Now, About Those Differences, Part Seven

NickOfTimeRead Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6.

Second Premise Arguments

Making generalizations about either fundamentalists or other evangelicals is a bit presumptuous. Both groups are quite diverse, and exceptions can be found to most generalizations. Non-fundamentalistic evangelicalism covers an especially broad array of influences and movements.

The diversity of each group has rarely been realized by the other, however, and so each group does tend to posit generalizations about the other. One of those generalizations has to do with the matter of worldliness and legalism. Fundamentalists tend to think of other evangelicals as worldly. Those evangelicals tend to think of fundamentalists as legalistic.

We are not yet to the point of weighing the merits of these perceptions. For the moment, what we are trying to do is to understand what each group means when it speaks about the other. What do fundamentalists see that leads them to think evangelicals are worldly? What do evangelicals see that leads them to perceive fundamentalists as legalistic?

Articulating these perceptions more fully will be useful in two ways. First, it will furnish us with criteria for assessing the merits of the judgments that evangelicals and fundamentalists make about each other. Second, it will provide us with a device for distinguishing some evangelicals from other evangelicals as well as some fundamentalists from other fundamentalists.

In a previous discussion, I have suggested that the mutual recriminations of fundamentalists and evangelicals center upon two areas: standards of conduct and methods of ministry. I have further suggested that controversy over standards of conduct centers upon two kinds of issues: revivalistic taboos and second-premise arguments.

By second-premise arguments, I mean those attempts to apply Scripture that rely not only upon a premise supplied by a specific biblical passage or principle but also upon a premise supplied from outside of Scripture. The outside (second) premise may come from any of a variety of sources: intuition, experience, observation, deduction, tradition, or even authority. The second premise provides the warrant for applying the biblical statement or principle to a particular situation.

Here is an example of a second-premise argument.

  • Biblical principle: Christians should not engage in enslaving behavior (1 Cor. 6:12).
  • Outside premise: The recreational use of heroin is enslaving behavior.
  • Conclusion: Christians should not engage in the recreational use of heroin.

What I am trying to do here is to articulate an argument that I think will be acceptable to the majority of both parties. Perhaps there are better ways of making the argument, but very few evangelicals or fundamentalists are actively advocating the recreational use of heroin as a matter of Christian liberty. Most would actually deploy several related arguments to support their stance against the recreational use of heroin: it is addictive, it is physically destructive, it damages the testimony, it is illegal, etc. My point is not to evaluate these arguments. My point is simply that they are all second-premise arguments. They all rely upon some information or perspective that comes from outside of Scripture.

Without second-premise arguments, we would not be able to apply Scripture at all. Because our names do not occur in the text, the applicability of virtually every biblical promise, command, prohibition, and principle depends upon some version of the second-premise argument. This is true even in the matter of salvation. Here is an example.

  • Biblical principle: God commands all humans everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30).
  • Outside premise: I am a human.
  • Conclusion: God commands me to repent.

This argument is so natural for us that we do not even realize that we are making it. Unless we did, however, we could not apply the text to our own situation. The strength of the argument depends upon the certainty of the assertion that we are humans. Since our confidence in this assertion is unshakable, we regard the application of the text as certain.

We regularly employ second-premise arguments in our moral reasoning. For example, consider a woman who is thinking about feeding her husband a large quantity of arsenic. For moral guidance we point her to Exodus 20:13, “Thou shalt not kill.” How do we respond if she asks, “What Scripture tells me that feeding arsenic to my husband will kill him?” We would reply that we do not need such a Scripture. We have other ways of knowing the consequences of ingesting arsenic, and it is precisely those ways that allow us to apply the biblical commandment to her situation.

Both evangelicals and fundamentalists rely upon second-premise arguments in all sorts of ways. When it comes to moral applications, however, I think it is fair to say that the more explicitly an argument relies upon the second premise, the more evangelicals tend to become suspicious of it, while fundamentalists tend to remain unbothered. In other words, many fundamentalists are willing to apply some second-premise arguments that many evangelicals find specious.

What are some examples of second premises over which evangelicals and fundamentalists might differ? Here is a very partial sampling.

  • Music is sensual (or rebellious).
  • Bikinis are immodest.
  • Theater is spiritually subversive.
  • Piercings and tattoos are worldly.

These premises pertain to the kind of issues over which fundamentalists and other evangelicals typically differ (though younger fundamentalists are inclined to take the evangelical side). What these premises have in common is that they rely upon an element of judgment. In the case of music, how does one judge whether a particular composition expresses rebellion or sensuality? For that matter, when is it wrong to expose one’s self to expressions of rebellion or sensuality? In the case of bikinis, how much exposure constitutes immodesty? Might this vary depending upon one’s culture? In the case of theater, how and why is it judged to be spiritually subversive? As for piercings and tattoos, are they always and necessarily worldly? If so, what makes them worldly? If not, how can we tell the worldly ones from the non-worldly ones?

