Here is the list of factually inaccurate statements in the first half ("Lenhart's Modeling Process") of Tim Snell's refutation as they appeared on 4/13/08. These statements are presented with page references from the hard copy ("Original") of the refutation that Tim Snell mailed out prior to the internet version. There are some differences. Where there are differences, the statement as fact from the "Original" is presented immediately following the statement from the internet version. So far, I've found one statement that occurs in the internet that is not in the "Original". I've put the headings of the different sections from the refutation in parentheses in order to help you find these statements in the internet version.
These statements are factually incorrect for a variety of reasons. However, the overwhelming majority of these statements of fact are incorrect because I did go through the process that he said I DIDN'T go through...AND I did not PRESENT this process in "Modeling God". It is the difference between the HOW and the WHY.
I think the majority of Tim Snell's misunderstanding is that he wants "Modeling God" to tell him HOW I determined the non-contradictory worldview...I don't explain this in my book. "Modeling God" documents the WHY. The HOW occurred over 14 years and involved listening to God and others in order to get revelation (GRACE). It involved reading the Bible cover-to-cover 14 times. It involved finding all the usages of the KEY words and looking at the definition, context, etc.
THEN the process presented in "Modeling God" was used to determine if it was truth or not. This process is powerful BECAUSE it results in giving the WHY...it explains WHY the interpretation is truth.
When someone asks you HOW to do something, you tell them WHAT to do and give them the reason WHY it is true. If you do recount the HOW, it is short. You don't tell them a ten minute story for EACH attempt.
In the first chapter of "Modeling God" I talk about HOW people found out that when grapes were crushed and allowed to stand, the juice turned into wine. Sometimes it happened and sometimes it didn't. Then they understood WHY...the skin of the grape had yeast on it and THAT caused the juice to ferment. The response was to intentionally add yeast instead of keep crushing and hope for the best.
HOW did they find out? It wasn't something they did intentionally. This is akin to revelation. It took several attempts and refinement.
WHY did it happen? They determined the cause by thinking.
Imagine asking someone HOW to make wine and getting an hour long answer explaining the first time they crushed grapes, the background, the circumstances, the result...and then hearing the second time...then the third time...
Trust me, most people would eventually ask the person to just cut to the result...most people don't want to relive each and every experience. Notice the explanation of WHY would look "backwards"...you assert the answer and then give an explanation back to when you didn't know.
"Modeling God" is NOT an explanation of the HOW. It is an explanation of the WHY. "Modeling God" explains WHY the model is non-contradictory. If you have specific questions on the HOW and you are interested in hearing 14 years of explanation, looking at the word studies and supporting scriptures....please do something Tim Snell refuses to do: ask me.
1. He uses his background in chemistry to derive principles which then serve as the basic mechanisms for building the theological model he presents.
2. Similar to other "quasi-Christian" theological offerings such as Mormonism or ancient Gnosticism, Lenhart's theology presents a fundamentally different god than the God of the Bible, and offers a completely non-Biblical theological perspective for sin and God's gift of salvation.
3. This assertion underlies all of Lenhart's book and leads to many of his erroneous conclusions.
4. When combined with the principle of non-contradiction, Lenhart says that a person who grows, welcomes any contradiction in his or her "model" because it exposes a flaw, and invites them to grow and learn more.
Page 6 "Exposing Lenhart's Modeling Process"
5. The problem with the process Lenhart uses to build his model is not in what he knows, but in what he doesn't know.
6. There are simply some key things he doesn't understand or know about, which he fails to bring to building a model of theology.
7. Furthermore, Lenhart misapplies his "model building" principles.
8. Although these principles apply nicely to static and unchanging realities (such as chemicals, elements or atoms) they do not apply so easily to dynamic realities (such as language, concepts, and words) which can change over time, and from one context of communication to the next.
Page 7 ("1. Can you Say...")
9. When Lenhart brings his modeling process over from chemistry and begins to apply it to theology, he makes a fundamental error.
10. The problem is, because he doesn't understand how linguistics works, he constantly speaks on the top rung of the ladder of abstraction, but thinks he is speaking on the bottom rung.
11. As a result, his entire application of his modeling principles (i.e. contrastive thinking) for the purpose of logically identifying contradictions becomes far too loose for the modeling process he is attempting to do.
(Original #11: As a result, his entire application of his modeling principles (i.e. contrastive thinking) in order to logically identify contradictions becomes far too loose for the modeling process he is attempting to do.)
12. Instead of trying to encompass all usages of the word, he does get down to a lower rung definition and gives a definition that is tight - but it is tight only as it relates to certain uses of the word, not all the uses of the word.
