I am currently going through Joel McDurmon’s Biblical Logic in Theory and Practice.
It’s tough sledding: not as enjoyable a read as his other books, but I think that’s more due to the difficult subject matter than any failing of the author. As a comparison, a math book – even a great math textbook, by a godly and lively-spirited man — is going to be rather dry and convoluted in parts.
This is a 404 page book on logic, after all: just like all the serious sciences, there is no shortcut to get where you want to go.
(And yes, there is such a thing as Christian Mathematics. James Nickel, in Mathematics: Is God Silent?, does a good job in getting the point across.
There really isn’t any ‘objective viewpoint’, untouched by Christ. There is a reason why math is so unreasonably effective, after all!)
Still, if you can fight your way through the thickets — or, better yet, take your time and digest each point in its turn — there is a lot to be gained.
What makes the book valuable, and a real gem that I would recommend to any (future) Christian Magistrate upholding the Law-Word of Christ, is just how closely the writer hews to the written word of God.
For example, take McDurmon’s illustration of Aristotle’s writing, who his enemies were, and how Christian logic differs from the humanist logic of Aristotle.
Aristotle provided the first systematic examination of logic, and he did so primarily because of the prevalence of trained rhetoricians who hired out their persuasive abilities for money. Many became very rich and famous. This group of “sophists” (from the Greek sophos, “wise”; of such people see Rom. 1:22) did not care about the truth of any particular issue; they merely cared about winning the argument for their paying clients. Sophists prided themselves on their ability to take either side of any argument and win. As a result, society grew ever more vicious while suppressing and essentially penalizing all concern for truth and righteousness in judgment. The prevalence of sophistry led to the subsidizing of false witness. It paid to lie, and paid better to lie well.
A hideous situation. It’s harder and harder to get a really big lie going now, compared to even 20 years ago — this is God’s world, not Satan, and this land will be increasingly redeemed.
But still, the less effective lies of today can kill millions even today, even if the murders are now hidden in the womb, rather than hidden in Siberia. Smooth sophistry justifies the murders… and it is this sophistry (and much other like it) that Christians must shatter with the truth, rightfully defined and powerfully spoken.
Aristotle, despite his own humanistic flaws, sought to counter “sophistry” by outlining proper ways to reason, and by systematically exposing all the ways in which sophists could create devious persuasions. […]
In order to avoid such errors, Christians should have a solid view of what elengchi—“refutation” or “convincing”—actually is. We can begin with Aristotle himself, and progress into a biblical understanding.
To describe genuine refutations—those that derive from logical conclusions—Aristotle used the Greek word elengchon, which plays an important role in later New Testament Greek as well. For Aristotle, the word simply referred to a sound logical refutation of a philosophical argument, the virtue of the refutation resting in the fact that it worked logically from the point of view of humanistic reason. Later Greeks expanded the concept to include correction in general, but particularly pertaining to basic ways of living as opposed to philosophical arguments.
Biblical writers employ the same term elegnchon in order to mean more than general “correction” or “refutation,” but particularly to refer to the discipline and education God gives to man in history.6 This view appears already in the Greek Old Testament (begun about 250 BC). Wisdom cries to man in Proverbs 1:23, Turn to my reproof [elengchois], Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. Here the role of God’s Spirit factors in—a crucial feature of New Testament reproof and conviction. God calls his people to accept godly correction: My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord, or loathe His reproof (Prov. 3:11). In fact, correction according to God’s standards indicates God’s fatherly love for us: For whom the Lord loves He reproves, even as a father, the son in whom he delights (Prov. 3:12; see Heb. 12:5–6; Rev. 3:19). A person’s acceptance of reproof reveals his character: Do not reprove a scoffer, lest he hate you, reprove a wise man, and he will love you (Prov. 9:8; 12:1; 13:18; 15:10, 12; 29:1). The love of logical correction marks godly wisdom; the hatred of it reveals foolishness, and actually self-hatred (Prov. 15:32).
You know what I love about this?
I love all the biblical quotes.
A Christian can work with this kind of logic! Not just blah-blah-blah, not merely academic cant geared to obscure the obvious while elevate the speaker, but actual meat and sharpened steel that a godly mind can sink his teeth in… and put to work.
Such a heart for God’s corrections will help a person remain patient: listening first, then discerning, then speaking if necessary. The patient, wise listener knows that God’s corrections and instruction come in many ways, and from very unlikely, often lowly, sources. God confronted a rebellious Balaam with an angel that only his donkey could see. Balaam beat the God-obeying donkey, and God moved the donkey to “reprove” Balaam. Peter tells us that the donkey gave Balaam a rebuke [elengxin] and by that restrained the madness of a prophet (2 Pet. 2:16). If God can move a donkey to think critically, He can move you.
That’s the great thing about being redeemed, in body and soul and mind: there is still hope, even for badly flawed men. “If a donkey can pull it off…”
Christ offers a hand up, even to intellectually conceited… who is willing to admit the obvious, and humble himself.
God’s people ought to engage in critical thinking, and ought to engage each other in reproof, though no doubt in humility and Christian love. Through such confrontation we expose the kinds of errors that clever hearts learn to rationalize and hide: The first to plead his case seems just, until another comes and examines [elengchetai] him (Prov. 18:17). And through such examination we actually earn mutual respect and love among the wise: He who rebukes [elengchon] a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with the tongue (Prov. 28:23).
The favour of a truly noble man – not noble as in mere social status, but noble as in elevated and of a truly superior quality — is worth earning.