Precisely because they do not come from Scripture, second premises are always subject to evaluation. To question a second premise is not to question biblical authority. Second premises can and should be examined.

Fundamentalists have sometimes failed to subject their second premises to careful examination. This failure has resulted in silly and sometimes scandalous applications of Scripture. This is the mechanism that some fundamentalists have used to prohibit slacks for women, ban interracial dating, and insist upon the mandatory use of a particular version of the Bible. One fundamentalist leader spent years denouncing the “demon of the AWANA circle.” No wonder some are skeptical of their judgments.

On the other hand, evangelicals have sometimes refused to accept any second-premise argument that relies upon a judgment. Evaluations of matters like dress or the arts are thought to be too subjective to be useful. In these areas, second-premise arguments are dismissed out of hand.

Neither extreme is really useful, and neither extreme gets one to the correct application of biblical precepts and principles. Of course, neither fundamentalists nor other evangelicals necessarily go to the extreme. Nevertheless, in general they do seem to follow these tendencies. Fundamentalists more readily accept second-premise arguments when the second premise relies upon an element of judgment, while evangelicals more quickly reject those arguments.

The True Christmas
Henry Vaughan (1621-1695)

SO, stick up ivy and the bays,
And then restore the heathen ways.
Green will remind you of the spring,
Though this great day denies the thing ;
And mortifies the earth, and all
But your wild revels, and loose hall.
Could you wear flow’rs, and roses strow
Blushing upon your breasts’ warm snow,
That very dress your lightness will
Rebuke, and wither at the ill.
The brightness of this day we owe
Not unto music, masque, nor show,
Nor gallant furniture, nor plate,
But to the manger’s mean estate.
His life while here, as well as birth,
Was but a check to pomp and mirth ;
And all man’s greatness you may see
Condemned by His humility.

Then leave your open house and noise,
To welcome Him with holy joys,
And the poor shepherds’ watchfulness,
Whom light and hymns from Heav’n did bless.
What you abound with, cast abroad
To those that want, and ease your load.
Who empties thus, will bring more in ;
But riot is both loss and sin.
Dress finely what comes not in sight,
And then you keep your Christmas right.


This essay is by Dr. Kevin T. Bauder, president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary (Plymouth, MN). Not every professor, student, or alumnus of Central Seminary necessarily agrees with every opinion that it expresses.

13146 reads

There are 63 Comments

Mike Durning's picture

I had been looking forward to this article, and it did not disappoint. Some Fundamentalists have been especially reluctant to question their second premise arguments with regard to worldliness and sensuality. Furthermore, some have even been unwilling to allow others to question them without casting them out of their circle (or college).

Don Johnson wrote:
Joel, if you can't see what makes the music of Resolved worldly, nothing can help you.

Brother Don wrote these words in the "Bantam Rooster" thread. Without attempting to re-ignite the controversy there, and without undue criticism, since Don has formed a theology of what he believes constitutes worldliness, I note that this demonstrates one of Dr. Bauder's points. This statement exemplifies a second premise that Don considered undebateable. Others debated it anyway.

Doctor Bauder rightly makes the point that we cannot apply Scripture at all without second premises, but I think that it is important to make sure that our second premises with regard to Biblical categories (like "worldly" or "carnal") be grounded in Scriptural definitions of those categories. Furthermore, more work needs to be done in building a theology of the interface between Christianity and culture. I still believe that too much of our thinking is built on Catholic monastic assumptions of what the world is and how it influences us (witness the cultural isolation that some of our more conservative colleges attempt to achieve).

I do not support capitulation to those who want to stop thinking of worldliness as a category and engage the world by becoming nearly identical to it -- a fault too many evangelicals fall into. What I would like to see are second premises more grounded in a Biblically-based Christian world-view rather than merely our own tradition. In other words, I'd like to see second premises that move a little more toward first-order force due to careful Biblical exposition.

Pastor Joe Roof's picture

Who said that Awana was a demon? That is a new one for me.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

[img ]http://www.awana-mi.com/images/offici1.jpg[/img ]

If you can't see the obvious occultic symbolism there, you've just been reading too many books by neo evangelicals! J-)

On a more serious note, I appreciate the amount of energy Kevin is putting into thinking clearly about these things. With the "tools of thought" so neglected for so long (this is culture wide, not just fundamentalist), we often have no idea how we're arriving at conclusions!

Don Johnson's picture

Mike Durning wrote:
Doctor Bauder rightly makes the point that we cannot apply Scripture at all without second premises, but I think that it is important to make sure that our second premises with regard to Biblical categories (like "worldly" or "carnal") be grounded in Scriptural definitions of those categories. Furthermore, more work needs to be done in building a theology of the interface between Christianity and culture. I still believe that too much of our thinking is built on Catholic monastic assumptions of what the world is and how it influences us (witness the cultural isolation that some of our more conservative colleges attempt to achieve).