13. Yet this is exactly what Lenhart does with language.
14. He makes the assumption that a specific word in one specific context behaves and means exactly the same thing regardless of the presence of other words, the situation being addressed, or other contextual issues.
15. Lenhart's modeling process simply ignores this dynamic nature of language and ends up giving faulty definitions to key words at key times, resulting in a modeling process filled with half-truths or even outright untruths.
16. While his effort to have his theological model be non-contradictory is laudable, in the end Lenhart's failure to understand and incorporate the dynamic nature of language and how it is used leads him to build a model that is simply flawed from the get-go.
("2. Can you Say...")
17. Lenhart runs into problems here as well.
18. God has ceased to be a living being.
19. God not only isn't more than the sum of the words used to describe his characteristics - according to Lenhart, God has been depersonalized completely!
20. Such a notion would be laughable if it weren't so absolutely troubling...and blasphemous.
21. What Lenhart has done, intentionally or unintentionally, is depersonalize and degrade God into something far less than the Biblical God has revealed Himself to be.
22. Throughout the book one finds that Lenhart depersonalizes God fairly consistently.
23. Did you notice how Lenhart equated knowing the facts about God with having an intimate relationship with God?
24. This is something he does throughout the book.
25. If you do that, Lenhart claims, that is all it takes to grow closer to God.
26. What Lenhart has done is he has equated getting one's theology correct with knowing God personally.
27. He essentially elevated knowing the facts about God, and made that sufficient and equivalent to knowing God on a personal level.
28. He has reduced a relationship to an equation and denigrated a dynamic living growing love affair between Almighty God and his people to a process of gathering the right facts about an impersonal deity, nothing more.
29. In the end, Lenhart's entire approach smacks of something akin to a modern day version of Gnosticism, in which the gathering of facts and intellectual knowledge becomes the equivalent to knowing God personally.
30. In the end, Lenhart's process of building a theological model is not only flawed, it is built with a view toward a goal that is something far less than the goal God had when he (sic) revealed Himself to us.
31. That goal was (and continues to be) relationship, not merely a conglomeration of disembodied character qualities.
("3. Isn't Our Theology...")
32. One of the incredible feats Lenhart has pulled off is writing a 230 page "Christian" theology book that uses very little scripture to develop his theology at all.
33. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find the equivalent of fifteen pages of scripture referenced in the entire book!
34. This is yet another fatal flaw in Lenhart's modeling process.
35. He has not appealed to the primary source (i.e. the Bible) as the primary source of information for his model.
36. In other words, the informational input to this model does not come from God's Word, at least not very much.
37. He then develops almost his entire model via human deduction.
(Original #37: He then develops his entire model via human deduction.)
38. Except for an occasional "proof text", Lenhart simply doesn't look much to scripture.
39. In the end, what one is left with is a lot of Lenhart, not a lot of Bible.
40. What Lenhart has done is equivalent to a scientist writing a paper on the properties of uranium without ever having done (or appealing to) any in-depth research on uranium in any way!
41. Yet, this is Lenhart's primary approach when it comes to building a theological model!!
(Original #41: Yet, this is Lenhart's entire approach when it comes to building a theological model!!)
42. Lenhart never does this.
43. He isn't interested in comparing his concepts to scripture.
44. He instead only sees if they match up to HIS "definitions," (sic) most of which are not derived from an in-depth study of scripture to begin with, but rather come from human deduction.
45. A theological model that relies heavily on human deduction, as Lenhart's does, while it may end up being internally consistent, will almost always end up being inconsistent with the one source of authority that really matters: God's inspired Word.
46. As smart as Lenhart is, the fact that his conclusions (as we will see) simply fly in the face of what the Bible itself states to be true shows just how flawed his process is.
47. The result, for Lenhart, is a model that gets increasingly further away from scripture as it is built.
Page 13 ("4. Can We Get...")
48. Because Lenhart doesn't rely much at all on the Bible as a source, sound hermeneutics are simply not employed in the development of his model.
49. It is another fatal flaw.
50. Without the tools of hermeneutics, Lenhart falls back to human deduction and simply checks to see if his "definition" of any new words contradicts his already arrived at definitions.
51. In other words, he doesn't go back to scripture, and do an in-depth analysis of scripture and all God's Word to give the definition.
52. In the end, he consistently misdefines, misapplies, and misstates highly important Biblical truths about key concepts.
53. The result isn't Biblical theology at all.
54. It is a self-contained non-contradictory conceptualization of God straight out of Lenhart's mind.
55. There was no in-depth analysis of scripture using proper hermeneutics.
56. There are no in depth (sic) word studies done.
57. Rather the definitions were postulated and then stated to be true simply because Lenhart claims them to be true!
58. This is a repeated pattern in the book.
59. Again and again, key words are defined haphazardly and rely mostly - sometimes soley - upon Lenhart's assertion that such definitions are true.
