (272-317)

Chafer's Trinitarianism was reviewed. It was disturbing that Chafer worded this thirty nine word sentence, “The fact that men of equal sincerity disagree relative to the possibility of reason serving in the field of this doctrine is evidence that unaided human minds fail in their attempts to search the deep things of God,” which highlights his insufficiency to word a concise definitive section on the trinitarian doctrine. Again Strong is far more capable as a theologian in this area. Chafer outlines his section as follows:

Chapter 17 Introduction to Trinitarianism

Chapter 18 Proof of the Trinitarian Doctrine

Chapter 19 God the Father

Chapter 20-26 God the Son

I. His Preexistencetic Union

II. His Names

III. His Deity

IV. His Incarnation

V. His Humanity

VI. The Kenosis

VII. The Hyposta

Chapter 27 God the Holy Spirit

While Strong has this detailed and clarified presentation of the doctrine:

Chapter II. Doctrine op the Trinity, 304-352

I. In Scripture there are Three who are recognized as God, 305-322

1. Proofs from the New Testament, 305-317

A. The Father is recognized as God, 305

B. Jesus Christ is recognized as God, 305-315

C. The Holy Spirit is recognized as God, 315-317

2. Intimations of the Old Testament, 317-322

A. Passages which seem to teach Plurality of some sort in the Godhead, 317-819

B. Passages relating to the Angel of Jehovah, . . . 319-320

C. Descriptions of the Divine Wisdom and Word, 320-321

D. Descriptions of the Messiah, 321-322

II. These Three are so described in Scripture, that we are compelled to conceive them as distinct Persons, 322-326

1. The Father and the Son are Persons distinct from each other, 322

2. The Father and the Son are Persons distinct from the Spirit, 322-323

3. The Holy Spirit is a Person, 323 326

III. This Tri-personality of the Divine Nature is not merely economic and temporal, but is immanent and eternal, 326-330

1. Scripture Proof that these distinctions of Pesonality are eternal, 326

2. Errors refuted by the Scripture Passages, . . . 327-330

A. The Sabellian, 827-328

B. The Arian, 328-330

VI While there are three Persons, there is but one Essence, 330-334

V. These three Persons are Equal, 334-343

1. These Titles belong to the Persons, 834-336

2. Qualified Sense of these Titles, 335-340

3. Generation and Procession consistent with Equality, 340-343

VI. The Doctrine of the Trinity inscrutable, yet not self contradictory, but the Key to all other Doctrines, 344-352

1. The Mode of this Triune Existence is inscrutable, 344-345 p

2. The Doctrine of the Trinity is not self-contradictory, 345-347

3. The Doctrine of the Trinity has important relations to other Doctrines, 347-352

Dr. Chafer's extremely wordy, improperly organized section on the trinity is dwarfed by existing systematic theology works. It is to be unstaged by “A Systematic Theology for the 21st Century.” Praise the Lord.

1This section is extracted from a “TH802 report ADVANCED SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY II TH802 WRITTEN REPORT” Presented to the Faculty of Louisiana Baptist University In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for Doctorate of Philosophy in Theological Studies, 2013

2Chafer, Systematic Theology Vol. 1, 161.

3Extracted from TH802 report, 2013. [This passionate dismissal of Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer's systematic theology is not meant to dismiss his genius and integrity. As the founder and president of Dallas Theological Seminary, and the author of eight volumes of systematic theology, his high regard should not be significantly diminished by this critique.]

4Strong's Volume is organized in four parts; 1) Prolegomena, 2) The Existence of God, 3) The Scriptures A Revelation From God, 4) The Nature, Decrees and Works of God.

5Westminster Confession of Faith (1646) Chap III, Article 1. God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass ...

6Westminster Confession of Faith (1646) Chap III, Article 3-4, III. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death. IV. These angels and men, thus predestinated, and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished.

7Westminster Confession of Faith (1646) Chap III, Article 3-4, Previously quoted from accessed 09/05/2013.

8Chafer, Systematic Theology Vol. 1, 225.

9Westminster Confession of Faith (1646) Chap III, Article 1, Previously quoted from accessed 09/05/2013.

10Westminster Confession of Faith (1646) Chap III, Article 3-4, III,Previously quoted from accessed 09/05/2013.

11Westminster Confession of Faith (1646) Chap III, Article 3-4, Previously quoted from accessed 09/05/2013.

12Chafer, Systematic Theology Vol. 1, 257-259.

13Reference to short story Emperor's New Clothes, 1837, by Hans Christian Anderson.

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Theology Proper Conclusion 44

The Systematic Theology for the 21st Century Part 3 Theollogy Proper - The Study of God the Father
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