Dale Tuggy

Dale Tuggy is Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Fredonia, where he teaches courses in analytic theology, philosophy of religion, religious studies, and the history of philosophy.


  1. Kenny Pearce
    April 10, 2007 @ 1:42 am

    Sorry if it sounded like you struck a nerve. I really didn’t have a very strong reaction; actually I think Calvary pastors do things like that regularly because so few of them are intellectuals by disposition (which is not to say that they aren’t smart – they just have a strong disposition for the practical).
    As you say, it’s a trap that everyone falls into. (Actually I think that this trap is almost entirely responsible for promoting both dispensationalism and covenant theology – they are both instances of a nice, neat grid being invented by somebody, and then read back into Scripture.) At any rate, your comment aroused curiosity, not offense or irritation. I don’t have any illusions about the greatness of Calvary Chapel; I happen to like it a lot and find it very helpful, and I agree with them doctrinally on the issues that I take to be essential (if not on all the issues they take to be essential), but I could certainly find things to complain about – anti-intellecualism is high on the list.

  2. Dale
    April 10, 2007 @ 1:23 am

    Hi Kenny,

    Seems I struck a little bit of a nerve! No, it wasn’t any of those three things, but it doesn’t matter what it was. Fact is, many other evangelicals hold it. I don’t want to pick on Calvary Chapel, though I have seen some very unhealthy manifestations of your (1).

    The episode I related was just a fairly clear, if not a crystal clear, case of tradition vs. text. It wasn’t that his view lacked adequate justification – it was the unusual spectacle of the text seeming to teach the exact opposite of what was being asserted. This pastor was no intellectual, but I don’t accuse him of any special failing – it’s human nature. We want it to say what we want it to say, and it’s so very hard to kill off that tendency. I guess it’s even more shocking when you see it in intellectuals, indeed, in some of the world’s best.

  3. Kenny Pearce
    April 9, 2007 @ 5:20 pm

    I’m interested in your Calvary Chapel comment, as a Calvary guy myself. Calvary has a broader conception of orthodoxy than many suppose; it happens that it attracts people, especially pastors, who agree with the vast majority of Chuck Smith’s teachings (though there are exceptions – for instance, Chuck Smith rejects all five points of Calvinism, but I’m told by people who have studied there that most of the students and faculty at the big Calvary Bible College in California accept four of the five; I don’t remember which one they reject, nor am I entirely sure how you can do this in a consistent manner). However, most of these teachings are not actually required and from time to time we do get pastors who disagree on certain issues. What Calvary actually has is a short statement of faith (which I can’t find at the moment) which they think you have to believe in order to be a Christian at all (this is the same sort of statement of faith you would get from any Evangelical parachurch organization – it’s basically the Nicene Creed plus the authority of Scripture, with a few differences in emphasis from the original Creed due to the problems facing the Church today), and then the Calvary Chapel Distinctives document. The distinctives document (which is long, and I was just skimming over it), only has a couple of points I would regard as controversial: (1) church government (authority given almost entirely to a single pastor), (2) baptism in the Holy Spirit, and (3) pre-Tribulation Rapture (they don’t have full-blown dispensationalism in the distinctives document, though most Calvary people believe in it). For the record, I think their view in (1) is close to correct but slightly off, and I’m more or less agnostic on (3). (I guess I’m not a very good Calvary guy.)

    Anyway, I’m just wondering whether the problem was one of these things or some less central point (e.g. Chuck Smith’s particular teaching on spiritual gifts), and whether the problem was that the pastor’s view was (in your opinion) clearly Biblically unjustifiable, or just that he failed to address the argument against it which was apparent in the passage he was supposed to be teaching on.

  4. Ian Spencer
    April 9, 2007 @ 4:18 pm

    I see this all the time – especially when I encounter fellow Christians’ take on Scripture’s prophetic or apocalyptic literature.

    “Well, this passage must be all about the coming United States of Europe – it can’t be about Rome/Greece/Babylon/etc. after all!”