Before I continue examining Van Til and Schaeffer I feel I just have to comment for a moment about Van Til and Clark. Or more specifically what Van Til and Clark has morphed into today.
You will have a hard time finding more acrimonious debate than anytime you run across a debate about Van Til versus Gordon Clark. Followers of Clark will angrily denounce Van Til, trace evils back to him, and say that his methodology puts all knowledge in danger. Van Tillians are usually calm until provoked, but they constantly use ‘Clarkian’ as a slur and relating anyone or anything to John Robbins is a code word for dismissing all that is said without further thought. Why these groups seem to be unable to restrain themselves has befuddled me until recently.
Green Baggins recently hosted an attempt to reconcile the two views. This is something that is done often. People claim that Clark and Van Til simply talked past each other. I am convinced that these two great intellectuals clearly understood one another and profoundly disagreed. Reconciliation is impossible. (Andrew Sandlin has a nice essay about this) But it is the comments that particularly show the root of this anger filled debate. Note in that discussion by post 29 people are told to give up talking to the lone supporter of Clark on the discussion. Of course the lone Clark supporter, a man named Sean Gerety, gets three strikes against him for being abusive. Why the dismissive tone? Why the anger?
In my opinion the reason is twofold. I believe the first and primary reason such anger exists is because of the historical record or the distortion of the historical record. Note several times the debate boils down to what actually happened with the Van Tillians arguing Van Til was not the main antagonist and Clarkians becoming irate at the idea Van Til is to be cleared (see especially comments 94, 126, and 128). I have no doubt in the authenticity of the account given in this post by Rev. Johnson about Clark saying Van Til treated him with respect. Clark apparently preferred to place the black hat on Ned Stonehouse. Meuther has a new biography of Van Til that places the blame on John Murray. However, it needs to be noted that whether or not Van Til is the impetus or not is not the point. Van Til participated. The OPC Presbytery of Philadelphia’s own minutes show that Van Til was indeed one of the signers of the Complaint against Clark’s ordination in 1944. Murray and Stonehouse signed it as well. Van Til then participated in the debate (again according the minutes) at the Presbytery Meeting giving at least one lengthy speech against Clark. Again Stonehouse and Murray participated. In fact, the entire Westminster Faculty participated. The minutes recorded in the Presbyterian Guardian actually directly state Van Til declared "that it was no mere matter of a difference in terminology". Van Til clearly voted against Clark. Does it really matter who led the charge? Van Til was clearly against Clark and worked against him in the church courts. This is a historical fact that simply needs to be admitted. Van Til worked to keep Clark out of the OPC as in fact did the entire Westminster Seminary Faculty. This is a sore spot for followers of Clark and the attempted removal of blame for this from Van Til aggravates the situation.
The second reason is the constant refusal to interact with Clark’s or his followers critique of Van Til. Consider for a moment the high importance placed on logic in the Clark-System, and then imagine participating in a debate where logical attacks are not answered, brushed off (comment #27), or answered with personal attacks (#143). This happens more often than one might think. That being said, the militant attitude of Sean in this case brought on militant attitudes in others. John Robbins often has the same problem. His highly vitriolic rhetoric tends to bring out a defense reaction rather than a reaction of open mindedness. It is hard to blame people for walking away from a discussion where they are constantly abused. However, it should be noted that the tone or the rhetoric does not affect the argument itself. The idea that Meuther is wrong or biased in his biography is one that needs to be answered. The point that Van Til supported Norman Shepherd needs to be answered. These are points that cannot go unanswered (Just for the record I am not saying that I agree with these objections just that they deserve an answer).