Mike, I think this would be a discussion worth having. I have been working on defining worldliness, worldly and godliness in a series of articles at oxgoad.ca and in a series of Bible studies at our church (they can be found at gbcvic.org with audio and pdfs of the outlines). It seems to me that you think I am not defining the terms biblically, is that correct? If not, why don't you write a paper defining these terms biblically and have Aaron publish it here at SI. Then we can have at it. Or, alternatively, we could start a separate thread here, or as a third alternative, we could engage the discussion at oxgoad. I really wouldn't mind getting into a little more fine-tuning of my thinking in these areas. I have been attempting to derive my arguments from the Scriptures first, then come to conclusions afterwards. Of course, it is probably impossible to do this without prejudice, but that was what I was attempting to do, in any case.

So rather than getting this thread clogged up with that discussion, let's get into it somewhere else for the purpose of hammering out a better understanding of the terms.

BTW, I don't much disagree with this article of Kevin's either. I think he is articulating a true difference between Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism here. I suppose if I looked hard enough I could find a sentence or phrase somewhere that I disagree with, but the basic argument is correct in my opinion. I am sure Kevin will be much relieved to hear this news.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Steve Newman's picture

Is that they are willing to take on the "second premise" and attempt to make applicaitons to culture. Even when you think they are wrong, at least you know there is a respect for the holiness of God and there is an attempt to make delineations between a Christian and what the Bible calls "the world". The fact is, we can always find someone more "legalistic" than ourselves. And, as Francis Schaeffer correctly observed many years ago, loosening standards generally has less to do with not having taboos and more to do with individuals wanting to overturn specific taboos. We all have standards (even Adam and Eve had them in the Garden), but the question is: what are they and how are they derived and applied?
IMHO, worldliness has to do with the derivation of a "second premise" as well as its application. I have seen specific instances where individual believers sought out a biblical interpretation that suits their actions (i.e. believers changing their stance on divorce and remarriege when they have been divorced and want to remarry). Also, the reason for the application of the second premise can be to suit a specific situation (i.e. a pastor is trying to please recalcitrant church members).
What is greatly needed is a more clear understanding of the balance of being in the world and being of the world. This is a principle that is much discussed in general but very little in specific. It is my hope that the author will take this up in the near future.

dmicah's picture

Quote:
On a more serious note, I appreciate the amount of energy Kevin is putting into thinking clearly about these things. With the "tools of thought" so neglected for so long (this is culture wide, not just fundamentalist), we often have no idea how we're arriving at conclusions!

Totally agree. There is a critical thought deficit in both spheres. If one is engaging in an activity or prohibiting such activity, there should be an articulable purpose for either position. Evangelicals often do what they please with little to no thought beyond their version of Semper Fi...Christian Liberty! Fundamentalists rarely do what they please as they shout their motto, "Avoid all appearances of evil." The topic should not center around what you can and can't do, but why do you believe it expedient and edifying to act or not act?. And this should apply to any of life's commonalities not just the hot button, fire-in-the-forum topics. If we apply critical thought as to our purpose for anything in which we engage, it will help us build a deeper, better nuanced, and more robust systematic worldview that embeds controversial subjects instead of highlighting them.

AndrewSuttles's picture

1) Would someone be so kind as to point me to a technical definition of second premise? It seems Dr. Bauder is making use of syllogism. Is the 'second premise', as he uses it, the same as the 'minor premise' of a syllogism.

2) Do any fundamentalists believe in sanctification any more? Isn't the Holy Spirit conforming us to the image of Christ? Shouldn't we keep our eyes on Christ and not the taboos of the world. It seems there is very little mention of Christ in this 7-part series on those differences that are distinct and yet not different (but really are) series.

PhilKnight's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:

I appreciate the amount of energy Kevin is putting into thinking clearly about these things. With the "tools of thought" so neglected for so long (this is culture wide, not just fundamentalist), we often have no idea how we're arriving at conclusions!

Aaron, I couldn't agree more. Recently on another thread, I put in a plug for Kevin's excellent series from a few years ago, "Shall We Reason Together?" I'm going to put in another plug here. Anyone who read (and truly digested) that series probably already anticipated much of the content of this latest essay as soon as Kevin mentioned that it would be about "second premise arguments." (Go to the [URL=http://www.centralseminary.edu/resources/nick-of-time/132-nick-archives ]archives [/URL ]and scroll down to 9/15/2006.) Kevin practices in his own writing what he teaches in that series. I greaty appreciate the way constructs arguments (meticulously defining terms & premises, then reasoning rather transparently from those premises).

