January 6, 1975
Let me ramble for a minute or two on some things I have been thinking and then request that you write back and comment on how the things I say strike you, ok? It seems to me that for any “interpretative method” to be valid, it must be derived from the Scriptures themselves. In other words, in order to know how we should understand the Scriptures we should see how Jesus, the apostles, etc., used the Scriptures that they had, and in doing so we can arrive at the “correct” manner.
Even though godly men may disagree in some points, it seems possible that a valid system can be derived from the Bible that will allow all fair-minded men to see the truth that God wants us to see and be able to live holy lives in response to that will. This would involve, of course, a way of distinguishing between “matters of faith” and “opinion.” Does this sound remotely correct to you?
It appears that when one brings any kind of “grid or screen” to the Scriptures, he is going to see many things that are not there, as well as many things that are, in a different way than the Lord intended. We must therefore assume as little as possible, and with the rational and logical means the Lord provided for us in our minds, along with the recognized rules of grammar, syntax, communicative technique, seek out the Lord’s meaning. But what I am grappling with at present is the question of whether there is some inherent “solipsism” that prevents us from ever knowing with a certainty exactly what “the” correct hermeneutic should be.
In other words, by our finiteness are we bound to an existence which prevents anything but a certain relativity in understanding and in obedience? I realize these may be philosophical questions, but they seem to me to be ones which cannot be sidestepped. I would appreciate any thinking you could offer or suggestion of study helps that may guide my thinking in a conservative way. Perhaps The God Who Is There would be a good place to start. I’ve read it once through, but not with any concentration.
At any rate, how do you think the Christian should regard the restoration movement, principles, etc.? I have heard it mentioned that Campbell derived his “model” idea from Locke. Is this accurate? If so, is this an indication again of imposing an extra-Biblical system upon the Scriptures?
As you can readily see, the questions that I am now asking are not quite the same ones as those I began writing about in October 1973! But, as I said, these are just ramblings that I would like you to peruse and comment upon critically or otherwise. I am not intentionally trying to be abstract in my thinking, it just came out that way, I guess. Better close for now; write soon, if possible. Take care. May the Lord bless you in your service for Him.
Love in Christ,