One might notice that I place more blame on the tone of the discussion on the followers of Van Til, than I do the followers of Clark. That would be correct. The Van Til Party is the Majority Party and thus bears a great deal of responsibility. That being said there is one thing that the followers of Clark need to do to aid in the discussion. They should stop claiming the Federal Vision is a product of Van Til’s teaching and epistemology. This does nothing but provoke a gutteral response from the followers of Van Til. I understand the need of Clark’s followers to test the ‘root by the fruit’ so to speak, and it is true that not one known Federal Vision man is a follower of Clark. But that proves nothing. That is not even out of the realm of statistics yet. Robbins and Gerety have yet to show that Van Til’s thinking are the root cause. Could it be that Banshen’s interpretation of Van Til is more the problem that Van Til. This would provide the stronger connection with Theonomy, which appears to be more than a passing influence on the FV. Could it be that there is something deeper at work that would make people want to adhere to Van Til and then Theonomy and the FV? Could it be that the idea of Doctrinal Development is the axiom at the root rather than Van Til? If one wanted to really study the idea of what promotes the FV, then do so, but it is a needless provocation during a discussion about Van Til and Clark.
So in conclusion, the venom in this debate will not be turned down until it is acknowledged that Van Til and all of Westminster viewed Clark outside the bounds of orthodoxy for the OPC. And it will not be turned down until Clark’s critique is taken seriously and the differences admitted to be real and substantial. Then hopefully both sides will be able to keep the discussion on a fruitful plain.
And for full disclosure’s sake, I consider myself a Presuppositionalists much closer to Van Til than to Clark.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Before I continue examining Van Til and Schaeffer I feel I just have to comment for a moment about Van Til and Clark. Or more specifically what Van Til and Clark has morphed into today.
Monday, April 28, 2008
It is official, the Pirates just got a lot better. Pitcher Matt Morris has been released. I am sad that he failed to regain form. It was a trade worth the risk at the end of last year. Raja Davis was expendable, and a solid veteran pitcher is a good thing when he is solid. Sadly, Morris was awful last year and in Spring Training. He was even worse during the first part of this year. Finally, the Pirates are trusting their young arms and letting them throw. The Pirates will now march to the front of the NL Central. At least I hope so.
The Pirates record of 10-15 has them only 6 games out. Considering the schedule they have had so far they can easily overtake the lead. So far 12 of their 25 games have been against first place teams. The Pirates are 2 -10 in those games. As you can see then they are 8-5 against the rest of the league. This includes second place Cardinals (1-1) and the second place Dodgers (1-2). They have yet to get to feast on weak teams like the Astros, Nationals, or Padres. Considering the swept the Reds earlier this year, one would have to think that the Pirates are going places.
Add to all of that Jack Wilson has missed all but a handful of games. He should be returning soon, and that will immediately improve both the offense and defense. The Pirates are not going to be walked over this year. They may not make it to first, but they have a good shot at competing. If you have not been paying attention to the Pirates start. You have already missed Nate McClouth’s 20 game hit streak and Xavier Nady’s 13 game hit streak. Both men should be All Star’s this year. Watch out for the Pirates. You will be glad you did.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Thanks to a link in the comments section of my previous post, we can see what Schaeffer thought about Van Til’s thought even if it be ever so brief.
Remember Van Til’s main complaint against Schaeffer is that Schaeffer ended up not challenging the presupposition of modern man, namely his own autonomy. That by asking the unbeliever to see his own manishness and his system’s incompatibility with the world that Schaeffer had by default accepted the autonomy of man. Van Til then believes that with the starting presupposition of man’s autonomy one could never get to the God of the Bible.
The review written by Francis Schaeffer attempts to reconcile the view of Dr. Van Til with that of Dr. Bushnell, who apparently held to a Classical Apologetic method. Basically that method of Thomas Aquinas of logical arguments, but with a few improvements as is admitted in the review.
One note should be made about the summary of agreements between the two provided by Schaeffer. Point number four, I believe to be wrong.
4. As I remember Dr. Van Til's practical approach, it was to show the non-Christian that his world view, en toto, and in all its parts, must logically lead back to full irrationalism and then to show him that the Christian system provides the universal which gives avowed explanation of the universe. It is Christianity or nothing.
