“Hold Fast Our Confidence”!

Adult Bible Study Fall Quarter 1997

1. Transparency 3/1 “Confidence IS possible!” We live in an age
where certainty about anything is questioned. This questioning is good, but our present society says that since all is “questionable” then there can be no absolute conclusions. The consequence of this philosophy is that nothing is certain and no one should insist on any definites but all should be left to determine for themselves what they should do. 

 1. This philosophy has a dramatic impact upon modern Christians. All who hold a determined stand are viewed negatively.
 2. 27 August 1997 The News Enterprise letters to the editor section had a letter from a man condemning all who criticized homosexual activities. He concluded his letter saying that “morality should not be legislated.” (See enclosed copy)
 3. In our modern times it is not wrong to question any virtues
or values. All are “fair game” and the more one can cast doubts upon their validity, the more we are ready to equivocate the time honored respect these have held in our culture.
 4. No where else has this abolishing of time-honored respect
seen greater emphasis than in the religious realm. A universal cry arises from our society saying, “No one can KNOW absolutely! No one has the RIGHT to be legalistic! No one OUGHT to tell someone else how to live and believe!”
 5. However, the Scriptures defy this prevailing cynicism by asserting that one CAN KNOW what is right; one CAN EXHORT others to change; one IS OBLIGATED to speak up and address the wrongs! Cf. 1 Jn 5:13; Pr 14:12; Jer 10:23; 2 Ti 3:16-4:5; etc.
 6. Christians need to find comfort in this confidence. This series
of lessons is designed to instill this confidence and offer a wonderful comfort to believers. Instead of being toss aimlessly by the cynical questioning of the world, believers can find peace, joy, and happiness! (Ps 119:165; Ep 4:14).
 7. The scope of our study is designed to examine areas where
  cynical questioning has eroded confidence.
  a. Bible Study -- “How can I study so I can KNOW what is God’s  will for my life?”
  b. Beliefs In Religious Practice -- “Why is it so difficult to be  confident in religious beliefs today?”
  c. Religious Authority -- “What is the basis for religious beliefs  and practices?  Who is really THE BOSS in religion?”
  d. God -- “How does God fit into our modern religious needs?”
  e. Morality -- “Is there such a thing as an ‘absolute’ right or  wrong?”
  f. Salvation -- “How can I KNOW for sure I am saved? I feel I can  never ‘do’ enough to please God!”
  g. Worship -- “Is the way we worship really important to God?  How do our ‘traditions’ qualify as God’s laws?”

2. Transparency 3/2 “Presuppositions Of Our Series”  As we begin
this series, there needs to be an understanding of certain presuppositions which undergird the lessons to be discussed. Although these points face unparalleled cynicism, they have stood the scrutiny of generations who sought to disprove them. Because the class cannot deal with these points (due to time restraints), we state them as actual fact (their validity has been amply demonstrated).

 a. The Bible (the Old Testament and New Testament) is God's inspired Word. Combined they are the revelation of divine wisdom to man and the basis for man's obedience to God. As such The Bible must be studied so we can understand God's will and obey it to gain God's blessings.

 b. The Bible alone supplies God's will for man. It is complete. There is no need for private revelations from the Holy Spirit.

 c. The Bible can be understood when it explains God's will to modern man. We can KNOW what God requires from us. 

 d. God's will in the Bible for modern man is found in the New
Testament. Although culture, custom, and civilization changes, God's will is immutable and is as binding today as when it was first written.

 e. Therefore, anything that pertains to a change in the immutable will of God is sinful. Those areas which pertain to custom, culture, or national civilizations can and must change.

 f. Therefore, God has written the Bible in such a manner we can
discern which things should change and which things should NEVER change! Or else, our response to God will be confused and lead to inconsistency, despair, and inevitable ruin! If God’s will cannot be known, then the cynicism of our day conquers and all hope is abolished! (Cf. 1 Co 15:19). 

