Friday, November 06, 2009

Why do anti-household baptists reject the apostolic method of interpreting Scripture?

It is very evident that the apostles follow Christ in his method of good and necessary consequences in interpreting Scripture.

In Acts 2:25-32, Peter argues for the resurrection of Christ from Psalm 16 a passage which does not state the resurrection of Christ. Peter infers that since David died and remains dead he must be prophesying about Christ and his resurrection in Psalm 16. Paul did similarly in Acts 13 in drawing inferences out of Psalm 2 and Psalm 16:10 concerning the resurrection. The reference to the second psalm is similar to Paul's statement in Romans 1:4, that Christ was declared to be the Son of God with power, by the resurrection from the dead. This is an inference, however. Paul also quotes Isaiah 55:3 'I will give you the sure mercies of David'. We may ask how do these words prove the resurrection of Christ? They presuppose it but do not state it. The reasoning is that since an eternal kingdom was promised to David, the Son of David who would be Ruler of this kingdom could not remain under the power of death.

Paul proved that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, by reasoning with the Jews out of the Old Testament Scriptures Acts 17: 2-3. He 'reasoned with them out of the scriptures, Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ'. This was a reasoning process, drawing good and necessary consequences and connecting them with Christ. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul brings together passages that reflect the resurrection obliquely. For instance in v27 he infers from Psalm 8:6 that since all things are put under Christ's feet, death must also be put under his feet. In verse 45 he quotes Genesis 2:7 that Adam was made a living soul in order to develop the doctrine that we shall have resurrected spiritual bodies.

Paul defends the right of ministers to payment in 1 Cor. 9:9 by quoting Deut. 25:4 which forbids muzzling an ox treading corn. The principle is drawn that the labourer is worthy of his hire. In verse 13 he refers to the scriptural provision for the priests to eat of the sacrifices and infers that v14 'Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel'.

In 1 Cor. 10:26, he quotes Ps. 24:1 to support the practice of buying meat without asking questions since the Christian has a free use of all creatures because all belong ultimately to the Lord. This is obviously an inference.

Heb.1:6 proves that Christ is greater than the angels and divine by the fact that Psalm 97:7 includes an instruction to the angels to worship him. The verse says nothing of the divinity of Christ, this must be inferred.

Without entering into the details it ought to be obvious that the way that Paul reasons using the Old Testament Scriptures concerning justification by faith in Romans and Galatians depends upon good and necessary consequence.

The claim has been that those who defend good and necessary consequence are undermining the sufficiency of Scripture. Does Christ do this when he practices it? Or do the apostles? Nay, rather we establish the sufficiency of Scripture. Good and necessary consequence shows how far the Scriptures are sufficient rather than limiting them and allowing human ideas to take over completely where we must do something but cannot find an explicit command. “All Scripture” is declared to be “profitable for doctrine, for reproof; for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Tim. 3:15-17. These purposes cannot be obtained without good and necessary consequences, however. "Legitimate consequences, indeed, only bring out the full meaning of the words of Scripture; and as we are endued with the faculty of reason, and commanded to search the Scriptures, it was manifestly intended that we should draw conclusions from what is therein set down in express words" (Thomas Boston). If we are forbidden to make such consequences, then cannot apply or use Scripture at all – only read it.