This maybe a misunderstanding of Van Til’s apologetic approach because this is exactly what Van Til critiques Schaeffer for doing. Van Til is against the idea of giving man the ability to chose with his own presuppostions. He is against the idea that the unsaved man can look at Christian system and see that it explains the universe and that his own system does not. Now it may be that Schaeffer is emphasizing the ‘practical’ part of the sentence as if to say that this is the only way Van Til’s system can be implemented. Which would make the practical line up with Schaeffer and fall out of line with the theoretical approach argued by Van Til. Using logic or an understanding of the world around him for Van Til gives credence to the ultimacy of man, and is to be rejected. His theoretical starting point is given in Christian Apologetics :
The point of contact for the gospel, then, must be sought within the natural man. Deep down in his mind every man knows that he is the creature of God and a covenant breaker. But every man acts if he were not so. (Christian Apologetics pg. 57)
Thus, I think that Schaeffer in this review assumes an agreement that does not exist. In fact it is an agreement that Van Til would say gives away the farm. Perhaps it is this misunderstanding that allows Schaeffer to think he can reconcile the two methods of apologetics.
For fairness sake, I think Van Til is a little too hard on Schaeffer’s theory as well. It bares remembering that Schaeffer thought of himself primarily as an evangelist, not an apologist. Schaeffer often taught that modern man cannot give a right diagnosis of himself. In fact, "Christianity has a diagnosis and then a solid foundation for an answer. (The God Who is There pg. 46)" Van Til did admit this, but stresses the methodology of Schaeffer as contradictory to this. Van Til even perhaps ignores these foundational statements of the book before launching into critiquing it. Rather than seeing this statement about Christianity in back of the methodology he assumes the methodology contradicts this early statement.
Both men seem to have some misunderstandings of each other, but real differences exist. And they are important. The next post will examine the differences I see and we shall work our way into examining the concluding statement of Schaeffer in the review linked above.
The answer rests in the fact that the unsaved man is not logical and therefore I can agree to both the statements that (1) the un-Christian system* and the Christian system "have absolutely no common ground whatever on any level, for, when the world view is seen as a whole, it necessarily evinces metaphysics, a metaphysics which governs every level of meaning." (Page 247, The Bible Today, May, 1948, quoting Dr. Carnell); and also (2) that there is a point of contact with the unsaved man.
This intriguing point deserves a closer look.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Rev. Enloe has responded to my earlier post about the Reformation and Conciliarism. I thank him for his response. I will have to take some time to think and study more on the issue before replying in full, including reading the book recommended by Kepha in the comments to my previous post. However, there is one small point I wish to discuss a little further now. Were the Reformers revolutionaries?
In one sense I want to agree with Rev. Enloe and say no. For one thing the term revolutionary has a negative connotation in my mind about throwing off all that has come before. I do not think the Reformers did that at all. They have a grand connection to the early church, and I think the connection goes on and can easily be seen in France and Germany during the time of Charlemagne and in many other places where the Roman doctrine never fully took over.
However in the end, I think they were revolutionaries in a lot of ways. This is what sets the Reformation apart from the numerous other movements within the Catholic Church that never ended in a real change. All of the movements before were revivals of piety and of learning, but never true reform. Take a look at the Cluniac Reformers. They were scandalized by the behavior of the popes, simony and lay investiture, and they took over the papacy as a popular movement. Yet, no real doctrinal change occurred. They were not revolutionaries, but people who sought to fix some problems through minor tweaks to the system. They did things such as create the College of Cardinals to help with the problem. The rise of the Fransician and Dominican orders also were movements designed to bring about higher morals. They were clearly a protest against monasticism the old way and the corruption that had developed there. Yet, no real doctrinal change ensued or was ever pursued. The Conciliarists may very well fall into this category. They were scandalized by the existence of multiple popes. They tried to fix the system by instituting regular Council meetings and curtailing the powers of the pope. It was a tweak to the system, but not a whole sale change of it.
