In Response To Dr. Daniel Fuller -- By: Clark H. Pinnock

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 16:2 (Spring 1973)
Article: In Response To Dr. Daniel Fuller
Author: Clark H. Pinnock

In Response To Dr. Daniel Fuller

Clark H. Pinnock

Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Dr. Fuller’s review letter focuses in on three particular points in my book in which he has a stake. The readers of this journal who have not yet encountered my book will not be able to gain from his remarks any impression at all of the scope of the total argument. But perhaps our dialogue on these relatively narrow concerns will stimulate an interest in the book as a whole. I am pleased for the opportunity of discussion with Dr. Fuller on the question of biblical authority, because he himself is projecting a fresh theological proposal in this area which is certain to have considerable effect in the evangelical community and beyond.

1. It is surely a delightful experience to come under the criticism of an evangelical theologian for not being sufficiently empirical in my approach. Because Dr. Fuller and I share a view of the constructive relation between faith and history, he will understand how I feel. It is more common to be criticized by our fideistic evangelical colleagues for being too concerned about questions of factual verification. Dr. Fuller recognizes that I wish to follow the epistemology of the Princeton apologetic as it was developed by B. B. Warfield, but he believes that I am inconsistent in this and tend to lapse into presuppositional modes of expression, if not thought. He would even place me on Van Til’s side! Mirabile dictu.

A mere glance at the first chapter dispels any such notion. Dr. Fuller is concerned because I do not allow “criticism to be sovereign.” The context of my book to which he has reference is dealing with negative criticism, i.e., that species of criticism which is beset by the naturalistic presupposition, a condition which prevents it from being truly empirical. Certainly I do not let criticism of that type control my thought. Neither does Dr. Fuller. If we did, we would not be talking as biblical supernaturalists. His allusion to page 135 is irrelevant to the point he wishes to make. There I am contending that because every interpreter of Scripture operates out of some historical tradition which influences his work, it is imperative that he be scrupulous in allowing Scripture to correct him. Nor has Dr. Fuller read his reference to page 230 very carefully, where I maintain that the authority of the Bible is secure precisely because the credentials which authenticate it are so excellent, a thought right in keep-

ing with his own emphasis. If I said our belief in inspiration rests on empirical evidences only “in part,” it was because, as the context will show, I did not wish to rule out the role of the...

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