3. Why is the believer’s confidence in peril today? What is there  that fuels the destructive fire that destroys hope and joy?  Transparency 3/3
 a. Spiritual immaturity and ignorance of believers who have not
developed in their Faith as they should (cf. Hb 5:11ff). Some have sought God’s salvation but failed to commit their hearts to His will. They seek a comfortable religion that offers all of the answers while requiring no sacrifice or involvement. This comfortable course allows them to “practice” religion but fails to offer them a solid foundation of assurance! (Cf. 1 Co 15:58; 2 Ti 2:14-26).

 b. There are justified questions of real or perceived inconsisten-
cies in our practice. There are certain things that are done that have no biblical basis. When asked for Scriptural justification for these many become embarrassed and then allow the cynical questioning to disallow practices that are biblical (cf. 1 Pt 3:15).

 c. Ritual and formalism that has resulted when we follow the
right way yet fail to possess the right attitudes. Many have practiced religious acts with insensitivity. Instead of the acts expressing devotion they have led us into a religion of ritualism that is disgusting to God (cf. Mt 15:7ff; Jn 4:24ff; Hb 10:19ff).

 d. The influence of our "changing" culture. The environment of
our day has dramatically changed the way religious convictions are viewed. We live in a pluralistic culture that is more pagan than Christian! The pluralism of society has “leavened” the consecration/commitment of believers (cf. Ro 12:1-2). Note: More will be discussed on this point in the next lesson. Pluralism is THE cause for our lost confidence!

 e. An unwillingness to discuss the reasons why and foundations
for our religious practices -- we assume all understand why we do what we do, yet many are ignorant. The unwillingness to explain the "whys" is a turn-off to sincere seekers. This leads to a justified charge of "dogmatism." Many believers really do not know why they do what they do! Confidence result from conviction that is founded upon understanding (cf. Ps 27:3; 2 Co 5:6-20; Ac 28:31; etc.).

 f. A failure to understand the distinctiveness of the believers in
the New Testament. Failing to recognize this we err as ancient Israel in wanting to be as the other nations surrounding her -- we are "embarrassed" to be different (cf. 2 Co 6:14-18). There appears to be a greater desire to assimilate into the pluralism of society than to stand confidently apart from it! This love for the world steals the joy of our salvation (cf. 1 Pt 1:13-24; 2:9-12).

 g. A deliberate disregard for God's will (i.e. the "maturing" of
the revolutionary counter-culture of the 60's has now grown up to hold an influential post). We thus see "pride" rearing its ugly head as we seek selfishness. The “anti-establishment” radical has always rejected self-denial. That attitude has now spread throughout society and consequently many today refuse to submit to any authority! The general populace lives by a practical anarchy (cf. Jud 21:25).  This means that the general attitude is one of rejection of biblical authority rather than submission to it!

 h. An ignorant pursuit of "Church Growth." We want to do whatever we can to entice people to come. This means that we are deceived into directing our teaching/preaching on a commercialism rather than commitment to teach with all authority because many are unwilling to sit and listen to God’s Truth (cf. 2 Ti 4:1-5). Believers have been duped into keeping their confidence “silent” so they will not adversely impact church growth by being “legalists.”

“The church on the brink of the twenty-first century stands at a pivotal moment in history. As Christians who live on the cutting edge of a brave new world, we must stretch our thinking like never before. Tired rhetoric will no longer win the day; nor dead traditionalism; not an enthusiastic infusion of the world’s standards. ‘Back to the Bible’ is still the right call, and back to the God of the Bible an even greater challenge -- especially for the cultural church” (F. LaGuard Smith, The Cultural Church: Winds of change and the call for a “new hermeneutic. Nashville, TN: 20th Century Christian, 1992, 22).

4. Transparency 3/4 Quote on “pattern” theology.  Throughout the years of religious controversy there has never been any issue discussed that did not focus upon this simple question: "Does Scripture provide a PATTERN for believers to obey and hence be acceptable to God?"
 a. This question is the "heart" of the matter.  Possessing a “pattern” of the correct task, provides one with supreme confidence.

 b. If the Scripture provides God's "pattern" for us to follow, we
have the ultimate confidence that THIS is exactly how God wants us to obey Him. We may not "like" the pattern, but unless we follow that pattern we will not be pleasing to God!

 c. If Scripture does not provide a "pattern" for us to follow we
are free to obey God however we choose. But if the Scripture is not a "pattern" for us to follow, what is it? How are we to know God's will for our lives?

