Scripture must govern our facts

I was recently reading Satan Cast Out by Frederick Leahy.  Though the book is about biblical demonology, these two quotations related to biblical interpretation stood out to me as of particular importance given the prevailing views in many denominations that science should trump biblical revelation.  I leave the quotes with you to ponder:

“Charles Hodge reminds us, ‘The rule of interpretation which gets rid of the doctrine of Satan and his influence, if carried out, would blot all the peculiar doctrines of the Scripture from the Bible.  It has been so applied, to explain away the doctrines of sacrifice, justification, heaven and hell.’ Once we tamper with any doctrine of Scripture, or seek to re-state it in what is glibly called ‘modern thought-forms’, there is no logical stopping place short of a total rejection of the authority of the Bible as a divine revelation.” (p20-21)

Though this quote is much longer, it is worth it.  Consider substituting ‘science’ for ‘phenomena’ and ‘healing meetings’ and see how it reads:

“The ‘great signs and wonders’, the exorcism of demons, the ‘many wonderful works’ which our Lord and the apostles associate with Satan and his dupes, are still to be witnessed.  They are facts which cannot be denied, and frequently the name of Jesus is associated with them.  There have been remarkable healing campaigns where the preaching  was marked by the wildest doctrinal aberrations.  The ‘results’ seem impressive and the evangelical, losing sight of his Bilbical standards and unwittingly accepting worldly standards of successs, is in grave danger of what Martyn Lloyd-Jones calls ‘capitulation to phenomena’.  This is the error of allowing one’s doctrine to be determined by phenomena.  The facts cannot be gainsaid, so it is decided that they must be accommodated by theology and therefore theology is adjusted accordingly.  But it is not necessary to do this.  On the contrary, the Christian should seek to interpret the facts in the light of the teaching of Scripture.  He must not allow phenomena to determine his belief.  In warning against this peril, Martyn Lloyd Jones remarks:

‘People have assumed, because the name of Christ has been used in a meeting, that all that happens in it must be truly Christian, and is, therefore, a guarantee of the soundness of all that is taught.  For them the results guarantee everything.  I have known good people who, because of something they have seen in “healing meetings”, have abandoned what they formally believed.  Because of what happened in a given meeting they have submitted to the entire teaching of those conducting the meeting.’

In other words, they have capitulated to phenomena.  They have allowed facts to determine their faith, instead of interpreting facts in the light of their faith.  They reach conclusions on non-Biblical grounds.” (165-167)

About Scott Roberts

pastor of Hope in Christ Church, Bellingham, WA
This entry was posted in Hermeneutics, quotes. Bookmark the permalink.