Kruger, White, & Lovecraft Walk Into a Bar
At the recent G3 conference in Georgia, Dr. Michael Kruger & Mr. James White had a discussion on the Doctrine of the Canon*. The first part of the discussion was actually quite profitable, apart from Mr. White attempting to make it all about him. During the first part, both stated unequivocally that we must appeal to Scripture to inform us about how we are to authenticate the books in the Canon of Scripture. Mr. White then went so far as to state that critics of the Doctrine of the Canon will “only allow you to use historical, naturalistic methodology and information to defend the spiritual nature of these books.” And Dr. Kruger then stated that “if you start with naturalistic assumptions, no surprise, you end with naturalistic conclusions. It just goes in a circle.” All of this is quite good.
But there were a few issues. One that I found rather odd in this day of the internet was Dr. Kruger’s claim that he could find no book on the canon that dealt with how we know the canonical books are truly canonical. But honestly, what does he expect in recommending such authors on the canon as Dr. Bruce Metzger? You cannot expect a sound theological argument on the canon from such an heretic as Dr. Metzger. But why recommend such books when we already have a book written by a sound theologian on the subject of the canon that covers both the historical argument and the theological argument. The book is “The Canon of Holy Scriptures Examined in the Light of History” by Louis Gaussen. (http://confessionalbibliology.com/book/the-canon-of-holy-scripture-both-parts/)
After this introductory part where it seems to go well, both Mr. White & Dr. Kruger then demonstrate their own naturalistic bias in condemning as Scripture the Pericope of John and the longer ending of Mark. Neither man seems to know what he is talking about when it comes to such issues. You can learn why they are wrong at these two links:
- The Pericope of John (http://confessionalbibliology.com/the-textual-issues/the-pericope-adulterae/)
- Longer Ending of Mark (http://confessionalbibliology.com/the-textual-issues/marks-longer-ending/)
Their inexcusable ignorance of the textual evidence is made worse when it comes to the identity of the canonical text, at which point both men engaged in the very thing they criticized in the first half regarding the identity of the canonical books. Namely, to quote Dr. Kruger, they began with naturalistic assumptions, no surprise, they ended up with naturalistic conclusions. They reject Scripture as the final authority when it comes to the identity of the canonical text. And this is the problem, you cannot logically talk about canonical books while rejecting the idea of a canonical text. It does no good to state well there is an ontological canonical text, but unlike the identity of the canonical books, we as yet do not have that ontological canonical text. This is the same as saying we know the names of the books of Scripture but not their actual content. To demonstrate the absurdity of rejecting the existence today of the canonical text I present the following which belongs in the Bible. And why does it belong? Because I call it Philemon. Now you can claim the following is not Philemon. And you can appeal to historical evidence, the content of Philemon up until this point, etc. But at the end of the day, if Scripture is not your final authority in determining and identifying the canonical text, then ANY text can be sandwiched under the names of the books of Scripture because your final authority is arbitrary, inconsistent, and doesn’t meet the preconditions of intelligibility. I may also stick the Gospel of Peter under 2nd Peter. After all, it is old.
*(Video of their discussion can be found here: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1534679359972709&id=220455308061794)
The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to PHILEMON
“(Found Among the Papers of the Late Francis Wayland Thurston, of Boston)
“Of such great powers or beings there may be conceivably a survival . . . a survival of a hugely remote period when . . . consciousness was manifested, perhaps, in shapes and forms long since withdrawn before the tide of advancing humanity . . . forms of which poetry and legend alone have caught a flying memory and called them gods, monsters, mythical beings of all sorts and kinds. . . .”
I. The Horror in Clay.
The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.
Theosophists have guessed at the awesome grandeur of the cosmic cycle wherein our world and human race form transient incidents. They have hinted at strange survivals in terms which would freeze the blood if not masked by a bland optimism. But it is not from them that there came the single glimpse of forbidden aeons which chills me when I think of it and maddens me when I dream of it. That glimpse, like all dread glimpses of truth, flashed out from an accidental piecing together of separated things—in this case an old newspaper item and the notes of a dead professor. I hope that no one else will accomplish this piecing out; certainly, if I live, I shall never knowingly supply a link in so hideous a chain. I think that the professor, too, intended to keep silent regarding the part he knew, and that he would have destroyed his notes had not sudden death seized him.
