John Robbins has died

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BobVigneault

Bawberator
Dear Friends,

John William Robbins (1948-2008) died at his home in Unicoi County, Tennessee on Thursday, August, 14. He was 59.

The youngest child of Seamon L. and Edith S. Robbins of Wayne County, Pennsylvania, Dr. Robbins is survived by his wife of 35 years, Linda; his three daughters, Juley Grady of Georgia, Laura Juodaitis of Tennessee, and Meri Robbins of the home; two sons-in-law, six grandchildren, two brothers, a sister, a brother-in-law, sister-in-law, five nephews, and a niece; and an uncle and aunt. He was preceded in death by his parents and several other aunts and uncles.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to either Reformation Church of Unicoi or to The Trinity Foundation, which Dr. Robbins founded and presided over for more than 30 years. The mailing address is Post Office Box 68, Unicoi, Tennessee 37692.

Funeral arrangements have been made by the Tetrick Funeral Services of 3001 Peoples Street, Johnson City, Tennessee 37602. Their telephone number is 423.610.7177. Their website is Tetrick Funeral Homes. Family visitation is on Sunday from 4-6 pm at Tetrick, and the Funeral will be on Monday at 2 pm.

Thanks to all for your prayers and support.

Remember that our only comfort is in Christ.

In Christ,

Tom Juodaitis
The Trinity Foundation
The Bible alone is the Word of God.
 

dcomin

Psalm Singa
I just received that email too, Bawb. Posted it on my blog. Will be praying for John's family.
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
Here is one of John's last articles. I post it as a tribute to the fallen contender and as food for thought for the rest of us.

God's Will and Healing

John W. Robbins

Since I was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic colon cancer in September 2005, some strangers, friends, and acquaintances have given me different opinions on the topic of God's will and healing. All of the opinions are offered by sincere people, but most sincere people are sincerely wrong. Only one opinion is Biblical. This should not be surprising, for there is an indefinite number of ways to go wrong, but only one way to go right. There is only one right answer to the question, "How much is 2 plus 2?" and an infinite number of wrong answers. That is why the Bible in general and Jesus in particular stress the importance of finding the narrow way and repeatedly warn against the broad way.

The many opinions on healing I have received distill to three. The first is that it is not God's will that anyone - or at least any Christian - be sick. Being sick is being "outside God's will." By not getting well, a Christian is showing his rebellion against God's will that everyone be well. In this opinion, every Christian who is sick for any length of time (I suppose they make exceptions for colds), is not "submitting to God's will that he be well."

The second opinion seems to be the opposite. It is that a Christian must "submit himself to God's will," and if he is not getting better, God's will is that he remain sick, and perhaps die from the affliction. He also is told to "submit himself to the will of God," but to an opposite end, not to get well, but perhaps to die.

The third opinion does not speak of "submitting to the will of God," but tells us to seek and pray for the desires of our hearts. It certainly sounds like the least pious of the three opinions, doesn't it? But it is the Biblical position. The Bible is not a very religious book, as men count religion.

Let us examine each of these three opinions.

Take the first opinion first: Is it God's will that no Christian be sick or afflicted? Of course not. If it were not God's will that some people are sometimes sick, no one would ever be sick, since nothing, not even the death of a sparrow or the fall of a hair from our heads, happens apart from God's will. God causes both sickness and health in his and in all people. This is taught so clearly in the Bible that one must deliberately ignore and disbelieve scores of passages that teach it. Here are a few:

"And I [God] will afflict the descendants of David because of this, but not forever" (1 Kings 11:39).

"For you, O God, have tested us; you have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; you laid affliction on our backs. You have caused men to ride over our heads" (Psalm 66:1-12).

"...when they pray toward this place and confess your name, and turn from their sin because you [God] afflict them...." (2 Chronicles 6:26).

"And it shall come to pass, that as I have watched over them to pluck up, to break down, to throw down, to destroy, and to afflict, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, says the Lord" (Jeremiah 31:28).

In the New Testament, Paul tells us that "For this reason, many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep, for if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged, but when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world" (1 Corinthians 11:30-32).

These verses clearly show that it is God's will to afflict even his own people at times, even to the point of killing them. From many more verses, too numerous to list here, it is clearly God's will that whatever happens happen, for there is nothing outside God's will. He is sovereign and omnipotent, and nothing can happen apart from his plan and will. It is logically and theologically impossible to be "outside God's will."

The second opinion is that sickness or affliction that does not go away in a relatively short period of time (I suppose these people also make exceptions for colds) indicates that it is God's will that the afflicted person remain sick, and perhaps even die from his affliction. This is made especially convincing if a medical professional pronounces the condition "incurable."