I believe the Reformation was a whole sale change in many ways. They dumped the offensive system that had grown up around the church. They opposed the papacy outright rejecting its very idea, something not done by previous reforms. They placed the bible above the church which lead them to do things like reject the lectionary in favor of the preaching straight through books of the Bible, they dumped the church calendar, and they cast off ‘traditional’ but unbiblical ideas like transubstantiation, purgatory, and indulgences. They would even go as far to reject government by bishops in favor of presbyteries (except in England and in the Lutheran Church). When one views these wholesale changes as compared to previous attempts to clean up the church, how can one not view them as revolutionaries. They completely upset the apple cart. Revolution may in fact be a viable word to describe the event.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Christians should pay more attention to the Bible.
First, let it be said that I am in sympathy with those conservative Episcopalians who want out of The Episcopal Church. The actions of that denomination are out of accord with the Bible.
With that out of the way, I wish those theological conservative had paid more attention to I Corinthians 6, which speaks of not going to court against other brothers, but rather solving it out of court. Or that these conservatives had taken heed of Matthew 5:38-41, which reminds us that if someone wants our tunic, we should give them our cloak as well. This idea of meekness and not going to the courts with disputes has not been heeded by Episcopalians, and now we may all pay the price.
I speak of the court ruling that went largely unnoticed on Apirl 5th The conservatives who voted to leave the Episcopal Church found a Civil War era law that allowed them to get the state involved in the property dispute. The state has rule, of course, that it can and will get involved and those who have withdrawn can continue to use the property until the final settlement is reached. This is all despite the fact that church law clearly states the property never ever belongs to the local congregations, but rather to diocese as a whole. I am not endorsing this sort of church hierarchy, but it is their rule and no one had a problem with it until they wanted to take their church with them. It is still possible that the law will be ruled unconstitutional and it is still possible that maybe the conservatives will lose, but it is a bad first sign.
The problem of course is that now the government is going to override church laws and rules. This is a disaster waiting to happen. It will take less than a year before liberals use this against conservatives to make sure women get to vote in congregational meetings or become ministers or allow homosexuals ordination. Once the government rules that it can come in and override church law no law is safe. It will not be limited to property for long.
It seems in today’s world that the First Amendment that is supposedly designed to keep Congress and the Government out of church business no longer works. The ‘wall of separation of church and state’ that liberals talk about so much is apparently a wall that keeps the church out of the state, but lets the state walk right into the church.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
April 15th is tax day and is a day to be dreaded and disliked for that reason alone. However, today is also the day that Pope comes to visit America. In this there is little reason to celebrate in my opinion. The Pope is the Pontiff of the smallest nation on the planet and the spiritual tyrant over millions throughout the globe. I grew up in the South where Romanism barely exists, and when it does it is very loose. However, I now live in a different part of the country, a part where Romanism has a death grip over most of the population. The Dakotas as a whole are mostly Roman Catholic. I have seen the scandals of the Roman church up close (not all scandals involve children), and the Catholic church moves quickly to cover up the sins and abuses of their priests, but does nothing to actually try and fix the problem. However, I drift from my main point.
The main point is the arrival of the Pope and his place in Protestant theology. Rev. John Armstrong has a couple of recent posts talking about the papal visit. Armstrong points to a "new ecumenism", which he defines as
it tries to see the common core of our ("mere") Christian faith that we share together while we continue to pursue our differences within our mission for Christ in a world shattered by war and upheaval.
This is a statement that would have scandalized the church in ages past. Now it barely seems to affect anyone. What exactly common core beliefs to Protestants and Romanists share? Is it beliefs about salvation? No. Justification? No. Sanctification? No. Do we agree on worship? No. The authority of the Scripture? No. The authority of Christ? No. Prayer? No. Do we even agree on what books are in the Bible? No.
The idea that we can embrace the pope as a different, but loyal friend is not one I share. Throughout history the Protestant church has maintained the Roman church was apostate and the pope a root of evil. In fact, many pre-reformation Christians had similar ideas. Yet, in today’s world there is a movement away from the idea of the pope as the antichrist, or even as an unbeliever. The original Westminster Confession of Faith proclaim the papacy to be the antichrist, but that was removed around 1900 to soften the stance. The Heidleberg Catechism proclaims the Mass to be at bottom "a denial of the one sacrifice and suffering of Jesus Christ, and an accursed idolatry." However now a few churches like the Christian Reformed Church are removing question 80 as an offensive question. What exactly has changed over the years? It is not the teachings of the Roman church, they have not moved. So, then the change must be in the Protestant church. I believe there are two major reasons for this wholesale change on Romanism.