5. Transparency 3/5 “Two Thoughts In Conflict” The question of
"pattern authority" is actually the consequence of our philosophical choices. There are two basic philosophies regarding Scripture -- it either provides a reasoned, consistent, logical standard that is objective and must be obeyed, OR it provides a "general guideline" of abstract instructions that are fluid, ever-changing.  One philosophy provides stability (confidence), the other is whimsical. One provides hope while the other provides hopelessness! 
 a. Many today are challenging the philosophy which views Scrip-
ture as an objective pattern. “Rigid patternism ... is directly contrary to Scripture” (Quote of Randy Fenter, IMAGE, Aug. 1989, pp. 9,10,31, Sept. 1989 pp. 8-11 used by J.D. Thomas, Harmonizing Hermeneutics, Nashville, TN: The Gospel Advocate., Co., 1991, p. 37). Why will one oppose the biblical patterns?
  1) They oppose "reason" in favor of irrationalism (intuition;  feelings). 

  2) They seek to offer us a "new" approach, a "new" beginning  point, a "new" spiritual emphasis on communion, baptism,  and Church membership.

  3) They view Scripture not as a "blueprint, or rule book, or  constitution but as a special "narrative" with an accent on the historical and cultural.

  4) They tell us that God's will can be known better by reading  the "core" facts rather than by a pattern authority derived  through reasoning and study.

  5) The final analysis is that there are absolutely no absolute
practices (examples) in the New Testament that provide a "pattern" for us to follow today! They contend that there is no practice, example, behavior of the early Church binding on modern saints! Therefore, one can practice religious actions within the structure they choose. However this conclusion erases all confidence from those practicing their Faith for they have no certainty that what they are doing is correct.

 b. The "pattern authority" of Scripture is clearly upheld. As such
its "patterns" (examples, practices) must be followed even in our "modern" times.

  1) Transparency 3/6 “Pattern In The Bible” Goebel Music, Behold The Pattern, p. 38ff, lists the practical meaning of the Greek term TUPOS. The Greek term is translated as "pattern, type, or example" in the Scripture. Notice how Bible scholars have consistently viewed this term and thus reveal that it does communicate a binding duty upon believers.
  a) The teaching which embodies the sum and substance of  religion and represents it to the mind.

  b) The pattern in conformity to which a thing must be  made.

  c) Pattern of reading.

  d) An example to be imitated, a model, a pattern.

  e) A formula, a scheme, a form and a pattern.

  f) It is used both in a "moral sense" and in a "doctrinal  sense."

  g) The original pattern, model, mold, type, figure, a  system, a form of doctrine.

  h) The gospel is the mold; those who are obedient to its  teachings become conformed to Christ.

  I) The singular looks at the church as a whole, the plural as  individuals.

  j) A pattern, of faith, expressed in sound words. 

  k) The ideal or pattern presented by the gospel. 

  l) A fact of spiritual truth.

  m) Christian teaching as a mold and norm.

  n) Both the term and the context says it is a model which  makes an impress because it is molded by God.

  o) Form of doctrine, form of teaching. 

  p) In context, the teaching can be described as the model  and norm which shapes the whole personal conduct of  the one who is delivered up to it and has become  obedient thereto. 

  q) An example to be copied.

  2) Brother Music's exhaustive study revealed these facts show
that a "pattern authority" is found in Scripture and is thus binding on believers today (Music, p. 46-73). Transparency 3/7 “A Pattern Authority Is Found In Scripture!”

  a) In the Old Testament we find "pattern authority."