But there are many examples of suffering people in Scripture - commendable examples - that refute this notion as well. Take, for example, the woman who hemorrhaged for twelve years, spending all her money on physicians, none of whom could cure her. Did she submit to "God's will" and resign herself to being sick and perhaps dying of her disease? Of course not. She did not confuse the inability of physicians to help her with the will of God. She kept seeking the desire of her heart, and this desire led her to Jesus, who cured her and who did not upbraid her for refusing for twelve years to "submit to God's will for her life." Nor does he scold her for being "outside the will of God" for twelve years.

There are many similar examples - even cases where parents of dying and dead children sought help rather than submitting to the "will of God." They sought the desire of their hearts, not even accepting imminent and present death as "God's will" for their child. Were they wrong to do so? Were they also - like the sick allegedly outside the will of God - in rebellion to the will of God? Of course not. Christ never scolds any of these people for refusing to "submit to the will of God."

In both these erroneous opinions - (1) God's will is that no Christian should be sick, and one is not submitting to God's will if one is sick; and (2) in cases of extended illness, one should submit to the will of God by recognizing it is his will that you remain sick and perhaps die of this sickness - the same serious theological mistake is being made: The mistake is an error - a presumption - of knowledge: It presumes that we can know what the will of God for the future is by reading present circumstances, and therefore know how to "submit ourselves to the will of God."

The second opinion assumes that one's present affliction indicates the ultimate outcome (which is false) - and that the Christian should submit to that anticipated outcome as if it were the "will of God." The first opinion assumes, contrary to Scripture, that the will of God is that every Christian be well, and that those who are not well are "outside God's will" and need to submit to it. In both cases - though they reach opposite conclusions, death and health - they share the presumption that one can know from present circumstances what the will of God is for the future. That simply is not true. Apart from divine propositional revelation, we cannot know what God's will and plan for the future is.

The third opinion is that one should pray for the desires of one's heart, not guessing or presuming what the will of God for the future is. That is the rule followed by the "incurable" woman, by the parents of dying and dead children in Scripture, and by many others, including Jesus himself, who prayed that this cup would pass from him, if possible. What makes Christ's case different, of course, is that, unlike us, who do not and cannot know the future, he could and did know the future - and still he prayed for the desires of his heart.

The notion that we should "submit to the will of God" when we do not and cannot know the will of God is not a Christian idea at all, but a Muslim idea. Islam means "submission," and it teaches the same error of presuming that the will of God can be known before God reveals it. In Christian theology, the proper verb is "obedience," not submission, and it is obedience to his revealed commands, not submission to an unknown (and apart from revelation, unknowable - see Deuteronomy 29:29) will of God. Psalm 37:3-6 read: "Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and feed on his faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and he shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday."

The Bible nowhere commands Christians to "submit to the will of God," precisely because we do not know that will. The Bible commands us hundreds of times to obey God's commands. We must never confuse our guesses about the future with "God's will" and piously submit to those guesses - or more likely the guesses of clerics who think they know the future. God's commands we know, because they are revealed to us in Scripture, but apart from revelation, we cannot know his will, and therefore we cannot "submit" to it, nor need we try to do so.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
John Robbins gone

I received this in an email from the Trinity Foundation:

Dear Friends,

John William Robbins (1948-2008) died at his home in Unicoi County, Tennessee on Thursday, August, 14. He was 59.

The youngest child of Seamon L. and Edith S. Robbins of Wayne County, Pennsylvania, Dr. Robbins is survived by his wife of 35 years, Linda; his three daughters, Juley Grady of Georgia, Laura Juodaitis of Tennessee, and Meri Robbins of the home; two sons-in-law, six grandchildren, two brothers, a sister, a brother-in-law, sister-in-law, five nephews, and a niece; and an uncle and aunt. He was preceded in death by his parents and several other aunts and uncles.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to either Reformation Church of Unicoi or to The Trinity Foundation, which Dr. Robbins founded and presided over for more than 30 years. The mailing address is Post Office Box 68, Unicoi, Tennessee 37692.

Funeral arrangements have been made by the Tetrick Funeral Services of 3001 Peoples Street, Johnson City, Tennessee 37602. Their telephone number is 423.610.7177. Their website is Tetrick Funeral Homes <http://www.tetrickfuneralhome.com> . Family visitation is on Sunday from 4-6 pm at Tetrick, and the Funeral will be on Monday at 2 pm.

Thanks to all for your prayers and support.

Remember that our only comfort is in Christ.

In Christ,

Tom Juodaitis
The Trinity Foundation
The Bible alone is the Word of God.
 