1. We fail to recognize that ceremonies have inherent theology attached to them. You can see from the fact that the CRC thinks the Heidelberg Catechism does not reflect the actual beliefs of the Roman church that we have failed to recognize the theological power in ceremonies.
2. We no longer appreciate the doctrine of justification by faith alone as the doctrine upon which the church stands are falls. Sure Presbyterian and reformed church still argue about it from time to time, but the evangelical world as a whole has lost sight of its importance. And even in Presbyterian/Reformed circles we often fail to see it as the lifeblood of the church. We may fuss here and fuss there, but when push comes to shove do we really up hold this doctrine as the only hope in life and in death? Do we really see those who preach a salvation by works, by saints, or by sacraments as denying the very essence of salvation? Too often we do not.
That after all is the essence of saying that we should look past or difference to our "core" or "mere" Christianity. It is saying salvation by faith is nice, but it is not vital. It is saying that true Christianity does not actually care about faith or works. It is saying that "core" Christianity is something wholly other than how we are made right with God. What exactly the ‘good news’ is in this new approach, I am not sure, but if it is a gospel with which the pope can agree, then it is not gospel at all.
There is always a lot of discussion about the feud between Rev. Van Til and Rev. Gordon Clark. This is probably because of all the actions taken by each man to fight with the other including causing Clark to move to a different denomination. There is a great deal of bitterness between the two groups still today, although some want to sweep their dispute under the rug by saying that the two men just talked past each other, but really agreed, something I highly doubt. This conversation is always raging somewhere. Right now one can find it at Greenbaggins, and it will also always be in play over at the Trinity Foundation.
However, lesser known is the dispute between Van Til and Francis Schaeffer. Much like the previous dispute both these men used the term ‘presupposition’ to describe their own apologetic approach. While I cannot find a place where Schaeffer deals directly with Van Til, I have found Van Til’s view on Schaeffer. In summary, Van Til believed Schaeffer to be following the Classical Approach of Thomas Aquinas. Van Til vehemently argues that Schaeffer is not a Presuppositional Apologist. Van Til critiques The God Who Is There:
Schaeffer allows that the modern man, though not a Christian, has the right problematics but that he needs the Christian answer. But no man has the right probelmatics unless he formulates it in terms of the Christian answer. No man emerging from a bottomless ocean of chance can even ask who he is and what the world is. He simply cannot identify himself. (page ii of The Apologetic Methodology of Francis Schaeffer)
Van Til dislikes Schaeffer’s starting with man in himself. Schaeffer advocated a method that started with man in his own idea of himself and then would ‘blow the roof’ off of that system by showing him how it does not fit in the world, and it cannot be held to coherently. This for Van Til is not starting with what the Bible says about man, how he is a sinner standing in need of Christ. Van Til argues that this position cedes too much by thinking that a non-Christian man can see his problem at all. And that it implicitly sets up a test for the truth or validity of the Christian faith, namely the test of coherence (which is similar to the problem he had with Clark). Van Til calls Schaeffer’s method a “some sort of synthesis between Descartes and Calvin” (ibid. pg. 9).
Thus, Van Til claims Schaeffer’s use of presupposition really has the same meaning as hypothesis (pg. 11). Thus, according to Van Til, Schaeffer has committed the error of Thomism and has given too much place to logic and not enough place for God’s Word. Schaeffer assumes a common ground that does not exist for Van Til.
Apologetics is something that has occupied a bit of my time lately. Specifically, how do we put feet to the theories that are so often debates, especially in this post-modern world. I would like to take a closer look at this disagreement and examine some biblical evidence. I very much hope to have feedback on this as it is much more a work in progress and thinking out loud than a real argument or solid position.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
The first week of baseball is over and I thought I would make a quick note on the Pirates. I do think they will win the NL Central, but a 3-4 start is hardly encouraging. So here is the run down of week one for the Pirates.
