The Perspicuity Of Scripture -- By: Brian H. Wagner

Journal: Journal of Dispensational Theology
Volume: JODT 12:37 (Dec 2008)
Article: The Perspicuity Of Scripture
Author: Brian H. Wagner


The Perspicuity Of Scripture

Rehearsing the Testimony from Christian History of Those Who Consistently Held to the View as Foundational to Their Evangelical Hermeneutic

Brian H. Wagner, M.Div., Th.M.

Ph.D. student, Piedmont Baptist College and Graduate School Instructor of Church History and Theology, Virginia Baptist College

A survey of those evangelicals who have written concerning the history of hermeneutics will quickly reveal that most, if not all sources available in print today, cover the history of those who were, in the eyes of each evangelical historian at least, deficient in their hermeneutic approach to scriptures.1 They seem to assume that the typical Old Catholic-Roman Catholic-Reformation record of Christian history best represents what Christ was doing in His church through the centuries since Pentecost. They assume a sort of evolution of Christian doctrine, requiring theological debates and ecumenical councils to clarify important dogmas, as if believers cannot easily see important dogmas in Scriptures.

However, such an assumption discounts two biblical truths about Christian history. One is the philosophy of history given by the wisdom of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 1:9–11.

That which has been is what will be,
That which is done is what will be done,
And there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there anything of which it may be said,
“See, this is new”?
It has already been in ancient times before us.
There is
no remembrance of former things,
Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come
By those who will come after.2

It would be consistent with this wisdom to expect that each generation would live though, in the main, similar expressions of the normal human experience as recorded by Solomon in the rest of the book of Ecclesiastes. History would be cyclical not evolutionary. In relation to church history, one

would then expect that cycles of revival, ritualization, reform and revival again would be the norm until Jesus returns.

A second biblical truth is that Christ has not failed in His promise to build His church (Matt 16:18), including the corollary truth that He is faithfully giving to it gifted men who train the saints with sound doctrine (Eph 4:11–16). Since this corollary also must be true,...

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