SolaGratia

Puritan Board Junior
One thing I learned from Mr. John W. Robbins which I am very grateful and I will never forget is the following;

"The Bible alone is the Word of God," John W. Robbins
 
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kalawine

Puritan Board Junior
Rest in peace John

:( :pray2: Let me say that I am very proud of the attitude of all you guys who have posted on this thread. I've not been a member of the PB for very long but it hasn't taken me long to see that Dr. Robbins had some pretty tough critics on the board. I do understand this and I think that the reasons varied, some I agreed with and some I didn't. I'm proud that no one on the PB has made any jokes about his passing. Please let me say that if it were not for Dr. Robbins I might never have heard of presuppositional apologetics or the laws of logic. Also, I have wondered many times if he wasn't misunderstood to some degree. His apologetic, probably 100% of the time, was a polemic apologetic. Many people can't take the polemic approach, especially if the ideas of someone they respect is the target of controversy. I actually learn more and enjoy more the polemic approach to apologetics even though I would rather listen to or read it than actually participate. Many times this is because I don't know enough about the subject to be involved.
The post that "Bawb" posted about God's will and healing is to me an article worth reading because it shows a side of the man that many of you may have never known. I have emailed John on several occasions and he has always been quick to answer any questions that I had. Once I called his home to see if I could possibly find a workbook that he had used (along with the text book by Clark) to teach his lectures on logic. His wife told me that he was too weak to come to the phone but he did send the message that he could no longer publish the work book as there was no demand for it. He was always polite yet never bending in his assault on empiricism and his stand for Clarkian apologetics. He was hard to understand for many of us because he approached apologetics with a philosopher's and a logician's mind. No matter what anyone else thinks I will miss him very much.
 

crhoades

Puritan Board Graduate
LewRockwell.com Blog: John W. Robbins, RIP

John W. Robbins, RIP

Posted by Lew Rockwell at August 14, 2008 09:36 PM
Writes Gary North:
John W. Robbins died on August 14, 2008. He was 59. He received his Ph.D. in political theory under Gottfried Dietze at Johns Hopkins University. He was awarded an M.A. from Johns Hopkins at age 21 and his Ph.D. at age 23. As an undergraduate, he studied political science and also took economics courses under Hans Sennholz at Grove City College.

Robbins was a defender of free market economics. He was disciple of Gordon H. Clark. Clark was famous as a Calvinistic philosopher. He also was an advocate of the free market. He was the author of The Christian View of Men and Things.

Robbins devoted much of his career to the republication of Clark's books. He did this through his non-profit Trinity Foundation, which he founded in 1977Robbins first came to the attention of libertarians because of his self-published book, Answer to Ayn Rand (1974). He did not object to her defense of the free market. He objected to her epistemology, which rested on atheism. He updated this and gave it a new title, Without a Prayer: Ayn Rand and the Close of Her System, an obvious reference to Bohm-Bawerk's Karl Marx and the Close of His System, the 1896 title applied to the English-language translation of his book on Marx. Robbins devoted much of his career to discussions of epistemology, religion, and atheism. In the spring of 1976, Robbins was hired by Congressman Ron Paul as his legislative assistant. Paul had been elected to Congress in a midterm election in April. He immediately hired Robbins. In June, he hired me as his research assistant. We were truly the odd couple. Robbins, as a defender of Gordon Clark, was completely hostile to Clark's chief rival, Cornelius Van Til. I am a disciple of Van Til's apologetic method, and I studied for a year under Van Til at Westminster Theological Seminary in the early 1960s. Dr. Paul had no knowledge about the rival positions that Robbins and I represented. I am not sure that he understood fully the extent of our Calvinism. He surely did not know about our rival views of epistemology.

Robbins and I and a secretary occupied a small room in the Longworth Building, far removed from Dr. Paul's main office in the same building. I never did figure out exactly where this little room fit on a map of the Longworth Building. I could get there, but I never figured out which direction I was walking. I only rarely went to the main office.

I stuck to my knitting; Robbins stuck to his. I did research on various economic issues; Robbins did research on specific pieces of legislation that were being considered by Congress. Our secretary had no understanding of Calvinism, economics, or politics. She took care of constituent complaints and requests.

The room was small. Yet, most of the time, Robbins and I did not talk to each other. Our desks were separated by a divider. We were working on separate projects. He would occasionally come to me and describe some legislative disaster that the House of Representatives was about to consider. He would ask me about what I thought concerning the legislation if it happened to deal with economics. He understood enough about Austrian School economics so that he can handle most of these questions himself.

He would then send summaries to Dr. Paul about the legislation. Anyway, that is what I assumed he did. I never got involved with the specifics of most of the legislation, unless it had something to do specifically with banking.