60. In the end, Lenhart's approach is both ignorant and arrogant given the important responsibility he has assumed in developing a theological model to help people come to know God better.
61. You'll not only note that the modeling process isn't sound, you'll also see how Lenhart comes to some fundamentally flawed theological conclusions.
62. He used a flawed process in arriving at his definition.
63. Lenhart projects his limited human knowledge back on God.
(Original #63: Lenhart projects his limited human knowledge back on God, stating that the best way to define God is to say that God is a set of principles.)
(Not in Original) 63a. He then moves toward his definition, a definition built on his own deduction instead of on revelation.
64. He has postulated that the very essence and substance of who God is, is nothing more than an idea or a concept, not a living eternal, infinite supreme being.
65. This may allow one to build an internally consistent model, however, it simply won't be Biblical in the end.
66. It certainly isn't "bottom rung" in any sense of Lenhart's ladder of abstraction concept.
67. Once you agree to his initial definitions (and his assertion that they are "bottom rung"), it becomes very hard to "think outside the box" Lenhart has given, for you are relying almost entirely on human deduction versus Biblical input.
68. Unfortunately, because neither the scripture nor hermeneutics are utilized much, the end result is nothing but vain imaginations.
69. In the end, Lenhart has built his theological model almost entirely off human deduction rather than on God's revelation as seen most fully in Christ Jesus.
("5. Does Lenhart...")
70. And Lenhart does this repeatedly.
71. Again, he doesn't go back to scripture and do any detailed study.
72. He doesn't allow scripture to flesh out the breadth or depth of what is revealed by God about his (sic) righteousness.
73. Lenhart just glibly defines it and insists that his definition captures all of who God is when we speak of his (sic) righteousness.
74. This "backward theology" is seen most easily in Lenhart's reliance on deduction.
75. In other words, if God (and how He relates to mankind) is contained in Lenhart's definition, then all Lenhart has to do is deduce how God must act based on his definition.
76. He doesn't have to go back to scripture.
77. He can just insist that everything fit his nice tight non-contradictory definition - even though it will inevitably be flawed because it isn't drawn from scripture - but projected back upon God out of Lenhart's mind.
78. By not going back to the scripture, Lenhart is left insisting that God must fit his finite definitions, even though God's embodiment of attributes such as justice, righteousness, etc, are things we can grasp at and speak to in a limited fashion, but not contain - for God is infinite.
79. Lenhart's theology is always flowing in the wrong direction.
("6. Is Non-Contradiction...")
80. As such, Lenhart's reliance upon non-contradiction alone as a basis to determine truth is simply flawed both logically and Biblically.
81. Naturalism - the belief that all of reality is contained by nature, is a worldview that contains immense amounts of detailed beliefs that tie together pretty flawlessly.
82. It is a second level check for truth...not a first level as Lenhart believes.
83. Throughout his modeling process, Lenhart fails to follow this basic construct.
84. The result is that he relies on non-contradiction itself to be sufficient for determining truth, rather than realizing that there is an entire process as it relates to developing theology that must transpire first.
("A Summary of Why..."
85. The very principles and process Lenhart uses to develop his theological model are fundamentally inadequate.
86. They are inadequate, not because the principles he uses are false, but because there are some principles in theological modeling process of which Lenhart is simply not aware.
87. As a result, he seeks to apply principles that are true as they relate to static objects (which would have been true in his chemistry background) but which are not true as they relate to the dynamic realities of language which will change in its nuance from use to use.
88. Even more fundamental, Lenhart fails to go back to the scripture as a primary source, instead relying heavily on human deduction through each and every stage of his model building.
89. When he does go to scripture, he doesn't seem to comprehend the depth of work that must be done with hermeneutics to properly and intelligently speak to Biblically revealed truths.
90. Lacking this, he simply cannot arrive at "bottom rung" theological definitions.
91. If all this weren't bad enough, Lenhart uses backwards theology, insisting God must fit his limited conceptualization, building his model by projecting his own ideas back upon God rather than allowing God to appropriately define and reveal his (sic) infinite and perfect nature through scripture...
92. The result is Lenhart has set up a modeling process that is destined to fail when applied to developing Biblical theology.
93. He can't truly get to the "bottom rung" in terms of adequate definitions.
94. He doesn't understand the nature of linguistics...and misapplies his principles as it relates to language and words.
95. He isn't getting the appropriate Biblical "input" he needs to make his model Biblical.
96. And he inappropriately relies on non-contradiction to be the final arbiter of truth.
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