While some installments of the current essay series have been called "ponderous" by some, I've tried to keep in mind that part of what Kevin is doing here is building a taxonomy. And taxonomies, in order to be complete, tend to have some rather dull components. At this point, I've received so much benefit from his writing that I'm willing to suspend judgment whenever things start to seem pedantic: Usually, I discover there are good reasons for the extra details.

One of the reasons I enjoy reading Martyn Lloyd-Jones is that often when I read his preaching on a given subject I go away with not just more knowledge of subject itself but also a more biblically and logically-honed framework for thinking about the subject. That, in turn, results in a rich set of follow-on insights that arise from meditating on the implications of what I have learned. Kevin's preaching and writing also has this quality.

Philip Knight

PhilKnight's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

Mike, I think this [topic of worldliness ] would be a discussion worth having. I have been working on defining worldliness, worldly and godliness in a series of articles at oxgoad.ca and in a series of Bible studies at our church (they can be found at gbcvic.org with audio and pdfs of the outlines). It seems to me that you think I am not defining the terms biblically, is that correct?

Let me add another vote for creating a separate topic on worldliness and its biblical definition. And while I'm putting in plugs for Kevin's writing and preaching, let me add one more for his sermon series [URL=http://www.centralseminary.edu/resources/mp3-audio ]"Understanding Worldliness: A Biblical Investigation"[/URL ]. Part 1 begins on 9/1/2009 (currently page 2 in the listings).

I just listened to this a few weeks ago, so it's content is fresh in my memory. It contains excellent biblically-based analysis that would shed much light on the recent posts here. Does anyone know if these sermons are available in printed form?

Philip Knight

PhilKnight's picture

AndrewSuttles wrote:
1) Would someone be so kind as to point me to a technical definition of second premise? It seems Dr. Bauder is making use of syllogism. Is the 'second premise', as he uses it, the same as the 'minor premise' of a syllogism.

Andrew,

Follow the link to Kevin's series "Shall We Reason Together?" in my first post on this thread (about 15 minutes ago).

Philip Knight

Jim's picture

http://www.philchristensen.com/subpage30.html

Quote:
But in Garlock's world, music isn't just a tool; music is an entity that is good or bad of itself. It is moral or immoral by its very nature, and cannot be neutral. The sound itself is here to either help you or to hurt you. There's no middle ground.

He attempts to support this truth by associating it with the character of God Himself. Garlock reasons that since (a) God is musical, and (b) God is moral, therefore (c) music is moral by nature. That's Frank's Theorum.

(Note: for fun, try Frank's Theorum with any other two random attributes of God, and see how it works. Here's one to get you started: (a) God is kind, and (b) God is unchangeable. Therefore (c) kindness is unchangeable. Kids, you can try Frank's Theorum at home: Rice is white, and Ralph is white. Therefore, Ralph must be rice. Ask for help from your parents before you put Ralph in the rice cooker. But I digress.)

Frank's Theorum gives birth to Frank's Bottom Line: There are only two styles of music: (a) the style which is is moral and "acceptable to the Lord" and (b) the style which is immoral and "unacceptable to the Lord." It's a simple binary system. His personal mission statement is found in Eph. 5:10: "Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord." For those Christians who don't agree with what he's proven, he's clearly adopted the next verse in context: "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them."

So the battle's on; we'll either accept what Garlock's "proven" or be "reproved." There's no middle ground, since his definition of unacceptable music is any style that smacks of "worldliness."

To avoid being reproved, we'll have to 1) agree with his premise about the morality of music, 2) accept his definition of "worldliness," and finally we'll 3) penitently adopt the styles of music he authorizes.

Mike Durning's picture

Don Johnson wrote:
Mike, I think this would be a discussion worth having. I have been working on defining worldliness, worldly and godliness in a series of articles at oxgoad.ca and in a series of Bible studies at our church (they can be found at gbcvic.org with audio and pdfs of the outlines). It seems to me that you think I am not defining the terms biblically, is that correct? If not, why don't you write a paper defining these terms biblically and have Aaron publish it here at SI. Then we can have at it. Or, alternatively, we could start a separate thread here, or as a third alternative, we could engage the discussion at oxgoad. I really wouldn't mind getting into a little more fine-tuning of my thinking in these areas. I have been attempting to derive my arguments from the Scriptures first, then come to conclusions afterwards. Of course, it is probably impossible to do this without prejudice, but that was what I was attempting to do, in any case.

Don, you have misunderstood me. I have not yet had time to view your article series. It's possible I'm in complete agreement, but I would expect not. I was only using your stand-alone quote from that one post as an example of a "second premise" -- in the sense that you were assuming the truth of a premise that had not yet been expressed and didn't seem to think anyone would question it. Clearly, it is a second premise in the sense that Dr. Bauder is using the term, since you applied "worldly" to the music of a particular event without plain-spoken Biblical evidence (whether such exists or not might be a great topic of discussion).