Bad Sign: Tom Gorzelanny has had two very bad starts. It appears he may be suffering from the Pirate Slump that has plagued their pitching prospects since Zack Duke in 05. Add him to the sure to be pathetic Matt Morris, and the Pirates may now have two large holes in their starting rotation.
Good Sign: Ian Snell looks good. He had a rough opening day, but it was not bad. His second start was fantastic. Zack Duke also looks good. Those two needed rebound years, and they are off to good starts.
Bad Sign: Injuries. They will not leave the Pirates alone, and they are not deep enough to sustain more than one or two at a time. Freddy Sanchez sat out the entire Marlins series, where they went 1-2, because of continued problems with his shoulder. Jack Wilson is on the DL because of a hard slide that took him out, and LaRoche has a bad thumb (maybe a cover for yet another slow start).
Good Sign: Ryan Doumit, Nate McCLouth and Xavier Nady are on fire. They are really hitting the ball well. This is a great sign. The Pirates are scoring runs. They put up 12 on opening day, 8 in the first game at Pittsburgh and look like an offense than can score runs as long as these guys hit.
Bad Sign: Close Games are going against them. The Pirates need to win close games if they are to make a real run. They won a close one in Atlanta, but have since been beaten in a walk off homerun by the Marlins, and just lost an extra inning game against the Cubs. They need to fix this problem.
Good sign: The coach seems competent. He is trying to put the best team on the field, and is willing to bench players to do it. I like that.
Too early to tell: The bullpen is struggling. But it is a bit early to make a call on them. Most bullpens struggle in the early part of the season because they do not get work in Spring Training against Major League hitters. They come in late in games when the AA guys are hitting. Evan Meek is the obvious weak link so far. If he does not turn it around soon, he should be dismissed from the team. He is the one player who did not earn a spot on the team, but was put there because if they remove him from the major league team they lose him. Plus, they need a right handed arm in their pen.
I hope to have better news in the future about the Pirates. However, I will watch them on TV Thursday, and that should put me in a better mood.
Saturday, April 05, 2008
In the most recent Christianity Today Bishop N.T. Wright has an article (or perhaps it is an excerpt) about his new book and Heaven. I had previously questioned Bishop Wright’s belief in a traditional view of heaven based on some interviews given to promote the book. The article is much more illuminating. I was wrong in my first reading of the article. Bishop Wright does hold to a traditional view of heaven, and that is much more clear in this article. Especially when he uses phrase like ‘life after life after death’. He is trying to focus on the resurrection of the body, and in my opinion, he needlessly knocks heaven to focus on the New Heaven and New Earth. But, despite his slighting it, I do think he believes in it. I still have a few quips with the article, but Bishop Wright is bringing focus in on the resurrection of the body, which is not a bad thing, and maybe in many places really needs to be brought back into focus. There is an attitude of escape that permeates parts of evangelicalism that need to be reminded that the ultimate destination is a re-made world, a new Earth and a new Heaven, and that these bodies will rise just as Jesus rose on the third day. That message is laudable.
I do think that Bishop Wright promotes a bit of an environmental agenda with this doctrine, and I do think that he overplays the problem. After all any church that confesses the Apostle’s Creed confesses belief in the ‘resurrection of the body’; however, I am willing to admit that the situation may be different in England. Some of his exegesis bothers me such as his interpretation of ‘citizens of heaven’ in Philippians 3, but he is not denying a heaven that exists now for those who are dead in Christ until the bodily resurrection.
I wrote this brief piece to follow up the earlier critical piece. The interview was a little misleading, but this article is clearer. It is better than his interview.
