If I understand the Cedarville situation correctly, there is a debate going on over this statement, which they want to be the standard for faculty employment and which contains within it the seeds of its own contradiction.

The Holy Scriptures as found in the books contained in the Old and New Testaments constitute a sure and certain revelation of God. The Scriptures are both inerrant (contain no error) and infallible (will not lead astray). Limitations in human ability and the ravages of sin interfere with our ability to interpret its message, but the Bible's message is true and certain in its entirety. The great doctrines of the Faith are given in the Holy Scripture with such clarity that we can be wholly certain of these truths.

How can one be wholly certain of any truths in Scripture if limitations in human ability and the ravages of sin interfere with our ability to interpret Scripture (which would be a necessary position to hold since Christian doctrine has evolved over time)?

It is tempting to scoff at this point, but I have to admit as I look at it, this issue strikes at the heart of fundamentalist Christianity. If we cannot be certain of the great truths of scripture the fundamentalist house of cards (i.e., that scripture is inerrant and infallible) tumbles to the floor - at least for all practical purposes. Without certainty it is possible that scripture really is inerrant and infallible, but we sinners would simply have no way of knowing it.

Of course, the certainty issue is the "official argument", the real meat of this argument isn't about the epistemological implications of certainty, but about the firings. The professors that have been dismissed are inline with the "old guard" which pisses off the conservatives (like Bartholomew who's been around since nearly the Presbyterian days). The appearance that Cedarville is sliding away from the good, old doctrines of the Faith and beginning to mingle with undesirables is also playing a part here. Bartholomew offers advice to parents who may be worried about their children (his term) on how they can avoid "the fractured-faith syndrome (sometimes termed by detractors as the Mills Malignancy)". Let us pray that more Cedarville students are exposed to the Mills Malignancy and thereby move on to embrace sense.

This is the terror moving across Cedarville's campus, according to Amy-Hope Guisleman (a philosophy professor who resigned because of her objection to Cedarville's tolerance of any non-certainty view):

I was teaching on this issue (certainty) this morning in class when one of my students expressed the fact that he was blown away by a course he took here at Cedarville in which students were asked if they knew that the Bible is true. Most responded 'yes' and the professor proceeded to demonstrate to them that they did not in fact know it. They were left with the instruction that though we cannot know that the Bible is true, we must accept its truth on faith.

I have to agree this is an insidious doctrine, but not for the reason the certainty crowd would put forth. In fact, I find this position more insidious than the certainty position, because you could attack the certainty position on a rational front, but the non-certainty view insists on accepting biblical authority in the absence of any reason to accept it over any other piece of paper that has claimed to be divine revelation. This is why it will eventually prevail (mark my words). It is less stringent and less defensible from a fundamentalist point of view, but it is more resistant to being rooted out by rational inquiry. We are watching memetic extinction in action. How exciting.


Just because it's hard to dismiss so much fodder for comment, some disjointed pot-shots follow.

Bartholomew writes about Amy Hope-Guiselman, "Having prepared for a life of teaching in a Christian environment, she found that unbearable because of the heterodoxy there." - I can't think of anything more pansy-assed than quitting your job because you have to work in an environment where there are people who disagree with you. How fragile does your philosophy have to be that it cannot survive in a heterogeneous environment?

Also from Article II: "Such should probably reprove Dr. Luke for writing that "Jesus showed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs" (Acts 1:3). Let us hope that ABNOCers don't conduct their lives by the thesis that we don't need "proven facts." The Apostle John reminded his readers right up front that which "we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled...(I John 1:1). That sounds like he is providing sensate facts to his readers." - For the sake of argument, let's say that Jesus really was an historical figure and really did show Luke and John the many infallible proofs they write about in their respective Gospels. Only the densest, most obtuse fool would say that those writings constitute "sensate facts" for us readers today. At best, they are hearsay.

"You do not threaten people with the greatest consequence in the world, damnation, without making certain to them the terms of entrance and avoidance. Such a God would be unjust, arbitrary, not to be worshipped. But our God has made the terms certain." - This is an absurd statement. God has done nothing to make the bible stand out in the midst of all the other scriptures in the world. Once one takes a step back out of the closeted, claustrophobic world of Mid-Western Regular Baptist theology, it is readily apparent that there is an entire marketplace of gods all making similar (and often mutually contradictory) claims and that the bible of the fundamentalists looks no different from any other scripture vying for the lost man's attention.

"A God who does not provide certainty in the most consequential act of life (heaven or hell) is not to be worshipped as a just god, but as an unfair, unjust authoritarian. The amazing fine tuning of the universe, and the astonishing facts of cell complexity reinforce the certainty of creation and the Creator. Humans are "wihout excuse" (Rom. 1:20) God is vindicated. Students who learn this can proceed with certain, solid underpinnings." - As usual, theologians should stay away from science because they pathologically bend and misinterpret it to suit their own ends. The physical constants are not fine-tuned. The universe is obviously not suited (on average) for human occupancy (cf the small number of "earth like" planets in the observed universe). The biochemical complexity of the cell is not a problem for evolution nor does it imply the cell was "designed".