The following article by Charles Hodge is a excellent summary of the rules of Biblical interpretation:
Rules of Interpretation By Charles Hodge
If every man has the right, and is bound to read the Scriptures, and to judge for himself what they teach, he must have certain rules to guide him in the exercise of this privilege and duty. These rules are not arbitrary. They are not imposed by human authority. They have no binding force which does not flow from their own intrinsic truth and propriety. They are few and simple.
1. The Words Of Scripture Are To Be Taken In Their Plain Historical Sense — That is, they must be taken in the sense attached to them in the age and by the people to whom they were addressed. This only assumes that the sacred writers were honest, and meant to be understood.
2. The Analogy Of Faith — If the Scriptures be what they claim to be, the word of God, they are the work of one mind, and that mind divine. From this it follows that Scripture cannot contradict Scripture. God cannot teach in one place anything which is inconsistent with what He teaches in another. Hence Scripture must explain Scripture. If a passage admits of different interpretations, that only can be the true one which agrees with what the Bible teaches elsewhere on the same subject. If the Scriptures teach that the Son is the same in substance and equal in power and glory with the Father, then when the Son says, “The Father is greater than I,” the superiority must be understood in a manner consistent with this equality. It must refer either to subordination as to the mode of subsistence and operation, or it must be official. A king’s son may say, “My father is greater than I,” although personally his father’s equal. This rule of interpretation is sometimes called the analogy of Scripture, and sometimes the analogy of faith. There is no material difference in the meaning of the two expressions.
An excellent essay on The Historical Basis of the Christian Faith: The Resurrection of Jesus by Scottish theologian Dr. James Denney. Denney asks the question “Does Jesus, as He is revealed to us in history, justify the Christian religion as we have had it exhibited to us in the New Testament?”. He then gives his answer as a resounding YES, and he gives a strong apologetic for the Resurrection as the basis.
I am making available for download an e-book Studies In Theology by Dr. James Denney (a Scottish theologian and Free Church minister). Denney is best known for his books Jesus And The Gospel and The Death Of Christ (which I posted earlier).
This e-book is a series of ten lectures Denney presented at the Chicago Theological Seminary and contains a wide range of topics in theology.
After many hours of frustration I have finally finished a project I have been working on. I am posting an e-book “Popular Lectures on Theological Themes” by A. A. Hodge. It was also published as “Evangelical Theology: A Course of Popular Lectures”.
I got the document in html format and it had been converted with an o.c.r. program. As a result it contained many misspelled words and strange characters at various points. Also some of the Greek words did not convert properly. I have edited the text the best I could and hope I have not missed anything or created any errors.
The lectures are transcribed and edited editions of 19 lectures Dr. Hodge gave on several occasions to groups of laymen. They are in a popular format but contain a wide range of reformed theology subjects. This is a book worth reading! Download and enjoy!
Today I am posting 2 excellent works on the life of Christ.
1. A Harmony Of The Gospels For Students Of The Life Of Christ by the noted Southern Baptist scholar A. T. Robertson. I have used several Gospel harmonies in the past and I think this is the best.
2. The Life Of Christ by J. Gresham Machen. This book is a short introduction of the person and work of Jesus Christ and is well suited for self-study or teaching Bible Classes. Dr. Machen was an American Presbyterian scholar, apologist, and author.
A Defense Of Calvinism And The Doctrines Of Grace by Charles H. Spurgeon
This e-book is a collection consisting of Charles H. Spugeon’s article A Defense of Calvinism and five sermons on the Doctrines of Grace. The sermons are titled: Human Inability, Election, Particular Redemption, Effectual Calling, and Final Perseverance. These titles he used were the common way of stating the 5 points of Calvinism. It was not until 1905 that the acronym TULIP started being used (see my article on the origin of TULIP here: http://wp.me/paiq3-fB).
There are those today that insist that Spurgeon was not a Calvinist (since his sermons were strongly evangelistic), but reading this book will leave no doubt of his commitment to reformed theology.
New e-book: The Covenants by R. B. C. Howell
Dr. Robert Boyte Crawford Howell (1810-1868), was a Calvinistic Baptist minister, scholar, and author. He was the second president of the Southern Baptist Convention, presiding from 1851 through 1858. Dr. Howell’s book The Covenants is a classic on the subject and should be in the library of anyone interested in Covenant Theology.
