Premise: If all Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for doctrine, it is imperative that our doctrines line up with Scripture. Theology may be defined as correct alignment with the pronouncements of the Bible.
The ‘Rules’ demonstrate that some doctrines line up much more closely to Scripture than others. Those with a very strong, direct “affinity” are ranked in the first category (C1). Those with the weakest claim to any affinity with the text of the Bible are ranked category five (C5).
C1 = a direct statement
- · Creation out of nothing – “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
- · Christ died for all sinners (whosoever believes) – “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
Most fundamental doctrines are a C1. A C1 doctrine is taught via a direct quotation of Scripture.
C2 = a strong inference
- · Inerrancy – “The inspired Scriptures are the Word of God before they are the words of men.” –
2 Tim. 3:16; Psa. 12:6; Jn. 17:17; 2 Pet. 1:19-21
- · The Trinity – “God exists as one substance yet in three divine, co-equal, distinct, yet eternally inseparable ‘Persons’. 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
A C2 is established on the witness of several clear C1 passages.
Premise: Every major doctrine is a C1 or C2.
C3 = an inference to the best explanation
- The Pre-Trib Rapture – “Christ will come for His Church prior to the 7 year Tribulation.” – 1 Thess. 4:13f; 1 Cor. 15:50f,; Rom. 11:24f; Dan. 9:24-27
N.B. the G-H method is required for the formulations of Categories 1 through 3, but is usually abandoned for Category 4 & 5 formulations.
A C3 is established on the witness of C1 and C2 texts, which overlap to point to a plausible inference.
C4 = a weak inference
- · The Covenant of Grace – based on ideas like “the one people of God” and “the church as the new Israel”
A C4 is founded on no clear or plain statement of Scripture.
C5 = an inference based on another inference
- The Christian Sabbath – Sunday replacing the Jewish Sabbath
A C5 is an even weaker inference based on other theological inferences, without reference to plain statements of Scripture.
Conclusion: We should only formulate our beliefs from C1’s and C2’s with some reference to C3’s. On the other hand, doctrines supported only by C4’s and C5’s should be suspected of relying too much on human reasoning without Scripture.