My knowledge of the thing began in the winter of 1926–27 with the death of my grand-uncle George Gammell Angell, Professor Emeritus of Semitic Languages in Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. Professor Angell was widely known as an authority on ancient inscriptions, and had frequently been resorted to by the heads of prominent museums; so that his passing at the age of ninety-two may be recalled by many. Locally, interest was intensified by the obscurity of the cause of death. The professor had been stricken whilst returning from the Newport boat; falling suddenly, as witnesses said, after having been jostled by a nautical-looking negro who had come from one of the queer dark courts on the precipitous hillside which formed a short cut from the waterfront to the deceased’s home in Williams Street. Physicians were unable to find any visible disorder, but concluded after perplexed debate that some obscure lesion of the heart, induced by the brisk ascent of so steep a hill by so elderly a man, was responsible for the end. At the time I saw no reason to dissent from this dictum, but latterly I am inclined to wonder—and more than wonder.
As my grand-uncle’s heir and executor, for he died a childless widower, I was expected to go over his papers with some thoroughness; and for that purpose moved his entire set of files and boxes to my quarters in Boston. Much of the material which I correlated will be later published by the American Archaeological Society, but there was one box which I found exceedingly puzzling, and which I felt much averse from shewing to other eyes. It had been locked, and I did not find the key till it occurred to me to examine the personal ring which the professor carried always in his pocket. Then indeed I succeeded in opening it, but when I did so seemed only to be confronted by a greater and more closely locked barrier. For what could be the meaning of the queer clay bas-relief and the disjointed jottings, ramblings, and cuttings which I found? Had my uncle, in his latter years, become credulous of the most superficial impostures? I resolved to search out the eccentric sculptor responsible for this apparent disturbance of an old man’s peace of mind.
The bas-relief was a rough rectangle less than an inch thick and about five by six inches in area; obviously of modern origin. Its designs, however, were far from modern in atmosphere and suggestion; for although the vagaries of cubism and futurism are many and wild, they do not often reproduce that cryptic regularity which lurks in prehistoric writing. And writing of some kind the bulk of these designs seemed certainly to be; though my memory, despite much familiarity with the papers and collections of my uncle, failed in any way to identify this particular species, or even to hint at its remotest affiliations.
Above these apparent hieroglyphics was a figure of evidently pictorial intent, though its impressionistic execution forbade a very clear idea of its nature. It seemed to be a sort of monster, or symbol representing a monster, of a form which only a diseased fancy could conceive. If I say that my somewhat extravagant imagination yielded simultaneous pictures of an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature, I shall not be unfaithful to the spirit of the thing. A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque and scaly body with rudimentary wings; but it was the general outline of the whole which made it most shockingly frightful. Behind the figure was a vague suggestion of a Cyclopean architectural background.
The writing accompanying this oddity was, aside from a stack of press cuttings, in Professor Angell’s most recent hand; and made no pretence to literary style. What seemed to be the main document was headed “CTHULHU CULT” in characters painstakingly printed to avoid the erroneous reading of a word so unheard-of. The manuscript was divided into two sections, the first of which was headed “1925—Dream and Dream Work of H. A. Wilcox, 7 Thomas St., Providence, R.I.”, and the second, “Narrative of Inspector John R. Legrasse, 121 Bienville St., New Orleans, La., at 1908 A. A. S. Mtg.—Notes on Same, & Prof. Webb’s Acct.” The other manuscript papers were all brief notes, some of them accounts of the queer dreams of different persons, some of them citations from theosophical books and magazines (notably W. Scott-Elliot’s Atlantis and the Lost Lemuria), and the rest comments on long-surviving secret societies and hidden cults, with references to passages in such mythological and anthropological source-books as Frazer’s Golden Bough and Miss Murray’s Witch-Cult in Western Europe. The cuttings largely alluded to outré mental illnesses and outbreaks of group folly or mania in the spring of 1925.”