Saturday, February 27, 2010

Assumptions

In order to turn the entirety of the Bible into law - or even just the parts that you want to turn into law - by way of the "C.E.N.I" (command, example, necessary inference) hermeneutic, you have to make some assumptions.

  • That the Bible is meant to be read as law
  • That we cannot know the mind of God except through scripture.
  • That all or most imperatives are intended as commands
  • That imperatives are meant for everyone in every era in every circumstance
  • That imperatives are from God even if they are issued by a Biblical character
  • That only one interpretation of an imperative can be correct and is therefore clear
  • That all or most examples are "good" examples
  • That all or most examples are intended as commands
  • That examples are meant to describe something God intends for everyone in every era in every circumstance to follow
  • That all or most activities inferred are intended as commands
  • That inferences are necessary
  • That inferences are indisputable
  • That inferences are meant to include everyone in every era in every circumstance
  • That imperatives having to do with gathered worship (e.g., "do not forsake the assembly ...") affect one's salvation and must be emphasized; that other imperatives (e.g., "sell your possessions and give to the poor") do not affect one's salvation and need not be emphasized
  • That, after being given Christ as a living example, we need more laws than have already been revealed before His arrival rather than fewer
  • That law has not been superceded by Christ's grace
  • That law is still required as a schoolmaster/guardian/pedagogue
  • That words/phrases translated "law" and/or "the law" in the New Testament always refer to the law of Moses
  • That ignorance of God's will is no excuse and God will not forgive it.
  • That God's justice in scripture is uncontaminated by mercy and can therefore be consistently predicted to be judgmental and condemning (e.g., that God would have sunk the ark and drowned every creature aboard her if Noah had used - even if by mistake - any other wood than "gopher wood.")
  • That scriptures which seem to contradict these principles are irrelevant and must be ignored or can logically and clearly be shown to be irrelevant.

If you further interpret the resulting laws through the regulative principle (or "law of silence"), you have to make even more assumptions:

  • That any given action is either prohibited or commanded by scripture; there are no practices about which God does not care and does not express preference
  • That there are no longer any disputable matters, as the principle of silence covers all unspoken commands
  • That the silence of God in scripture on any given practice is prohibitive
  • That there must be exceptions to the principle of silence, as there are unspoken commands which clearly carry no harm nor detriment and may assist in obeying other commands
  • That these exceptions are included in the principle of expedience
  • That these two principles (regulative/silence and expedience), never explicitly commanded, exemplified or implied by scripture, are not prohibited by the silence of scripture regarding them

My.

That's a lot of assumptions.

What does that old schoolyard proverb say? That when we "ASSUME," it makes something-or-other of "U" and "ME" ...?

3 comments:

John said...

It would seem that if one assumes there are no laws that:
obedience can be whatever one wants it to be
God did not author a book that leads to unity
yet God has commanded unity
one cannot use the Bible to achieve unity
and on and on

Keith Brenton said...

John, I don't know anyone - including myself - who assumes that the Bible contains no laws.

I just believe it's dangerous to make laws out of scripture that aren't laws ... our out of things that aren't even in scripture. It's presumptuous. It pretends Godhood.

It's not wise to assume that there's only two ways to look at scripture: That it's either all law, or no law at all.

Some of it is.

Some of it ain't.

Kevin Harper said...

Good post, Keith.

I've written about this as well:

http://www.gospelunion.com/2007/05/11/the-law-of-silence-in-scripture/

http://www.gospelunion.com/2006/07/09/the-flaw-of-silence/

God bless!

--Kevin