Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Philip's Doctrinal Hierarchy Test

Over the nearly 1000 days since I got Saved, I have thought anew re: questions about Scriptural Primacy. We often find internal contradictions in the Bible, sometimes direct contradictions where in one verse it says "this must not be done" and in another verse it says "this must be done." How do we resolve such apparent contradictions?

It is conceptually quite simple: I have, so far, been able to resolve every incidence of this with what I call Philip's Doctrinal Hierarchy Test. Today for the first time I actually codified this Hierarchy Test; it appears below. And yes, like everything on this blog, I retain full copyright.

Start with a question in the form of "is this [thing, behavior, thought] OK?"

1) Look for an answer in the OT. 
  • If you find an answer in the OT 
  • then that OT answer is provisionally in effect 
  • else n/a
2) Look for the answer in the not from the mouth of Jesus in the NT.
  • If you find an answer not from the mouth of Jesus 
  • then the OT answer from #1 is superseded/repealed 
  • else the OT answer provisionally continues 
3) Look for an answer from the words of Jesus Himself.
  • If you find an answer from the words of Jesus Himself 
  • then the NT answer from #2 is superseded/repealed 
  • else the OT answer continues in force 

The logic is conceptually simple. The challenge comes from understanding whether the words of Jesus in #3 do, in fact, contradict #2. Jesus often spoke in parables and gave indirect lessons; He often answered questions with additional questions. However, if we approach all such questions of doctrine with an open mind, open heart, and remember that God wants all of us to put our faith in Jesus first, then I believe we will be well-served by my Doctrinal Hierarchy Test.

Στο όνομα Πατρός, Υιού, και Αγίου Πνεύματος. ΑΜΗΝ.

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