Positive Application of the Rules of Affinity

See ‘The Rules of Affinity’ post

These “rules” are only rules to the degree that one allows them be rules or ground-rules.  Ones hermeneutics will tend to determine how friendly they will be toward these ideas.   All the doctrines listed below can be established via C1 or C2 formulations, with some C3’s supporting.  Even if, due to a blind spot, I may be inferring more than is there in the text, I can be corrected with these same rules.  None of the major biblical doctrines are established with C4’s or C5’s!

The propositions below are examples of what might be predicated of each doctrine in an evangelical Statement of Faith.

The Inspiration of ScriptureProposition: “The Scriptures come from the God who breathed them out and caused them to be inscripturated through men who were ‘borne along’ by the Spirit.  That is what makes them Scripture.” – 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20-21; Matt. 4:4; Jn. 17:17; Psa. 119:89-91

InerrancyProposition: “The inspired Scriptures are the Word of God before they are the words of men.  They must be up to the job of transmitting truth from He who is True.  This truth will be as reliable in one area of knowledge as in any other, even if exact precision is not necessary.” – 2 Tim. 3:16; Psa. 12:6; Jn. 17:17; 2 Pet. 1:19-21

Only one GodProposition: “God the Creator is the only existing God and the only God there has ever or will ever be.” – Deut. 6:4; Jer. 10:10; Exod. 20:3

The TrinityProposition: “God exists as one substance yet in three distinct yet eternally inseparable ‘Persons.’  Each ‘Person’ is co-equal and divine yet existing in distinguishable intra-relationships and functions with one another.  God is one yet three, though in different modes of being.” – Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; Jn. 1:1-3, 18; 14:15-17; 20:28; Acts 5:3-4; 2 Cor. 13:14; Heb. 9:14, 10:28-29

Creation ex nihiloProposition: “The Triune God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing.” – Gen. 1:1f; Isa. 40:28; 45:12; Jer. 10:12; Jn. 1:3; Col. 1:15-16; Heb. 1:2; Heb. 11:3; Rom. 11:36

Mankind made in God’s image and likenessProposition: “After God had made the world and the plants and animals He created man and woman in His image and likeness.” – Gen. 1:26-27; 9:6; Jam. 3:9

Man is a sinner (fallen in Adam)Proposition: “When Adam disobeyed the prohibition he plunged not only himself but all humanity after him into sin and misery.  We are born ‘in Adam’ and must be born-again ‘in Christ'” – Gen. 2:17; 3:1-24; Psa. 51:5; Isa. 64:6; Rom. 3:10-18; 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:22; Jn. 3:3

The Virgin ConceptionProposition: “Jesus was born of a virgin through the Spirit without a human father.” – Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:23-25; Lk. 1:31-35, 3:23; Gen. 3:15

There is only one SaviorProposition: “God Himself is the only Savior of sinners, especially God the Son.” – Isa. 45:21; Hos. 13:4; Acts 4:12, 17:30-31; 1 Tim. 1:1, 15, 4:10; Jn. 3:16, 20:28-29

Christ died for all sinners (whosoever believes)Proposition: “Christ died for all men (sinners).” – Isa. 53:6; Jn. 1:29; 3:16-17; Rom. 5:6; 1 Tim. 2:4-6; 4:10; 1 Jn. 2:2; Heb. 2:9, 10:29

Christ arose bodily from the deadProposition: “Jesus died on the cross but was raised up bodily and in glory.” – Mk. 9:31, 10:34; 1 Cor. 15; Mk. 16:6; Lk. 24:6-7, 36-43; Acts 17:18, 30-31; Rom. 1:4; Rev. 1:18

Justification by faith (Salvation by grace not works)Proposition: “To be saved from their sin a person must be justified before God.  This cannot be achieved through our own merits, but must be imputed by God to those who believe in Jesus atoning work.” – Jn. 3:36; Acts 16:31; Rom. 3:21-30; 4:16, 26; 5:1; Gal. 2:16; 3:24; Eph. 2:5, 8-9; Isa. 64:6

Christ will return physically in powerProposition: “The same Christ who ascended from this earth will one day return visibly to this earth as Lord of lords and King of kings.” – Acts 1:11; Matt. 24:27, 29-30; 26:64; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Rev. 19:11f.

Christians shall receive glorified bodiesProposition: “Because Jesus is risen we too shall rise glorified at His coming.” – Jn. 6:40; 1 Jn. 3:1-2; Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Cor. 15:20-23, 35-54; 2 Cor. 5:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:13-17

Now for some more controversial ones:

Christ will rule on this earth after the Second AdventProposition: “Christ will return to rule on His world before delivering it back to the Father.” – Matt. 25:31-34; Lk. 1:31-33; 19:11-27; Acts 1:3,6; Rev. 19:11-20:10; 1 Cor. 15:20-27; Isa. 61-62; Mic. 5:2-4; Zech. 6:12-13; 14:9, 16f.

