Some knowledge of the sciences also, is, to say the least, equally expedient. Nay, may we not say, that the knowledge of one, (whether art or science,) although now quite unfashionable, is even necessary next, and in order to, the knowledge of the Scripture itself I mean logic. For what is this, if rightly understood, but the art of good sense of apprehending, things clearly, judging truly, and reasoning conclusively?Later, he adds,
Now one of the key points in studying logic is the "law of non-contradiction" and its associated principle of the "excluded middle".Do I understand it [logic] so as to be ever the better for it to have it always ready for use; so as to apply every rule of it, when occasion is, almost as naturally as I turn my hand? Do I understand it at all? Are not even the moods and figures above my comprehension? Do not I poorly endeavour to cover my ignorance, by affecting to laugh at their barbarous names? Can I even reduce an indirect mood to a direct; an hypothetic to a categorical syllogism? Rather, have not my stupid indolence and laziness made me very ready to believe, what the little wits and pretty gentlemen affirm, "that logic is good for nothing"? It is good for this at least, (wherever it is understood,) to make people talk less; by showing them both what is, and what is not, to the point; and how extremely hard it is to prove anything.
In simple terms, 'p' and its contradiction 'not-p' cannot both be true. We may elaborate this into practical examples: "Jesus is alive", "Jesus is not alive"; "It is Thursday", "It is not Thursday", and so on. But the logical principle is not merely widely accepted in a customary sense but irrefutable: "If 'p' then not 'not-p'".
But as John Wesley well knew, this is not a matter simply for academic debate. Rather, it applies to the very heart even of Christian ministry, for it enable us, amongst other things, to know "what is, and what is not, to the point".
And that brings me to Steve Chalke and his recent announcement of his desire to 'include' same-relationships in Christian morality.
It is not my intention at this point to question either his reasons for this, so PLEASE DO NOT POST COMMENTS ON WHETHER HE IS RIGHT OR WRONG! (If you do, it will simply reinforce my conviction that people generally can't read, and it will include you in that category.)
Rather, I want to identify that what he says about his own position in relation to others is simply illogical - and therefore nonsense.
Thus in a footnote to his online article he writes as follows:
Amongst the hallmarks of any and every healthy community must be the ability for reasoned and gracious debate, a willingness to listen to others, an openness to change and a respect for diversity. I write this paper in that spirit, recognising that various friends and leaders whom I respect have views which differ from mine.In a reported telephone conversation with Tony Campolo, however, he says this:
Too often, those who seek to enter an exclusive, same-sex relationship have found themselves stigmatised and excluded by the Church. I have come to believe this is an injustice and out of step with God’s character as seen through Christ.”So in the one place Steve Chalke says that in a "healthy community" this should be a matter for "a respect for diversity". In another, he says, "this is an injustice and out of step with God's character".
Let us then simply characterize Chalke's view of 'the Christian inclusion of same-sex relationships' as 'p'. By the law of non-contradiction, 'not-p' is false. And we can easily see what 'not-p' means because Chalke has told us: it is being "stigmatised and excluded by the Church".
Or again, we can characterize stigmatizing and exclusion as itself a 'p' and represent Chalke's position as a 'not p': "an injustice and out of step with God's character as seen through Christ".
So far, so good. Quite simply, either Chalke or not-Chalke must be true, but they cannot both be true (certainly not within the framework of Christian discourse within which Chalke presents his argument.)
But then Chalke tries to set up a logical impossibility: both p and not-p can (and indeed must) be accepted in a healthy community.
Now I actually don't think Chalke thinks this for a minute. I believe he is fully and firmly convinced his is right. But if he is right (or thinks he is) he ought to have the decency to tell the rest of us he thinks we are wrong and, in this case, to seek either our repentance or our exclusion from the Church.
That he doesn't is, it seems to me, either because, like so many, he has accepted the principle of non-non-contradiction that holds so many diverse denominations together (though the result is anything but a 'healthy' community) or because he intends to maintain a position of 'openness' that will hold long enough to keep him in the fold.
Either way is bad.
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