Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 22, 1957

Logic Versus God's Word

W. M. Holland, Fort Worth, Texas

In these times when the church is being confronted with much controversy, it is a deplorable situation when our brethren turn to the wisdom of men to defend their "Centralized" control and "Institutional" setups.

Paul condemned the use of men's wisdom in judging spiritual matters (1 Cor. .) And yet, some of my brethren who have learned something of the art of logic forsake God's word to a degree and turn to Logic to prove (?) their doctrines, nor realizing, I am sure their violations of the rules of Logic.

My purpose is not to question the value of Logic, but a warning against the misuse of it.

Bishop Butler, famous for his writings, had this to say: "reasoning from analogy is liable to error," but he adds, "we unquestionably are assured that analogy is of weight, in various degrees, towards determining our judgment and our practice."

Richard Whately, graduate of Oxford University, Archbishop of Dublin, a man who appealed to intellect to prove his religious doctrines, was adept in using premises, constituent elements, etc. Yet in all his warnings against misusing Logic he never recognized his own errors, else why was he Archbishop of Dublin.

In its (Logic) defense he wrote: "No art is to be censored for not teaching more than falls within its province, and indeed more than can be taught by any conceivable art. Such a system of universal knowledge as should instruct us in the full meaning or meanings of every term, and the truth of falsity, certainty or uncertainty of every proposition (THUS SUPERSEDING ALL OTHER STUDIES — emphasis mine WMH) it is most unphilosophical to expect, or even to imagine. And to find fault with Logic for not performing this is as if one should object to the science of optics for not giving sight to the blind. - - -"

Again he writes: "On the utility of Logic many writers have said much in which I cannot coincide, and which has tended to bring the study into unmerited disrepute. By representing Logic as furnishing the sole instrument for DISCOVERY OF TRUTH IN ALL SUBJECTS - - -" (emp. mine-WMH.)

I am sure it must be wonderful to be capable of using Logic. But this I do know, it can be disastrous if all the rules are not considered. And this is a rule that should never be overlooked: Logic is to be used only to establish that which cannot be established by facts, i.e., no concrete rules have been set forth. Through the Art of Logic, for example, music has advanced from the four tone chants of the first century to such works as Beethoven's, Bach's, Mendelssohn's and others. It was their tasks to establish rules where none existed. Not so the scriptures, for we are "thoroughly furnished," (2 Tim. 3:16,17.) Therefore, it becomes our duty to "rightly divide the word of truth." (2 Tim. 2:15.)

Said C. W. Pearce in his book "Students Counterpoint: - "Both arts Counterpoint and Logic - WMH) suffers from (1) Over estimation of their proper province and functions. (2) Preference of unaided common-sense to knowledge and experience gained by use of systematic principles."

Let us recognize Logic in its field, i.e., music, mathematics, chemistry, politics, etc. All these are pertaining to the world.

God is our Master Logician in Spiritual matters, and has left no room for improvement.