I support the idea of a seperate thread on defining "worldliness". Might I suggest that since you have already written a series of articles, why not ask Aaron to post them? They might make a great discussion starter. The alternative of waiting for me to write one would interject a terrible delay. I already have one article in the works to send to SI, plus I have committed to finishing my first book by summer's end.

So, it is a worthy discussion. Let's start it. If you don't want to ask Aaron to post your articles, I will be happy to launch the thread with a lead post somewhat shorter than article length, but sure to encapsulate the differences between myself and many others here on this vital issue.

Mike Durning's picture

Steve Newman wrote:
Is that they are willing to take on the "second premise" and attempt to make applicaitons to culture. Even when you think they are wrong, at least you know there is a respect for the holiness of God and there is an attempt to make delineations between a Christian and what the Bible calls "the world".

I am in agreement here.
While I shudder at the mis-applications of Scripture and the elevation of fundamentalist traditions to near-doctrinal levels by some, I also am terrified by the indifferent attitudes of some at the opposite extreme of these matters. Draw what conclusions you will, grace notwithstanding: one of the things we can say with certainty about our Lord is that He is quite particular, rather than indifferent, when it comes to details.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

AndrewS wrote:
2) Do any fundamentalists believe in sanctification any more? Isn't the Holy Spirit conforming us to the image of Christ? Shouldn't we keep our eyes on Christ and not the taboos of the world.

I don't think it's possible to conform to the image of Christ without that having some impact on how relate to the world. To put it another way, to be like Christ where we live, we have to have our eyes on Him and our eyes on the world to see how one relates to the other.

PhilK wrote:
I just listened to this a few weeks ago, so it's content is fresh in my memory. It contains excellent biblically-based analysis that would shed much light on the recent posts here. Does anyone know if these sermons are available in printed form?

I don't think they have been transcribed. Maybe we could take up a collection and hire that out (we'd have to get Kevin's permission).
I [URL=http://www.blumer.org/adam/ know a guy[/URL ] who does a little transcribing.

About second premises...
In this case, second premises are the ideas about "life as we know it" that are necessary to reason from a biblical premise to an application. So the first premise is "all humans are sinners." The second premise is outside the Bible in the sphere of life... "I am a human." It's necessary to reach the conclusion: "I am a sinner."

The more controversial second premises are assertions about life where we live that are necessary to apply biblical principles to cultural matters such as dress and entertainment.

Don Johnson's picture

Mike Durning wrote:
Don Johnson wrote:
Mike, I think this would be a discussion worth having. I have been working on defining worldliness, worldly and godliness in a series of articles at oxgoad.ca and in a series of Bible studies at our church (they can be found at gbcvic.org with audio and pdfs of the outlines). It seems to me that you think I am not defining the terms biblically, is that correct? If not, why don't you write a paper defining these terms biblically and have Aaron publish it here at SI. Then we can have at it. Or, alternatively, we could start a separate thread here, or as a third alternative, we could engage the discussion at oxgoad. I really wouldn't mind getting into a little more fine-tuning of my thinking in these areas. I have been attempting to derive my arguments from the Scriptures first, then come to conclusions afterwards. Of course, it is probably impossible to do this without prejudice, but that was what I was attempting to do, in any case.

Don, you have misunderstood me. I have not yet had time to view your article series. It's possible I'm in complete agreement, but I would expect not. I was only using your stand-alone quote from that one post as an example of a "second premise" -- in the sense that you were assuming the truth of a premise that had not yet been expressed and didn't seem to think anyone would question it. Clearly, it is a second premise in the sense that Dr. Bauder is using the term, since you applied "worldly" to the music of a particular event without plain-spoken Biblical evidence (whether such exists or not might be a great topic of discussion).

Ahh... Ok, I am often a little slow. But be assured, I take no offense, just suggesting that this is a discussion worth having.

Mike Durning wrote:
I support the idea of a seperate thread on defining "worldliness". Might I suggest that since you have already written a series of articles, why not ask Aaron to post them? They might make a great discussion starter. The alternative of waiting for me to write one would interject a terrible delay. I already have one article in the works to send to SI, plus I have committed to finishing my first book by summer's end.

Fair enough. I think I'll correspond with Aaron about it, and probably need to really edit my material. Too verbose! On one's own site it doesn't matter, but I should imagine it needs some editing.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Brian Ernsberger's picture

Jim Peet, nice try bringing in that quote from Phil Christensen, however, his attempt to show the folly of Garlock is terribly flawed. The positing of "Rice is white; Ralph is white; therefore Ralph is Rice does not follow Phil's example of Frank's Theorum. If it did you would have ended with white is white, not Ralph is Rice.

Sorry, no winner on that one, better luck next time.