The long term goal of a Christian man is to be that true noble, a genuine King and Priest, closely imitating Jesus Christ, the first and greatest of many brethren, our High Priest and the King of Kings, the finest model for any aspirational noble heart and sterling mind.
The New Testament gives the word a very similar thrust, usually referring to correction from sin and including a call to repentance, or change toward right living.7 This comes out in the very teaching of Jesus, in a passage vital to our biblical doctrine of logic. Jesus teaches that in His absence, the Holy Spirit acts as the power behind correct thinking and living—a power that calls and guides His people in to truth, and condemns those who reject truth. Jesus says of the Holy Spirit,
He, when He comes, will convict [elengxei] the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you no longer behold Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you (John 16:7–14).
The Holy Spirit, testifying of Jesus, refutes our error and convinces us to turn to righteousness. He speaks only the truth, and testifies only the truth of Jesus. He guides the Christian into truth, refuting error according to the standard of God’s law ( Jam. 2:9). Jesus personally embodies this law; He is the standard of truth by which God corrects us. As the Truth Himself, no man can offer a refutation of Him: Which one of you convicts Me of sin? (John 8:46). The answer to this rhetorical question, of course, is “no one.” God’s word is complete and final; no man can add to or take away from it without earning refutation from God: Every word of God is tested…. Do not add to His words lest He reprove [elengxe] you, and you be proved a liar (Prov. 30:5). Arguments that deny God’s word or deviate from His standards of truth, therefore, commit fallacies and deny logic.
From a sound Biblical foundation, filled with the Holy Spirit, a Christian man can change the world.
Indeed, he is commanded to do so.
One quibble: and it has nothing to do with McDurmon’s reasoning.
Earlier, he writes:
One of the strongest of these hidden desires [putting on a logical face to justify self-pleasuring goals – AP] derives from fallen human nature itself: how a person relates to God, or how he views religion. This holds true whether he denies God, or improperly represents God’s truth. For example, someone living a sexually immoral lifestyle may deny the existence of God merely because they do not like the sexual standards God gives to live by. Such a person may create all kinds of smart-sounding arguments even though they know they can never philosophically prove a negative claim (such as “God does not exist”). Nevertheless, they will embrace the silliest reasoning against God because all the while they have a deeply harbored prejudice against Christian morality.
A Christian, however, may read the scenario above and mistakenly adopt it as a refutation against atheism in general. Such a Christian may then tell his random atheist friend, “Atheists deny God’s existence because they just want to live deviant, pleasure-driven lifestyles.” Such a Christian would likely have committed the Fallacy of Hasty Generalization, which improperly applies attributes of a small sample to an entire group. What may truly apply to one or even many atheists does not necessarily transfer to this particular atheist’s case. The Christian would do better to examine his friend’s claims about the world, expose the fundamental errors of his worldview, and then show why only the Christian worldview can account for human experience (including our desires!). Adopting the claim above, however, leaves both the atheist and Christian resting upon fallacies.
McDurmon is right here… but it is a wearisome truth, to judge every individual case on its merits. Especially after you have heard endless variations of the same self-serving lies, over and over again, ad nauseam.
Still, there is no place for a 99% righteous judge in God’s economy. That 1% of unrighteousness — in this case, justified by laziness and typically (but not always) accurate stereotypes — leads to 10% unrighteousness faster than you think, and then we again get to today’s situation of a blatantly corrupt judicial establishment.
Satan is always looking for that weak spot in your armour.
Merely replacing Christ-hating secular judges with corrupt judges who wave around Bible verses a lot merely opens the door to even harsher punishment by God.
- Demonic evil done in the name of The People cries out for destruction, which is coming in the fullness of time.
- Demonic evil done in the name of God gets its brains smashed out before I finish this sentence.
There are those who will claim that the above sentence is not literally true. I have decided to let the sentence stand exactly as I wrote it.
God is fierce when it comes to protecting His Name.
Let every Christian tremble in fear… a highly justified fear, by the way.
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.– Matthew 5:48
As of this writing, there have been pointedly anti-Christian governments in charge of large swaths of the Middle East for centuries now, and there are still a few genuine Marxist dictatorships tottering about here and there.
In contrast, the Nazis got about 13 years total, and Compassionate, Tolerant Europe is not long for this world.
If you are going to do evil, if you choose to despise the Son (and therefore choose to despise the Father), don’t bring God’s name into it, don’t rope in the Bible to support your filth, and don’t preen about how Loving and Kind you are. If you have already chosen hell over heaven, why go the extra mile and call down fire from heaven?
If you choose to stand against Christ the King, your personal appointment with the flames is coming indeed. No need to rush things.
But I definitely recommend doing what is right in God’s sight, rather than what is evil and repulsive. Upholding Christ and His Law-Word makes for a better, more meaningful life (with much greater joy), and a far, far better reward five minutes after your death.
Biblical Logic is a difficult endeavor, worthy of the best of Christian minds, and that hard road must be followed — along with a disciplined, rigorous understanding of Biblical Law and Biblical Casuistry (case-based reasoning) — to build a godly, free, and just society.
We don’t have one yet, because we are fearful of rotting dead people who kill their children, hate self-discipline, loathe the Law, and have clearly chosen the pleasures of the moment over the sacrifices needed to master the future.
Why fear blind, rotting dead men?
Fear the Living God instead.
Obey the King, Jesus, who the Father has placed over you as your Master and your Saviour.
Be filled with the Holy Spirit, sent by the Father and the Son, to guide you to a holy and lasting victory over the deluded and willfully blind failures that stagger about around you.
Expand the Kingdom.
Crush in the head of the snake.