Levels Of Perspicuity In The Old Testament Scriptures -- By: Brian H. Wagner
JODT 16:48 (August 2012) p. 29
Levels Of Perspicuity In The Old Testament Scriptures
Brian H. Wagner, M.Div., Th.M., instructor of church history and theology, Virginia Baptist College, Fredericksburg, Virginia; and, Ph.D. student, Piedmont Baptist Graduate School, Winston Salem, North Carolina
It can be demonstrated that the New Testament recognizes three levels of doctrinal importance, which it also connects, at least indirectly, to defined levels of perspicuity. However, one will understandably question whether the same can be demonstrated in the Old Testament. The New Testament teaches that the gospel is “that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3-4, NKJV); it also teaches that a young child is able to express personal faith in Christ and thereby enter into His kingdom (Matt 18:2-6; Col 1:13). The truths of the gospel, therefore, “according to the Scriptures” must be at the highest level of perspicuity (i.e. simple enough for a child to understand), and are at the highest level of importance (i.e. an incorruptible seed, producing everlasting life, as indicated in 1 Pet 1:23).
The New Testament also teaches that God-ordained pastoral leadership can be recognized by the laity by the clear scriptural standards that are set for such leadership in 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1 and 1 Peter 5. Included in those standards is the requirement of “holding fast to the faithful word,” which is also identified as “sound doctrine” (Tit 1:9). Whatever is to be included in this category of “sound doctrine” must be clear enough for all those who are not called to pastoral ministry, and this is because they, as a congregation, are involved in the ordination of such pastors by their own consenting voice (cf. Acts 14:23, χειροτονήσαντες, “raising the hand,” “voting”). Moreover, as individuals, they are called to submit to such pastoral leadership (Heb 13:17). Therefore, sound doctrine cannot be obscure to the layman’s mind for he is the one who must compare what his pastor may say is essential for spiritual health and growth (i.e. “soundness,” with what he reads for himself in the Scriptures, utilizing his own normal education and literacy). Sound doctrine i...
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