Brian Ernsberger's picture

Jim Peet,
Another thought on Phil's posting, in his desire to show the folly of Garlock's "logic" he brings his own into question. One must ask the question concerning Phil's attempt to show the flaw with his trying out Franks' theorum on God's attributes, is kindness changeable then? And if so, how does kindness change? While acts of kindness take on different forms yet kindness is kindness nonetheless. Wouldn't kindness then indeed be unchangeable?

Again, nice attempt, Jim and Phil, but really Phil's attempt just crumbles.

I know I have digressed a bit off topic but Jim did bring in Phil's attempt at premises and how they can be all messed up. And in Phil's attempt to show messed up premises he is guilty of messed up premises.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Actually Phil's analysis is pretty accurate.
Garlock's reasoning there (assuming Phil correctly interpreted Garlock's argument) is this:

1) X is A
2) X is B
3) Therefore A is B

[br ]Phil's first analogy follows the same pattern:

1) God is kind
2) God is unchangeable
3) Therefore kindness is unchangeable

[br ]It doesn't really matter whether kindness is changeable. Phil's point is that the reasoning is not valid. The fact that God is both kind and unchangeable proves nothing the relationship of kindness and unchangeability to each other.
[br ]In his second example, he does mess up the pattern and goes to...

1) X is A
2) Y is A
3) Therefore Y is X
[br ] 1) Rice is white
2) Ralph is white.
3) Therefore, Ralph is rice

But though he messes up the pattern there, the original reasoning is still invalid. The fact that an entity has two qualities, does not prove that any of the two qualities possesses the other as a quality. [br ]
A couple of better analogies...

The dog is tired
The dog is black
:. tiredness is black
[br ] Jim is bald
Jim is smart
:. baldness is smart
[br ] Boys are energetic
Boys are dirty
:. energy is dirty

[br ]We could do this all day. The reasoning is not valid even though examples can be found (with difficulty) that arrive at true conclusions, such as...

Kindness is good
Kindness is helpful
:. Goodness is helpful

But invalid reasoning is invalid whether its conclusions are true or false because the reasoning does not support the conclusion. In the case of Garlock's assertion that music is moral, he happens to be right (at least, if "moral" means "has moral significance" or something like that). The fact that his reasoning is invalid doesn't disprove his conclusion. It just shows that that particular argument doesn't support his conclusion. There may be others that do.

Mike Durning's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Actually Phil's analysis is pretty accurate.

And for our purposes, Dr. Garlock was engaging in second premise argumentation, as Dr. Bauder has called it. "God is musical" is a pretty abstract statement -- abstract enough that how it would interlink with a syllogism is up for grabs.

Audrey Cahilly's picture

Quote:
1) Would someone be so kind as to point me to a technical definition of second premise? It seems Dr. Bauder is making use of syllogism. Is the 'second premise', as he uses it, the same as the 'minor premise' of a syllogism.

In a word: No.
The major premise is by definition the one containing the major term, which, again by definition, is the predicate of the conclusion.
The minor premise is the one containing the minor term, which is the subject of the conclusion.
The middle term is the one that appears in both premises but not the conclusion.
These definitions hold regardless of the order of the premises, although proper formation does put the major premise first. Bauder is using "second" or "outside" to mean the term which is extra-biblical in the argument, not it's role in form of the syllogism. In both of his examples the second premise is actually the major one, since they introduce the predicate of the conclusion.

(Thank you, Martin Cothran) [img ]http://www.memoriapress.com/images/book_images/logic/traditional_logic_I... ]

Don Johnson's picture

Isn't the discussion of Dr Garlock's "position" getting us a good deal off the topic, especially when we are getting it second hand through the writing of someone who may or may not be accurately reporting Dr. Garlock's views? I do remember Dr. Garlock saying things that sound something like what is reported, but I'd like to see some actual quotes of Dr. Garlock rather than quotes of Phil, if you don't mind! But be that as it may, I think discussing Dr. Garlock here is a bit of a rabbit trail.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Audrey Cahilly's picture

Quote:
Isn't the discussion of Dr Garlock's "position" getting us a good deal off the topic

Off, maybe. A good deal off, not really.
Here's some more from my pal Martin Cochran again:
Quote:
Truth means the correspondence of a statement to reality. An argument is valid when its conclusion follows logically from its premises. The term soundness is used to indicate that all the premises in an argument are true and that the argument is valid.
An argument can contain true premises and still be invalid. Likewise, it can be perfectly valid (or logical, if you prefer) and contain false premises. But if an argument is sound, its premises must be true and it must be valid.
Traditional Logic, Book 1 p.3

The critique of Garlock is pointing out an argument which has truth, but lacks validity, and is thus unsound.
Bauder is dealing with arguments which, although perfectly valid, contain one premise of which the truth is under question. This throws the soundness of the argument into question.
So they both fall under the general topic of validity, but offer different examples of unsound arguments.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I think the Garlock example is useful for talking about clear thinking from premises. I'm not sure any of the premises in that example would qualify for what Bauder means by "second premises," though. That would come along later when you start evaluating musical elements or styles and forming premises about them.