  1) "According to" obligated pattern authority (cf. Gn
6:22; 7:5; Ex 31:1; 32:28; 1 Ki 17:1,5,15, 16; 2 Ki 5:14; etc.).  "Is it imperative, I mean is it obligatory, mandatory and magisterial that 'I' do exactly, precisely, to the letter, word for word, line fir line, yea, perfectly, 'according to' what 'is written'?" (Music, p.  53; cf. Jere 11:1-4; 42:20-22).
  2) It was "according to" that Noah's ark was built. Noah  had a "pattern" (Gn 6:22).
  3) It was "according to" that Moses molded the Taber-
nacle (Ex 25:8,9,40). Moses had a pattern and he followed it (Ex 40:16; Hb 8:5).
  4) It was "according to" that the Temple was built (1  Chron 28:11-12,13-18; 28:20).
  5) According to a pattern of "action" Jericho fell (Josh  6:3). Following this  pattern brought reward (Hb 11:30).
  6) According to a "pattern of authority" Naaman was  healed (2 Ki 5:1-14). Note: The validity of the OT  examples is applicable to Christians (Ro 15:4).

  b) In the New Testament we find "pattern authority." 

  1) "According to" is found about 127 times. The New  Testament authors approved of pattern authority and  followed it.
  2) "According to" is still the pattern (Ac 3:22; Ro 16:25; 1  Co 3:10; 2 Co 13:10; Ep 3:10-11; 1 Ti 6:3; etc.).
  3) What can we learn from this "pattern authority" of the  New Testament? Brother Music lists 21 conclusions (p.  65-66). Read his list.
  c) The New Testament provides the "pattern authority"  which all today are obligated to follow.
  1) It is absurd to think God gave a pattern for those in  the Old Testament and New Testament days to follow  but does not expect us to follow a "pattern." Would  He leave us without patterns for obedience? (Music,  p. 67a).

  2) The obligatory "pattern" of the New Testament for modern man is found in these points. Transparency 3/8  “The Obligatory Pattern Of The Bible Applies To All!”

  a) There is a "way" we must walk in order to please God  (2 Co 5:7; Ro 10:17).

  b) There is a point to which we cannot go beyond and  please God (1 Co 4:6; Jn 12:48).

  c) There is a warning abt what has been written (2 Jn  9-11; Gal 1:6-8; Rv 22:18-19).

  d) There is a New Testament to follow (Hb 9:15-17; 8:8,13).

  e) There is a standard which pronounces some "false  teachers" (Ro 16:17; 1 Jn 4:1).

  f) There is the need to "prove" what is "right" (Col 3:17;  2 Ti 2:2; Jn 8:29; 1 Jn 3:22).

  g) There is but "one" right way (Mt 7:13-14; Jn 14:6; Jere  6:16; 10:23; Ps 119:9)

  3) Hence, the conclusion is simple -- God has revealed the
pattern for us to follow and this will rule and guide us in doing what God has commanded. When we do exactly what God commands then we will have confidence and comfort in the Scriptures! (Cf. Ro 15:4).
6. As one observes this contrast between philosophical ideas and
their bearing on how Scripture applies, it is hard to understand why some will contend that there is no "obligatory pattern" for man to follow. Such will only lead to despair and religious anarchy. Who will decide what is the "best" way to follow God if "pattern authority" is eliminated? Ultimately it will be up to "self" to decide! 

7. Transparency 3/9 “The Pattern Problem”  The validity of Scrip-
ture being the authority and viable pattern for our obedience results from considering the "pattern problem."

 a. Basically - "Are WE (in modern times) bound to follow the  practices, examples, teachings, and activities of the New  Testament Church in order to please God?"

 b. Implications if this "pattern authority" is correct: 

  1) We must do exactly as they did in the New Testament.

  2) We will not be saved if we do not do exactly.

  3) If one teaches that the pattern of the New Testament is not necessary, s/he is teaching error.

8. Transparency 3/10 “Only Two Alternatives”  As "pattern author- ity” is discussed we see there are only two real alternatives :

 a. We will reject the "patterns" of the New Testament and  accept the confused suggestions of our ever-changing cul-  ture. In so doing we will accept a position that . . .
  1) Rejects any reasoned response to God's will.

  2) Fails to classify what we must do to be saved (no specifics  are ever given).

  3) Repudiates the need for facts, ridicules the logic of factual  reasoning, and trusts in emotions (Read Smith, The Cultural  Church, p. 42).