Israel (as the Remnant) will inherit its covenanted promisesProposition: “God entered into irrevocable covenants with Israel which He must and shall fulfill in accordance with their stipulations.” – Gen. 15; 17:4-9; Psa. 105:6-11; Isa. 9:6-7; Mic. 5:2; Jer. 32:42; 33:14-26; Ezek. 34:11-31; 36:1-37:28; Zeph. 3:20; Zech. 8; Lk. 1:32-33; Acts 1:6-7; Rom. 11:23-29

There will be a temple and sacrifices in the future kingdomProposition: “One of God’s everlasting covenants concerns Phinehas and his descendents (Zadokites).  This requires us to take statements of a post Second Advent temple literally, whatever our present lack of understanding on the subject.” – Num. 25:11-13; Psa. 106:30-31; Ezek. 36:32-38; 37:12-28; 40-48; Zech. 6:12-13; 14:16-21; Mal. 3:2-6

“Heaven” (New Jerusalem) will come to the new earth after the millennial kingdomProposition: “When God creates a new heavens and earth the ‘New Jerusalem’ will descend from God out of heaven to earth and God shall dwell with men.  The gates of the city will be opened to the nations.” – Rev. 20:1-22:5; Isa. 66:22; 2 Pet. 3:13

 There are more doctrines and propositions which could pass muster under these rules, but we have shown above a good specimen of doctrines where the distance between theological assertion and texts used to support them is close.

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7 comments

  1. Paul, thanks for the two articles. It is like locating two gems among the fluff that is so prevalent among Christian circles today.

    I agree that your rules of affinity endear you to a lot in the Reformed camp. An argument I have heard is historical-grammatical-literal interpretation is a modernist construct, and the Bible must be understood in a typological way. But then, pushed to the extreme, how do we know the specifically Christological prophecies (i.e. prophecies related to Jesus) is not some type of typological riddles as well?

    There are two antidotal observations I have seen in the circle that show cases your point. Hope this will give food for thought to everyone as well:

    1. I dare suggest one of the most popular arguments against a future temple sacrifice and the millennial kingdom Israel is to cite John 4:23 “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”. The line of reasoning goes like this: in the Old Testament law you must worship God in a certain manner (sacrifice) plus to be in Jerusalem. The time comes when you can worship God the Father anywhere in spirit and truth. Isn’t that liberating? If the future millennium requires sacrifice in Jerusalem again, isn’t it more restrictive, a regression?

    My attempt to rebut this argument is to say that it assumes worshipping God over the ages is to “simplify” in a monolithic direction. However, this assumption is rooted in our human reasoning, and not a word of scripture can be given to say this interpretation of John 4:23 is correct. i.e. it is at best a C4 interpretation using your affinity rules. (Aside: alternatively some may argue it may be a C3 doctrine because Hebrews 1 shows Jesus is the final revelation of God to mankind, and here it says worshipping in spirit and truth means no more restrictions, therefore our current way of worshipping with no mandated sacrifices is “the final stage in terms of the progression in worship over the ages before Christ returns”. Is this reasoning sound?)

    2. Another argument I have heard against Israel’s future national restoration is to claim we are being like “name it and claim it” charismatic theologians and forgetting God said so doesn’t necessarily mean it is applicable to our time. My response is: does the context of the Scripture support such line of reasoning? It should be based on what the Scripture text explicitly says rather than what our human reasoning deems logical.

    I’m sure others would have witnessed different arguments along similar line of reasoning. I encourage everyone to keep up and look to God amidst misunderstandings from even some of the dearest and most gentle and godly fellow brethrens – if anything is a guide, it is the theologically driven insidious anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism from a few of these otherwise very godly people, plus my own witnessing of the continual blessed state and survival of the Jewish people, which can’t be attributed to anything other than God’s miraculous protection, that keeps me from accepting Reformed Covenant Theology (or its close relative, Kingdom-Dominion Theology). No matter how right they have got on focusing on God’s grace in saving man from the sinful conditions, God’s holy and loving character, the riches of grace of being a Christian, the emphasis of living focused on honouring God above fellow men, they don’t compensate the fact they get the teachings on Israel and the Jewish people, “the apple of His eye”.

  2. Paul, as a fellow dispensationalist I appreciate your taxonomy. It has the hope of really, really clarifying things in a doctrinal discussion!

    I wish i had used such an idea in discussions with reformed brethren who seem to have, I don’t know, a hardness to seeing the kinds of things you are speaking off. Blinders?

    But I’d like to take to take issue with you on one of your C1 to C3 points 😉 – “Christ Died for All Sinners” – that’s a conclusion you have made but none of the verses listed really say quite that! If you had said, “Christ died for all who will trust in His sacrifice” you would have been far closer to those verses. Perhaps we can exchange on the texts of these verses at some point.

    BTW, let me use this paradigm with a theological statement 😉 – Plural Eldership is the only church polity of the NT churches (Titus 1:5-6, 1 Tim. 3:1-7, 5:17-25, Acts 14:23, Acts 16:4, Acts 20:17ff, Acts 21:18-25, James 5:14, 1 Peter 5:1-4). Agree?

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