The True Hermeneutic of the Church

Contra_Mundum on the Puritan Board:

We would expect the Bible itself to contain further directions, hints, and clues as to growing in appreciation of its message. As a complex book, there could be doubts as to its overall coherence. This raises the question of how the Bible was put together; is it a haphazard collection, more a product of time and accident? Or is it a deliberate collection, brought together on some principle of unity (even if one does not grasp it)? If one has found (has been given) an accurate orientation to it, then its coherence seems to show itself effortlessly in major things; and rewards further investigation on more obscure/minor things.

One of the major helps to judging the overall coherence of the Bible (developing a faithful hermeneutic) is finding how later human authors within the Bible express their understanding of previous revelation. Later OT writers express an “authoritative” interpretation of previous writers, beginning with Moses. We take it on faith (again, as a presupposition) that any purported prophet of a later era, who spoke “not according to this word,” was regarded by believers and preservers of the sacred text as unreliable. His word was not preserved, nor included in the growth of the canon.

This idea is extended into the NT/Apostolic age. Jesus’ interpretation is definitive, he is the Prophet par excellence, the One Moses commanded Israel not to miss or despise. He explained the OT entirely in reference to himself as the Chief Fulfillment. And so also labor the apostles to express the same in their Acts and epistles. The hermeneutic of the apostles becomes the true hermeneutic of the church. It gains an early, almost childlike expression in “the rule of faith,” the so-called “Apostles’ Creed.” This is the lens by which the Bible is to be interpreted, and the Bible is the judge of the church’s teaching.

Source:, Comment 3


This would be a Great Reformer

Hugh Binning, Works, p. 402:

Why doth not this word of the Lord return with more fruit? Why do not men tremble or rejoice at it? Certainly, because it is not received as God’s word. There is a practical heresy in our hearts, which rather may be called atheism – we do not believe the Scriptures. I do not say men call it in question; but I say, ye believe them not. It is one thing to believe with the heart, another thing not to doubt of it. Ye doubt not of it, not because ye do indeed believe it, but because ye do not at all consider it. It is one thing to confess with the mouth, and another thing to believe with the heart; for ye confess the Scriptures to be God’s word, not because ye believe them, but because ye have received such a tradition from your fathers, have heard it from the womb unquestioned. O that this were engraven on your heart, – that these commands, these curses, these promises are divine truths, the words and the oath of the Holy One! If every word of truth came stamped with his authority, and were received in the name of God himself, what influence would it have on the spirits and the practices of men? This would be a great reformer.


Opposition Never Fails Immediately To Arise

Rev. Dr. Samuel Miller, October 13, 1826:

II Corinthians X.4.

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.

As long as man retained his primitive innocence, he loved truth, and was ever ready to give it a cordial welcome. But the moment he fell from God and from holiness, truth became painful, and, of course, odious to him. He felt that he could no longer listen to it as a friend, speaking peace; but must henceforth regard it as an enemy, which could deliver no other than a hostile message. Accordingly, when we read that the holy and happy tenants of Eden had become rebels by eating the interdicted fruit, the next thing we read of is, that, on hearing the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden they hid themselves from the presence of the Lord among the trees of the garden. And the Lord called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, and I hid myself.

From that fatal hour, all efforts to impress moral and religious truth on the minds of men, have been, properly speaking, a WARFARE; that is, in whatever direction they have been applied, they have never failed to meet with resistance. As all men, by nature hate the truth as it is in Jesus; and as all men, quite as universally, are opposed to the spirit and the demands of the gospel obedience; it follows that all attempts to procure the reception of the one, or to enforce the practice of the other, must be made in the face of hostility : a hostility not, indeed, always equally bitter in its hatred, or gross in its violence; but still real hostility, which nothing can appease but a surrender of Jehovah’s claims to the inclination of the rebellious creature. Hence, whenever the banner of truth and righteousness is raised in any place, opposition never fails immediately to arise : and however unreasonable its character, or revolting its aspect, in the view of the truly spiritual mind, it usually bears away the multitude, and would always do so, did not Divine power interpose to prevent it. The human heart, left to itself, is ever ready to bid welcome any plausible flatterer, who will “prophecy deceits,” and say, in the language of the first deceiver, “Ye shall not surely die.

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This is Trusting

Hugh Binning, Works, p. 429:

The soul of a believer should be constant and fixed in the consideration of God, till he be wholly engaged to admiration and wondering. “O Lord, how excellent is thy name,” Ps. 8:1; “and who is like unto thee?” You all say that you believe in God, and know his power, – you know he is good, he is merciful, just, long-suffering, faithful, &c. But what is all this knowledge but ignorance, and your light darkness, when it doth not press you to put your trust in his name? You know; nay, but you consider not what you know. This is trusting, when the mind is stayed on what it knoweth, when all the scattered thoughts and affections are called home, and united in one, to be exercised about this comprehensive object, “the Lord our God.”


Sincere Love Remains

Martin Luther:

Whoever intends to enter married life should do so in faith and in God’s name. He should pray to God that it may prosper according to His will and that marriage may not be treated as a matter of fun and folly. It is no small gift from God to find a wife who is pious and easy to get along with. It is the highest grace of God when love continues to flourish in married life. The first love is ardent, is an intoxicating love, so that we are blinded and are drawn to marriage. After we have slept off our intoxication, sincere love remains in the married life of the godly; but the godless are sorry they ever married. [12]

[12.] ‘Christian History Sampler: Martin Luther on Marriage’, Christianity Today,, accessed 7 July 2017.

~”The Bible and the Protestant Reformation,” page 18 (21 of 29), Trinitarian Bible Society, available online at

What Occasional Hearing Is Not

Semper Reformanda:

Occasional Hearing is not practiced when one informally meets with Christian friends or family members from churches other than his own. Nor is Occasional Hearing practiced when a friend or family member (who also happens to be a minister of an unfaithful church) drops by to visit as long as he does so in his unofficial capacity as a friend or family member and not in his official capacity as a minister of an unfaithful church.

Source and read more:

They Spoke Up

A. Stoutjesdyk:

Third, let’s notice the amazing heroism and courage of the reformers. In their time the teachings and practices of the church were corrupt, the people were ignorant, and church leaders sought their deaths. We, too, live in a world filled with open hostility against the Bible. So did Luther. We live in a world that has banished the Bible from public schools, government, and morals. So did Luther. We live in a world in which our leaders make laws directly contrary to the Word. So did Luther. Yet he did not flinch; he did not hide himself behind the walls of a monastery. No, he and the later reformers did not despair; they did not shrug their shoulders and write off their world. They spoke up. They proclaimed the truth, the importance of the Word of God, and the need for personal conversion and repentance. We also need such faith-inspired courage, hope, and faith.

~”The Bible and the Protestant Reformation,” page 20 (23 of 29), Trinitarian Bible Society, available online at