  4) Does not present a concise statement of what is sought.  We will follow an "existential, subjective, nebulous, com-  pletely unstructured and unsystematic" program (Thomas,  Harmonizing Hermeneutics, p. 81).

  5) Encourages a utilitarian religious ethic that asks, "What  works?" and permits anything and destroys all that pre-  vents excess and sin (Cite Smith's 2 examples, p. 80-81 as he  uses this utilitarian ethic to ask, “What will keep our  Youth?”  “What will keep our women?”).

  6) Undermines the authority of Scripture in all areas. “When  you undermine the authority of Scripture in order to re-  solve any one particular doctrinal issue, you undermine it  on every front, whether it be ‘secondary’ matters like the  work and worship of the church, or even the ‘core mes-  sage’ of the gospel. Credibility has its own ‘domino effect’”  (Smith p. 88a, The Cultural Church. See p. 89 last paragraph).

  7) Denies that any objective "Truth" is possible. 

a. We will accept that the "pattern" of the New Testament is ap-  plicable and that this inspired “pattern” is the ONLY means by  which our confidence can stand secure.
  1) We recognize that some "patterns" are not authoritative  but others are. We know that certain matters are not ad-  dressed with pattern, but others are and we have a divine  command.

  2) We will use New Testament patterns to keep us from com-  promising divine principles and living so as to impact  society. 

  3) We will know that the Scriptures speak to man today. The  current issues may not be specifically addressed but there  will be principles in the patterns to help us know.

  4) We will remain confident in the face of chaos because the  New Testament "pattern authority" gives us a solid founda-  tion for our faith.

9. Transparency 3/11 “Book, Chapter, And Verse Hermeneutic!”
Consider how the pattern of “book, chapter, and verse” biblical patterns offer believers great confidence. This is the "old method that has characterized churches of Christ for decades. It calls upon specific "book, chapter, and verse" for mandates in worship and practice. If such can be provided it is suggested there is no option but compliance. This method historically leans upon a study of the Scriptures utilizing reason/logic. From the study of various texts one finds biblical authority for Christian work and worship under three general categories -- direct commands, approved examples, and necessary inferences. Any work/belief/practice that is not supported by this formula is left as a matter of opinion. Any work/belief/practice that conflicts with Scriptural conclusion based upon this formula is regarded as "unauthorized" and "going beyond" approved Scriptural limits.

Transparency 3/12 “Admirable Qualities Of This ‘Old Formula’” There are a number of admirable qualities regarding this "old hermeneutic" that deserves mentioning. 

 a. It upholds the integrity of Scripture to be our final authority  in religious issues.

 b. It has historical validity as a method that is proven effective
in discerning God's will. It has historical validity as a method used by other religious groups as they sought to follow only God's will (See Smith p. 43). Thus it is not "exclusively church of Christ tradition."

 c. It focuses upon an objective standard (the written Word)  rather than upon a subjective basis (feelings, intuition,  emotions) or a fluid standard (cultural norms).

 d. It engenders a confident respect for the written Word as an  inspired revelation from God that is adequate in giving all  directions/guidance to our spiritual lives.

 e. It is void of a creedial confession or doctrinal dogma for it
calls for a fresh investigation of Scripture without prior conclusions. It thus calls us to "freedom" from man's creeds. It forces us to examine all beliefs/practices/doctrines with Scripture. Thus we should find freedom from traditional bonds!

 f. It focuses upon "patterns" in The Scripture as guidelines (blue-  prints) for conforming to God's Will.

Transparency 3/13 “Some Failings Of The ‘Old Method’” There are some failings of the "old hermeneutic." These urge caution in its application
 a. It has been used to decide the outward forms (i.e. organization of the Church, acts of worship, obedience required,  etc.) and failed to apply Scripture to holiness of character. It  has been used to stress models of outward conformity rather  than models of holy sanctification.

 b. It has become "stale" in its application and consequently we bondage to "traditional" views instead of the liberty/freedom  of honest study.

 c. It has limited our concepts and teaching regarding discipleship and servanthood because we have stressed doctrinal  measures that must be maintained to the exclusion of "heart"  matters as consecration and devotion.

 d. It has been stressed as the exclusive formula for Scripture  interpretation, thus frowning upon other viable/legitimate  avenues.

