Letter to the Editor: Reverend Jackson and the Wesleyan Quadrilateral

As I earlier stated, Jackson isn’t wrong logically once we accept his few basic premises. But I don’t accept his assumption that metaphors are reliable premises. The verses that state things such as followers being the light of the world are metaphors. This is evident when one compares the earlier verse in Matthew metaphorizing believers as the salt of the earth and a city on a hill.

But why are metaphors unreliable premises?  It’s not clear if metaphors have a static true or false value as other statements do. Thus, whenever doing logic, one is best to avoid the use of metaphors because it’s not clear what the truth value is of the metaphor. And if the truth value of a premise is unclear, its impossible to know if the argument is sound or if it’s cogent.

One last point to add is if you’ve studied formal logic, you’ll know that the one way to prove a conditional is false is to show the antecedent (the phrase that follows the “if”) is true and the consequent (the phrase that follows the “then”) is false. So, for example, Jackson’s criterion, as I’ve interpreted it, is as follows: “if X is a Christian, then the people X is around will not sin” with X acting as a variable for anyone’s name. The antecedent of this would be “X is a Christian” (because it is the phrase right after the “if”) and the consequent would be “the people X is around will not sin” (because it is the phrase right after the “then”).

So, if I can find a person who is a Christian and who hung around people who still desired to sin, then Jackson’s criterion is proven false on logical grounds. As I argued above in the section for Scripture, there are examples. I argued one could insert Stephen for X, or one could insert Jesus for X, or one could even insert the entire church that Saul was trying to persecute for X and the truth value of the antecedent would be true, the consequent would be false, and thus the conditional statement would be false. And thus, Jackson’s criterion fails the reason category of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral.

The third category of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral that I will examine is Tradition.

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What do you think?