Friday, April 04, 2008
There is some discussion on the web as the Reformation being a descendant or a relative of the Conciliar Movement of the 15th century. One of the major proponents of this view is Tim Enloe whose works are worth a quick read. I have to admit these things got me thinking. However, in the end, I think this thesis has to be rejected, with regards to the Reformed branch of the Reformation anyway. I will let the Lutherans argue for themselves. I see a few major flaws in this argumentation about Conciliarism having a great effect on the Reformation.
First, I think the Conciliar movement itself was nothing more than a protest and not a true reform. The Conciliar Movement was the only answer possible to the situation the Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy had created. Short of all out war between the rival popes, the Council was the only solution. I think then the movement known as Counciliarism was born more out of necessity than theology. This is born out by the fact that not all Conciliarists rejected the idea of Papal Infallibility. In fact the Council of Pisa elected a pope, which made three. And the next one the Council of Constance removed the other popes and elected a new pope, finally ending the multiple pope problem. But it should be noted that these councils elected popes. They were obviously not opposed to the idea of a pope. Later the Council of Basel tried to depose a pope and elected a new pope, but no one recognized the move. Still it shows that Conciliar Movement did not oppose the ideas of popes. They tried to limit their power and assert supremacy over popes, but the movement felt the need to have a pope. Also reforming the papacy is not the same as Reformation. Let us not forget it is the height of the Conciliar Movement that executed Jan Hus, a forerunner of the Reformation with regards to theology.
Second, the Reformers favored a Presbyterian form of government, but that is not to be confused with Conciliarism. The Reformers did believe in calling councils, or even having regular scheduled councils. This did not mean that they thought these councils infallible, and there lies the major difference. The Conciliar Movement was a movement to replace the supreme power of the pope with the supreme power of the council. The Reformers did believe that councils governed the church, that is simple Presbyterianism, not conciliarism. However, the Reformers held that these councils were only good as long as they fell in line with Scripture. Any pronouncement not in line with the Word was no authority at all. That idea was missing in the counciliarists. Note also that Luther truly became a Protestant when Eck forced him to disagree with the judgment against Hus, a judgment that was not just done by a pope, but by an entire council. Luther rejected the idea of a supreme authority in councils.
Third, which is related to the above. The supreme authority for the Protestants has always been Scripture, not the church speaking in a council. This is a point that is conceded by Enloe in his post, but is then attempted to be circumvented. The Conciliarists (not uniformly but mostly) believed the authority was still the church speaking. Even the radical Marsilius of Padua, who rejected papal infallibility, placed infallibility in the universal church and thus councils. Even then one might could argue that Marsilius was placing the civil authority as the head of the church rather than the pope, but either way this is not the doctrine of the Reformers. See Westminster Confession of Faith 31.
Fourth, the Synod of Dort. For all the talk of Coniliarism in the Reformation only once has an ecumenical council of Reformed men actually met. This was the Synod of Dort. Dort for the record used the Scripture and not previous confessions as the only rule of faith. Anyway, one could look at that Synod to see exactly how it was received. Other than Holland where the Synod was part of their regular Presbyterian form of government, only one other place adopted the Canons of Dort as official doctrine and rule. That was Geneva. Other placed debated it and agreed with the outcome, but they did not adopt it and they did not consider it a rule of law or official doctrine and canons that now had to be subscribed to or upheld at any cost. Some places, like England, did not adopt them and took rather liberal interpretations of some of the points showing that they did not believe that the Synod of Dort was any sort of binding rule that now needed to be followed. This is again the complete opposite of the Conciliar Movement that thought and taught that the declarations of the Council had to be obeyed.
I am not disagreeing that the Reformation has connections the history of the Church. Nor am I saying that the Reformers did not make use of those who opposed the pope from time to time. Cramner reprinted Marsilius to defend Henry VIII as the head of the church. However, I do not think that the Reformation stands in line of descent from the Conciliarists. The Conciliarists still believed in the doctrines of the Roman church especiallity the infallibility of the church. They simply disagreed who would wield the power of the church and fought over that power with the pope. I believe the Reformation stands in link with the early church, which I do not believe was ever successfully stamped out by the pope, the Greeks, or the Turks.