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RE: [Covenanted Reformation] Re: Degree

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  • Gus Gianello
    Mr. Bump, How can you be so naive and make such a precipitous and hasty judgement. I know legitimate colleges and universities that award honorary degrees for
    Message 1 of 35 , Jan 8, 2008
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      Mr. Bump,
      How can you be so naive and make such a precipitous and hasty judgement.  I know legitimate colleges and universities that award honorary degrees for life experience and self-learning.  Trinity College, which was until recently associated with the university system in Oxford (ie. Oxford University), awards degrees based on life experience, self- tutelage and written and verbal exams.  Degrees only establish that the minimum amount of required study and knowledge has been attained, not the way it is attained.  Are you telling me that if I have studied Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, Latin, German, Theology, Church History, Philosophy, Logic, Rhetoric, ON MY OWN it is a SIN for me to receive an honorary degree from a college or university to acknowledge my self-acquired acumen?  NOPE, you say, it would be dishonest, you have to spend 100,000 dollars in a STATE sanctioned school and attain it ("earn" it) by STATE sanctioned means because otherwise it is dishonest.  You want to show me from Scripture where the STATE has a right duty and obligation to mandate education or educational requirements?
       
      If the STATE has NO business in education, which the apostle Paul makes clear in Rom 13, who are you, or anyone else to decide whether a degree was earned or not?  I am stunned that a covenanter who proclaims the crown rights of King Jesus, when it comes to the area of education, bows to the state, bends the knee and acquiesces.  Do you also believe homeschoolers should be imprisoned because the knowledge their children learn isnt state-sanctioned and authorized and regulated and therefore their "high school equivalency" status isnt earned.  Maybe we ought to take a 17 year old homeschooler and force him to go thru the "legitimate" state sanctioned public system--starting at grade one!  I know you do not.
       
      There is no question that a purchased degree from a degree mill is dubious at best.  But the problem is not where or how people get their degrees but that anyone would give credence to them.  In my own industry IT, I see this all the time.  People being hired with an MCSE (Microsoft Certified System Engineer), who dont know how to change the RAM in a computer, or block a security breach in a network.  All they are is paper.  The solution to bad degrees is not to insist on state-sanctioned degrees from state-sanctioned institutions, but to impute to them the kind of value that Scripture does, which is NONE at all.  Read 1 Tim 3, and Titus 1. See any mention of degrees?  In fact, except for the "apt to teach" clause, EVERY SINGLE QUALIFICATION is moral, ethical and practical!  Sure ministers ought to be educated.  But what is the point of being able to parse a greek verb, if you systematically abuse your parishioners.  Isnt the recent debacle at the RPNA (GM) proof of that.  In fact isnt this how cults start?  Men with DEGREES or some other kind of elitist knowledge TELL people what to believe, and the people are told that to think on your own, to question, to challenge, is dangerous.  Degrees have a tendency to lead to hubris.  Not always, but often.  Degrees are like money, nice to have if properly used, but damning if they become master instead of servant.  Most people do not have the discipline to study academics intensively, so they need a structured setup, the kind you get at a school, but there are others, like myself, who have a natural predisposition to being scholars.  (My essay on Zero Population Growth and its implications for future ecological disasters, was requested by the University of Winnipeg.  It was written when I was 18 and just recently converted.)
       
      So what do we have today?  Snot nosed 24 year olds who are presumptuous and arrogant, thinking they have all the answers because they have an M.Div.  Remember Paul called Timothy a young man, and Timothy was probably in his 40s.  What would Paul make of almost all ministers today who come out of 4 years of college and 4 years of seminary in their 20s, but dont know how to run a household, or dont know what it means to live in poverty, or work at a job where they are despised.  I dare say, and I say it as an academic, that MOST Christian laity, especially in Reformed and Covenanter circles are more qualified to be teaching elders and most seminary graduates.  Its sad to say but mostly true, with some notable exceptions, that if you want your child to lose his faith, send him to a university or seminary!  And, I'll say it clearly so it isnt misunderstood, some covenanter godly women are BETTER qualified to be pastors than the men--even though they are forbidden to teach.  You see its not the qualifications that make the elder, its the call of God and the warrant of Scripture.
       