 e. It has been used as a "battering ram" to coerce rather than a
"light house" to guide people to the Truth. We have seen it relentlessly used to back people into a corner and they have chosen error as an alternative to "legalism." Instead we should utilize it to explain the beauty of understanding and knowing God's will.

 f. Its use has led some to view our teaching/preaching as placing
a greater emphasis upon Acts/Eps rather than the Gospels. The stress upon worship and church organization appears to some that we have relegated the Gospels to a "secondary" category.

 g. Some claim it led to the unwise and abusive practice of "pro-
of-texting." In this procedure a few selected verses are "taken from context" and used to support "our traditional views." Those thus objecting to the "old hermeneutic" view any proof-texting as a "narrow, legalistic, argumentative presentation of traditional doctrine." It is important to note that the practice of proof-texting is NOT wrong. In fact it was utilized by our Lord!

CONCLUDING THOUGHT: Regardless of the criticism, the "old hermeneutic" is the one method that is best able to lead us to an understanding of God's will. It is not perfect. It is not complete. It is not all-inclusive in its ability. But, it is the one method which upholds Scriptural authority and mandates biblical practices.  Smith's observation is quite accurate (p. 44).

10. With what then are we left as to the method/formula for un-
erstanding God's Word in our modern age? How can we come to a CONFIDENT assurance of what the Bible teaches?

 a. Transparency 3/14 “A Suggested Study Perspective” Let me
suggest that a proper understanding will occur if we take the useful elements of acceptable methods and utilize them in our study of Holy Scripture.

 b. Such a study perspective will include: 

  1) A firm understanding and conviction of Scripture's inspira-  tion.

  2) An understanding of historical circumstances surrounding  the text.

  3) A rigorous exercise applying all available technology and  knowledge regarding the grammar, syntax, and accom-  panying linguistic rules.

  4) A thorough "fact finding" investigation where every possi-
bility is researched and considered. "Truly objective and fair scholarship calls for listing all the possible alternatives to each decision, then fairly trying each in the context, without bias or undue dependence on one's own traditional background."

  5) A penchant for consistent application of one's findings so  that each part compliments the whole!

  6) A comparative research of one's findings with others who  have studied the text. This will involve the use of commen-  taries, research papers, and journals. 

  7) A willingness to yield one's conclusions to the weight of  Truth's consistency once studied conclusions are reached.  One must thus guard against personal bias preventing the  acceptance of biblically established conclusions from being  followed and enjoined!

10. Transparency 3/15 “Questions To Ponder As We Strive To
Understand God’s Will For Us”  In applying these criteria to biblical study we will arrive at an understanding of how Scripture applies to our lives. This application will be conclusive because it is based upon a reasoned study and guarded from relativism and subjective bias. We will come to obey God's commands as we ask these significant and revealing questions about the text.
 a. What is the original purpose of the text?  This will reveal
what the Scriptures meant to their original audience. (Cite Smith p. 153b,154)

 b. How does this text impact our present situation in life?  This
is the realm where we discern which commands are applicable to modern man. All "commands" in Scripture are not equal for some are restricted to a group, culture, or city while others are universal in scope. The "key" to deciding which falls into which category is to determine the guiding "principle" of each. This will eliminate the confusion of some (i.e. holy kiss, veils, etc.). Looking for "principles" elevates our  obedience from mere formalism to a matter of the heart (Jere 31:31-34). This does not eliminate the force of specific biblical commands, but it assures us that we will obey the command from the "heart" rather than from mere form. 

  1) Notice Smith's examples, p. 159

  2) In obeying the command via understanding of the prin-  ciple behind it one will be motivated to greater devotion  and service.

 c. Does the text in question present us w/an example that is
authoritative?  Is a precedent setting event documented by the text? In establishing an example of the NT as a "binding" practice/belief/doctrine, the following are critical (cf. Smith 166-167).

  1) Does it present justifiable reliance for man today? It must
have some rule/principle for behavior today. If some spiritual law is already fixed this issue is decided (i.e. partaking the Lord's Supper every Sunday).

