Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Can't Make It Any Clearer

John Frame is thought-provoking in a good way. The following are actually two sub-points he makes concerning the precision and vagueness of Scripture and possible misapplication. These strike home, because, in my attempts at being overly precise, I have injured and been injured trying to force what was never present.
If, as I implied earlier, Scripture itself contains intentional vagueness, then we must be beware of trying too hard to eliminate vagueness from theology. We do not want to be less precise than Scripture is, but . . . we don't want to be more precise than Scripture, either. I'm afraid that theologians sometimes seek maximum precision in theology, contrary to the intent of Scripture itself. Thus they multiply technical terms far beyond their usefulness, a practice that has occurred in much writing on the "order of decrees." trichotomy, and so forth.

Similarly, we should not seek to impose on church officers a form of creedal subscription intended to be maximally precise. We are often tempted to think that heresy in the church could be avoided if only the form of subscription were sufficiently precise. Thus in some circles there is the desire to require officers (sometimes even members) to subscribe to every proposition in the church's confession. After all, it might be asked, why have a confession if it is not to be binding? But that kind of "strict" subscription has its problems, too. If dissent against any proposition in the confession destroys the dissenter's good standing in the church, then the confession becomes irreformable, unamenable, and, for all practical purposes, canonical. And when a confession becomes canonical, the authority of the Bible is threatened, not protected."
John M. Frame, The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, p 225-6.

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