I realize analyzing logic isn't for everybody so if you find this tedious, do feel more than free to skip it, but we also need alot more folks in fundamentalism who do analyze reasoning and can help make the thinking involved in applying Scripture more clear.
Got this via PM

anon wrote:
Aaron,
Logic is not my field (church music is) ... but I don't agree with you that Christensen's reasoning is correct. Also, he doesn't seem to be representing Garlock's argument fairly. (For the first example, isn't there a sense in which the nature of divine kindness doesn't change anyway? Even the absurdity of that depends on the definition of terms.)

The geometry/logic argument the "transitive property of equality"?
If a = b and b = c, then a = c.
So Garlock's argument (charitably stated) would need to go in this order:
[A = B ] 1. Music (A) is always associated with (=) the nature of God (B) (Instead of "God is musical")
[B = C ] 2. The nature of God (B) is always associated with (=) morality (C) (Instead of "God is moral")
[A = C ] 3. Therefore, music (A) is always associated with (=) morality (C)

I am assuming the second row. For the first, isn't there a sense that everything is always associated with the nature of God? Saying that there's any choice a human can make that has nothing to do with the nature of God (my definition of amoral), it seems to me, flies in the face of 1 Cor. 10:31. Every choice is either moral or [im ]moral, by that standard.

Like language, food, or fire, the fact that God created music doesn't keep man from messing things up, does it? This might be termed the musical effects of the Fall. I'm young, but I've often heard the amorality argument as something like "Morality lies not the music itself but in what it's being used for." ... if you accept the A = B, then you can't call music completely a-moral. (The color of your shirt isn't completely amoral either, if my reasoning for A = B is correct)

My response...
The reason the identity reasoning ("transitive property of equality") doesn't work here is that this is not strictly what's going on. Rather, you have an entity, "God" who possesses a quality "musical" (whatever exactly that means). Then, in the second premise, you have the same entity possessing another quality, "moral." Then the conclusion which tries to establish a relationship between the two qualities but changes the first quality into an entity "music' (rather than "musical"), music is moral. [br ]
If the reasoning was truly identity based, each premise would have to work in both directions:
"God is musical" and "musical is God" [br ]
This clearly doesn't make sense, so identity is not what's meant. More precisely, it's "God possesses the quality of musicality."
This is also true of the second premise: "God is moral" is not an identity statement or we'd also be able to say "moral is God." It's kind of nonsense because we're comparing nouns to adjectives. What he's really saying is "God has the quality of morality."
[br ]So put in proper terms, it's easier to see that the logic is invalid:

A possesses the quality of B
A possesses the quality of C
:. B possesses the quality of C

My examples show that this is not valid. Validity would basically mean that the reasoning always produces a true conclusion. But in the case of the reasoning above, though we can think of examples where the conclusion is true, it never really follows from the premises.[br ]
FWIW, I do believe "music is moral." Technically, I think I'd rather say it's "creating, performing and listening to music" that is moral. What it's being used for is just one of the ways the morality of it is shaped. I think a whole lot comes as well from what the music means, and that meaning occurs on many levels: what it means to the composer, what it means to the listener, what it means "objectively" (to God--and the angels, I suppose). All of these shape the morality of the acts of composing, performing, listening, etc.
That's my view in a nutshell, but the "God is moral, God is musical ergo music is moral" argument is not a valid one to reach that conclusion.

I should add that for all I know, Phil has not correctly represented what Garlock is saying in the example. I haven't read it and really have no idea. But if he is reasoning "God is moral, God is musical ergo music is moral," the reasoning is not valid.

One more example to hopefully nail the point:
God is musical. God is vengeful. Therefore music is vengeful?

AndrewSuttles's picture

Audrey Cahilly wrote:
In both of his examples the second premise is actually the major one, since they introduce the predicate of the conclusion.

Thanks Audrey. So does this make the Scripture the minor premise?

(Please excuse my ignorance - I've learned how ignorant I am of logic when I've dealt with Roman Catholics. They tend to derive much of their theology and tradition from logic, also.)

I remember when we used to refer to an application of Scripture, now we are going to create a theology based on Scripture as a second premise? Doesn't sound quite right to me, somehow, but I'm not smart enough to explain why.

Audrey Cahilly's picture

Andrew,

Quote:
So does this make the Scripture the minor premise?