  2) Does it have universal application? If a practice was limited
it is unlikely that it is a precedent for us today (i.e. Paul's vow and the shaving of his head).

  3) Does it represent stability over time. Practices that have re-
cent beginnings are suspect. Practices that were accepted in one area but rejected in another are suspect (i.e. mechanical music).

  4) Does it lack clear precedents in Scripture? If it is not sup-  ported, it is suspect. 

  5) Does it present a coherent, consistent teaching? If it leads  to an inconsistent belief/practice/doctrine it cannot be  true.

11. Transparency 3/16 “What Do You Do With Examples In The
Text?” The issue of whether New Testament practices (examples) are binding is addressed by noting they can be divided into four basic groups.
 a. Accept both the practice and the principle (i.e. baptism).

 b. Reject the practice, but retain the principle (i.e. foot wash-  ing).

 c. Adapt a practice in order to preserve a principle (i.e. meeting  at midnight to partake Communion).

 d. Reject both the practice and the principle because of some  overriding reason (i.e. miraculous spiritual gifts).

12. Concluding Summary -- Go back to Transparency 3/1 "Confi-
dence Is Possible!" The answer is a resounding "Yes!" (cf. Ep 3:1-5).  Can all understand the Bible alike? Again the answer is an unequivocal "Yes!" God wants us to know His will and that is very possible when we select a hermeneutic that will exalt the authority of Scripture, de-emphasize subjectiveness and relativism in application. The "old hermeneutic" is still the best way to "know" God's will when it is applied consistently and without bias! The "new hermeneutic," that advocates a fluid philosophy in religious beliefs/practices, is alluring but it must be recognized as an invitation to compromise.

 a. It proposes some positive factors (see Thomas, p. 79). 

 b. It subtly brings in grave problems.

  1) Changing reason for feelings as the director of our faith
(Bill Love, The Core Gospel: On Restoring The Crux Of The Matter, Abilene, TX; ACU Press, 1992, p. 79ff presents the “change philosophy” that advocates casting aside the book, chapter, and verse patterns; cf. Thomas p. 27,12).

  2) Contends that we must place our imagination upon equal
  level w/studied facts (Love, p. 75,78,80).

  3) Allows the culture of the 20th Century to interpret the cul-
ture of the first Century (i.e. Political Correctness, Fairness, Equality of gender roles, concepts of authority, personal rights to choose, etc.).

 c. There is thus no real "choice"; no real option. The "new" seeks
to reconstruct "Truth" and thus destroy biblical authority and ultimately replaces Inspiration with "story" and then "myth." 

 d. The tragic end is forewarned by Scripture -- Ep 4:14,15; 1 Ti  4:1-2; 2 Ti 4:1-4.

The following is the Text used in the Overhead Transparencies:

Is “Confidence”  Possible?

Transparency 3/1

Presuppositions Of The Series

The Bible IS Inspired!

The Bible IS Sufficient!

The Bible IS Understandable!

The Bible IS Complete!

The Bible IS Immutable!

Man has the ability to discern!


Transparency 3/2
Why Is Confidence Absent? 





Stubbornness To Discuss

God’s Distinctiveness Is Lost

Scriptures Are Rejected

Unwise Pursuit Of “Growth”


Transparency 3/3

Does Scripture provide a “pattern” for believers to obey and be acceptable to God?

Transparency 3/4 

Two Thoughts In Conflict

Scripture DOES NOT present an objective “pattern” for modern

Scripture DOES present “patterns” and man must follow then to be 


Transparency 3/5

“PATTERN” In The Bible
The most common word is TUPOS which refers to form, example, pattern, etc. Its usage includes these concepts:

Conformity required

Pattern of teaching

Imitation of model,
example, scheme,
system, form of

A pattern of faith; the idea presented by the gospel

An example to be copied

Some Failings Of The “Old” Method
Some object to the old” method by charging it with these failings ...

Outward not inward focus

Is “stale” application

Limited servanthood stress

Exclusive study formula

Used to coerce

More stress upon Acts/Eps than the Gospels

Led to “unwise use of proof-texting”

Copyright 1999 by John L. Kachelman Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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