Natural Interpretation


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Natural Interpretation

Religious & Philosophical Violations of Natural Interpretation

  • The Gnostic Problem - Mystical Interpretation; The Gnostics were a group who taught that spiritual elites discerned/received special understanding of Scriptures which were presented by symbollic or allegorical meanings which were "higher" meanings than the normal, literal meaning. Ever heard someone describing a passage of Scripture and making a symbol out of everything, when none of it was in the written Word? That falls into this category.

    Solution - Stick to only one natural grammatical meaning: 1) Not one historical meaning and some other modern meaning, and 2) Not an obvious normal meaning, as well as some other additional meaning of symbollic, allegorical, or mystical nature.

  • The Catholic Problem - The Open Canon and Church Authority; The Roman Catholic Church claims apostolic authority inherited from the Apostle Peter. What this means is that Catholics can decide on doctrines by the authority of the Popes and church councils. This is why the Catholics have doctrines which have NO scriptural basis (example: purgatory) and doctrines which OPPOSE Scripture (example: Priests can't marry vs. Pastors/Elders required to be married and have orderly children). For Catholics, the Bible is not the whole authoritive basis for theological doctrine.

    Solution - If the canon is open to change, the Bible becomes unreliable or at best, dated. An individual must decide to either accept that the Catholic Church has the same or similar authority as Scripture, or must, with Martin Luther, say "Sola Scripta!" and require the sole authority rest in the written Word of God, necessarily rejecting this authority of the Catholic Church (This is where we get Protestants).

  • The Charismatic / Modern Apostle Problem - The Loose Cannon; Charismatics believe in extreme spriritual dynamics which include special revelation to individual in the style of the old Gnostics, except that modern charismatics are not elitists in these "spiritual experiences", but anyone and everyone can be a conduit of divine authority. There is also a distict showbiz atmosphere and a "God = Santa Claus" attitude, both of which seem to be central to charismatic denominations.

    Solution - If you feel that the Holy Spirit is "leading" you, good, but the Holy Spirit won't contradict Scripture. To know whether or not you're on track you have to study Scripture! The Holy Spirit has a scriptural ministry of illuminating Scripture, not a ministry of editing or superceeding Scripture.

  • The Liberal Problem - The Bible without the Supernatural; In religious terms, a "Liberal" is basically someone who thinks of the Bible as a historic set of moral and social teachings, and who denies most or all content which requires any supernatural agent. The liberal absolutely denies inerrancy of Scripture and most also deny the authority of Scripture (which is actually inevitable, once inerrancy is denied). A non-believing reader is free to pick and choose, agree or disagree piecemeal, and intellectually argue about biblical topics just as he would any other book, and God can safely remain an unanswerable philosophical question.

    Solution - The Bible makes specific claims of inerrancy and authority, therefore, belief in Scripture must be defined by these two claims. Study without recognition of inerrancy and authority is spiritually worthless. This is a point where faith is a tangible factor. We use intelligence and reason with our faith, not instead of faith!

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    (C) Copyright 2012 Dainel Stanfield, this document may be distributed freely, but may not be sold or modified.