In these examples, yes, but only because of the way the sentences were crafted. Formal logic deals with the form of an argument, not it's content. The Biblical principle can be made the major premise (and everyone will feel better) by flipping the conclusion around. If you then put it all into what logicians recognize as "proper format" you get three terms linked to each other by the word "is" in two premises and a conclusion:

A thing Christians should not engage in (major term) is enslaving behavior (middle term).
This Biblical principle, because it contains the major term, is the major premise.
One enslaving behavior (middle term) is recreational heroin use (minor term).
This second, or extra-biblical premise, because it contains the minor term, is the minor premise
Recreational heroin use (subject-minor term) is a thing Christians should not engage in (predicate-major term).
The conclusion is what defines the major and minor terms.

There's oodles of logic programs available. It's worth getting one and working through it so you can say, "Hey, waaaaait a minute, there..." instead of getting snookered.

Mike Durning's picture

Leaving aside the syllogistic part, may I make a tentative observation?

I would suggest that in most cases, the presence of a second premise beyond the plain teaching of Scripture ought to do a few things to how we preach/teach a conviction:
1). It ought to raise our awareness that we are dealing with application, not interpretation on the issue.
2). It ought to cause us to carefully present the fact that the second premise is there in our application. This is not necessarily to give people in the congregation/class an escape clause from our conclusion, but to teach them the interpretation/application distinction more plainly.
3). It ought to cause us to present the conclusions of second premise applications with a little more tentativeness, rather than with the same force as doctrinal observations.
4). It ought to cause us to clearly define that any rules our church/institution may have based on such are functional for our own ministry; other believers who do not live by the same conclusions may not necessarily be out of fellowship with the Lord.

Agree / Disagree?
90% of my personal problem with some factions in Fundamentalism resides in a failure to do these things.

Don Johnson's picture

On your point 4, Mike, I would object to the word "any" and "functional" if by "functional" you mean purely functional.

Quote:
It ought to cause us to clearly define that any rules our church/institution may have based on such are functional for our own ministry; other believers who do not live by the same conclusions may not necessarily be out of fellowship with the Lord.

Some second premise applications could include prohibitions against drugs, for example. I wouldn't say these rules are purely functional. I would discipline a member out of the church if they defiantly persisted in ignoring such rules, wouldn't you?

Further, I think that I object to the word "rules". I can't think of many rules we have in our church, mostly we try to teach principles and call people to make biblical applications themselves. We will help them make applications when they are struggling.

But I do agree that the tendency to elevate our applications to the level of Scripture is a big problem.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Mike Durning's picture

Don,

Sounds like your church runs a lot like mine. We are in agreement.

Don Johnson wrote:
Some second premise applications could include prohibitions against drugs, for example. I wouldn't say these rules are purely functional. I would discipline a member out of the church if they defiantly persisted in ignoring such rules, wouldn't you?

Surely -- a logical extension of the drunkeness principle. Perhaps not even a second premise, since the word "drunkeness" had no chemistry knowledge behind it in Biblical times. I'll have to think about that.

I was thinking more of things like music rules, which may work well in one church, but could easily cause one church's members to look down on other ministries with different rules. And no, I'm not baiting you because of the "Resolved" thing. Just thinking.

Mike D

Don Johnson's picture

Agreement is breaking out all over. I agree that the music choices are certainly less clear cut and harder to make strong binding applications that would cause us to condemn someone who applies them differently than we do. With music as the example though, if another church came at the issue from an entirely different foundation (i.e., music is amoral), the divide would be too much for us to have meaningful fellowship as churches. I have friends who apply their musical choices differently than me (both stricter and less strict) but we all generally share the same understanding based on Biblical principles that there is such a thing as a moral question in music choices. Though our applications differ, we are not essentially divided.

Does that make sense?

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Mike Durning's picture

Don Johnson wrote:
Agreement is breaking out all over. I agree that the music choices are certainly less clear cut and harder to make strong binding applications that would cause us to condemn someone who applies them differently than we do. With music as the example though, if another church came at the issue from an entirely different foundation (i.e., music is amoral), the divide would be too much for us to have meaningful fellowship as churches. I have friends who apply their musical choices differently than me (both stricter and less strict) but we all generally share the same understanding based on Biblical principles that there is such a thing as a moral question in music choices. Though our applications differ, we are not essentially divided.

Does that make sense?

Well, my church could hardly be called "trendy", and we certainly aren't early adapters on any band-wagons. But you stir an ugly pot when you bring up the morality/amorality of music issue.

Are you comfortable with this? Music (leaving aside lyrics) is amoral, but it has a cultural context that possesses a moral message and content within that particular culture. In other words, I deny that Rock is inherently rebellious or sinful, but I affirm that the message sent by it in the cultural context of the 50's and beyond was association with an immoral and rebellious sub-culture. As time passes, that association fades. Thus what was inappropriate for worship at that time eventually becomes possibly appropriate (decisions as to when may vary from church to church depending on a variety of factors).

Pages

Help keep SI’s server humming. A few bucks makes a difference.