Robbins was tenacious. I have never known anyone more tenacious. He was a bulldog in everything he did. He would size up a piece of legislation, identify why it was tyrannical, and presumably would outline this to Dr. Paul for any speech that Dr. Paul might insert into the Congressional Record. He was not a man to compromise. So, he fit right in. Dr. Paul was never a politician to compromise, either. He still isn't.

Robbins and I left the Federal payroll in January, 1977. Dr. Paul had been defeated by 268 votes out of approximately 180,000 votes the previous November. So, Robbins and I went our separate ways. He set up the Trinity Foundation in 1977. I had already set up the Institute for Christian Economics in 1976. He later returned to Dr. Paul's staff, becoming Chief of Staff, 1981-85. I saw him again briefly at a party honoring Hans Sennholz on his retirement from teaching in 1992. He co-edited a festschrift presented to Sennholz at that meeting, A Man of Principle. I wrote an article for it.

Over the years, I would occasionally read one of his essays. Usually, it was directed against Van Til. Some people think that I am controversial. Compared to Robbins, I am a shy pussycat trying to avoid trouble.

He and I generally honored an unspoken agreement. I would not respond to anything he wrote, and he would not respond to anything I wrote. I was never particularly interested in the writings of Gordon Clark. This is not because I did not think the Clark was an intelligent philosopher. I was just not interested in the topics he usually wrote about. Robbins, in contrast, carried Clark's war against Van Til. He also had a long history of challenging other Calvinists and Arminians with equal fervency. He was an equal opportunity bulldog.

He was a strong opponent of tax-funded education. He was also a great fan of J. Gresham Machen, the founder of Westminster Theological Seminary in 1936 and a 19th century classical liberal in his economic and political views. Robbins reprinted many of Machen's articles and lectures. He assembled in one book several of Machen's essays against public education, Education, Christianity, and the State.

He did not write a book on political theory. I often wondered what he would say about the history of political theory. Of all the people I have ever known whose book on the history of political theory I would have been most likely to read, it would have been his.

The two of us did not stay in academia. I quit the only full-time teaching job I ever had at the collegiate level after one semester. I never looked back. It was one of my better decisions. He taught briefly at a small private college in Hobbs, New Mexico.

His main legacy will be the books written by Clark which he reprinted. That project absorbed much of his time and the money he raised.
 

JohnGill

Puritan Board Senior
John Robbins

Last year I had the privilege to correspond with him. He was VERY gracious to me in dealing with my questions. I appreciated that aspect. He was also VERY patient with me in answering my questions even when he was busy. When I read the thread title I thought for sure, this cannot be the John Robbins I have corresponded with. I was saddened to find out it was. He was an ardent defender of scripture. I will miss him.

I will remember his family in my prayers.
:pray2:
 

Christusregnat

Puritan Board Professor
Dear Friends,

John William Robbins (1948-2008) died at his home in Unicoi County, Tennessee on Thursday, August, 14. He was 59.

The youngest child of Seamon L. and Edith S. Robbins of Wayne County, Pennsylvania, Dr. Robbins is survived by his wife of 35 years, Linda; his three daughters, Juley Grady of Georgia, Laura Juodaitis of Tennessee, and Meri Robbins of the home; two sons-in-law, six grandchildren, two brothers, a sister, a brother-in-law, sister-in-law, five nephews, and a niece; and an uncle and aunt. He was preceded in death by his parents and several other aunts and uncles.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to either Reformation Church of Unicoi or to The Trinity Foundation, which Dr. Robbins founded and presided over for more than 30 years. The mailing address is Post Office Box 68, Unicoi, Tennessee 37692.

Funeral arrangements have been made by the Tetrick Funeral Services of 3001 Peoples Street, Johnson City, Tennessee 37602. Their telephone number is 423.610.7177. Their website is Tetrick Funeral Homes. Family visitation is on Sunday from 4-6 pm at Tetrick, and the Funeral will be on Monday at 2 pm.

Thanks to all for your prayers and support.

Remember that our only comfort is in Christ.

In Christ,

Tom Juodaitis
The Trinity Foundation
The Bible alone is the Word of God.

If anyone has tracked anything I've said on the PB, you would probably think I'm van Tilian. I'm not. Why? John Robbins.

I cut my teeth on Gordon Clark's writings in the late '90s, and have since been a generally faithful disciple of Clark. Robbins impacted my life in a fundamental and life-long way: he introduced me to Christian philosophy. Thank you John; you will be missed.

Cheers,

Adam
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
I'm glad for Robbins's positive contributions to theology and the church, but his weird obsession with the Gordon Clark/Cornelius Van Til "feud," leading to his bitter denials of Van Til's theological accomplishments, along with his rather obvious contempt for the OPC (because of Van Til) surely won't be missed.

A talented and gifted man, but a very odd duck - as a friend of mine put it to me when I announced the news to him.
 
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