       
      Sincerely,
      Gus Gianello
      -----Original Message-----
      From: covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com [mailto:covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Larry Bump
      Sent: January 7, 2008 10:27 PM
      To: covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [Covenanted Reformation] Re: Degree

      Samantha E wrote:
      > Larry Bump wrote:
      > Did you click to this page?
      >
      > http://www.preserve dwords.com/ institute2. htm
      > <http://www.preserve dwords.com/ institute2. htm>
      >
      > Good evening Mr. Bump,
      > Yes I did and that's precisely the point in a way. The whole idea is a
      > bunch of hog-wash, but how many people who read the SWRB e-mail-outs are
      > really going to investigate whether or not Reg Barrow's PhD is authentic
      > or fake? It's a pity that fake ones exist and that people like Reg
      > Barrow take advantage of them (assuming that's what has happened since
      > we haven't "heard from the horse's mouth"). Unless he really has
      > obtained a PhD, he is going to have some very serious answering to do at
      > the Judgment Seat for a violation of the 9th commandment, never mind
      > anything else. May God grant him the grace to repent before then.
      > ~Samantha

      I just wanted to make sure you had seen it; you are right that it
      doesn't change the point.
      Using honorary degrees as a source of authority is indeed lying.

      What about degrees granted in recognition of "life experience"? I have
      often wondered how much those are worth. I guess it all depends on who
      granted it and how much you trust them.

    • bob_suden
      x--- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, ghowmil ... Did the Westminster divines possess ... Excellent question/reminder, Gary. As Hills among
      Message 35 of 35 , Jan 13, 2008
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        x--- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "ghowmil" <garnetmilne@...> wrote:
        >
        Did the Westminster divines possess
        > the complete Word of God in the originals, or did they not? (And
        > incidentally they referred to the extant manuscripts etc as
        > 'originals').
        >

        Excellent question/reminder, Gary.

        As Hills among others makes plain, the orthodox position is that God has preserved his infallible  word  in the common use by the Greek speaking church of  its
        faithful copies/apographa of the original autographa. To be constantly on edge wondering when a new manuscript will turn up and overturn all that we know, be it even the Koran or  the Book of Mormon, much less the five providentially discarded manuscripts of higher textual criticism is to have forsaken the Reformed/confessional  point of view.

        Letis, whatever his faults,  points out the development of the doctrine of providential preservation in his essays on Beza and Owen (particularly in the diagram on p.147) in The Majority Text: Essays in the Continuing Debate which he also edited.  (The title is something of a misnomer. Only Part 1 regards the Majority Text. Parts 2 and 3 concern the AV and the TR respectively.) To the Protestant doctrine of Sola Scriptura, Rome answered, which version? There are many variants, much more aha,   the most faithful copy, Codex B or Vaticanus  is found in the Pope's library.  Protestantism answered with the corresponding doctrine of providential preservation in WCF 1:8. It is confessed even more explicitly in the first three Canons of the Formula Consensus Helvetica (1675) which I have never been able to find in print, but found  on the web
        here.

        Yet as one of the two principium of theology, the doctrine of Scripture must be held in its entirety and completeness or not only will it unravel, but also else besides. Not for nothing is the doctrine of Scripture the first chapter of the WCF in contrast with most confessions which begin with the doctrine of God.  And providential preservation is a necessary corollary of inspiration.  Without it, we are lost. While on the one hand, if we never had an infallible revelation from God, we could never know what we are to believe about him or what duty he requires of us (LC Q&A5,  SC Q&A3). But the more subtle denial of providential preservation, in the end,  amounts to the same thing.

        For all practical purposes, that faithful infallible revelation happened long ago and far away in some other galaxy. At best we would have to go to the Vatican and humbly request permission to use her library. And just when do we think Rome would give Protestantism liberty of the stacks? Either that or we could wait anxiously with baited breath upon the latest pronouncements of the textual scholars who will eventually give us the Historical Text, even as they have given us the Historical Jesus. Oh happy and hypothetical day. It is not going to happen.

        There has been some discussion of this topic over at the Puritan Board. One thread is here. Rafalsky is the guy defending the confessional viewpoint, though IMO he seems to rely too much on the KJVOnlyites on other points than their pet hobbyhorse. Still as he says, `I won't flip out if you quote the liberal Bruce Metzger, so don't flip out if I quote Peter Ruckman'. Fair enough as a certain party in Edmonton used to say.

        FWIW one of the posts also linked to an article by a Peter Kenaga, Skeptical Trends in  New Testament Textual Criticism: Inside the  Alexandrian Priority School and  Why Bible Change is Coming.  It is very interesting to read though he refuses to choose between the Byzantine-Alexandrian text families. That is,  while he would not agree with the confessional argument for the Byzantine text  per se,  he points out the evident bias in the critical (Alexandrian) text position and says it has been oversold.

        I'd say the same thing about the NIV, NKJV (though Kenaga excepts it) and the ESV, but enough is enough.

        Hoping a profitable Lord's Day to all,
        cordially in the Word become flesh,
        Bob S

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