The Scofield Bible And Dispensationalism
(Westminster Standard Publication #45)
The following e-book is a critique of the Scofield Bible and Dispensationalism from a Reformed viewpoint. It was published by Westminster Standard Publications, Gisborne, N.Z. It does not give the date published but I suspect that it was quite a few years ago since it refers to what is now called ‘classic dispensationalism’, (Scofield, Chafer, Ryrie, Walvoord). It also refers to the theology that is sometimes called ‘hyper’ or ‘ultra-dispensationalism’ (Bullinger, Welch, Baker, O’Hair). The publication is a refutation of the teachings of the Scofield Bible and dispensationalism in general.
(thanks to www.the-highway.com for making this publication available on the internet)
The doctrine of the Atonement has been discussed and debated since the days of the early church. Part of the reason so many errors have arisen is because a correct understanding of the theological terminology used is missing or distorted. In the following e-book R. A. Finlayson goes into detail on subjects pertaining to the Atonement discussing such terms as: atonement, substitution, imputation, sacrifice, expiation, propitiation, reconciliation, and etc.
Pastor Lance G. Marshall has posted a number of e-books by reformed authors at his website Soli Deo Gloria
The following article The Person Of Christ by R. A. Finlayson was a help to me, especially in understanding the Kenosis theory vs. the Krypsis theory (which I was unfamiliar with). Finlayson has the ability to cover a lot of theology in just a few words. This article is definitely worth a read.
I am posting another e-book by Dr. Norman Spurgeon MacPherson titled Tell It Like It Will Be where he outlines his views on eschatology. It is concise, well written and an accurate summary of end-times events.
Dr. Norman S. MacPherson is a graduate of Columbia University and Princeton Theological Seminary and is the former Pastor, First Baptist Church, Otego, New York.
An essay on the Sabbath by reformed theologian A. A. Hodge:
What Are We to Make of Jesus Christ?
(From: “God in the Dock”, C. S. Lewis)
‘What are we to make of Jesus Christ?’ This is a question, which has, in a sense, a frantically comic side. For the real question is not what are we to make of Christ, but what is He to make of us? The picture of a fly sitting deciding what it is going to make of an elephant has comic elements about it. But perhaps the questioner meant what are we to make of Him in the sense of ‘How are we to solve the historical problem set us by the recorded sayings and acts of this Man?’ This problem is to reconcile two things. On the one hand you have got the almost generally admitted depth and sanity of His moral teaching, which is not very seriously questioned, even by those who are opposed to Christianity. In fact, I find when I am arguing with very anti-God people that they rather make a point of saying, ‘I am entirely in favour of the moral teaching of Christianity’ — and there seems to be a general agreement that in the teaching of this Man and of His immediate followers, moral truth is exhibited at its purest and best. It is not sloppy idealism; it is full of wisdom and shrewdness. The whole thing is realistic, fresh to the highest degree, the product of a sane mind. That is one phenomenon.
The e-book The Coming Of The Son Of Man By E. J. Poole-Connor is an excellent summary of the Second Coming and surrounding events. I don’t necessarily agree with all of his points but I think this is a well-done and very balanced treatment of the subject.
John Murray was a Scottish theologian who came to the U.S. and taught at Princeton Theological Seminary and Westminster Seminary. He was also a respected author and his book Redemption Accomplished And Applied is still in print and widely read and used in reformed circles. The e-book I am posting today is The Death of Christ by Dr. Murray where he analyzes the results of Christ’s death and gives a detailed exposition of the doctrines of Sacrifice, Propitiation, Reconciliation, and Redemption.
The doctrines of predestination and election were the hardest for me to understand when I first started studying reformed theology. Two short essays by B. B. Warfield helped. They are non-technical and easy to follow unlike many writings on the subject.
B. B. Warfield (1851-1921) was professor of Systematic Theology at Princeton Seminary from 1887 to 1921. Warfield is considered to be one of the greatest of the old-school Calvinistic theologians.
I am pleased to be able to provide a copy of the book Triumph Through Tribulation (A Frank Appraisal Of Twenty Arguments That The Church Will Not Pass Through The Tribulation), by Dr. Norman Spurgeon MacPherson. In the book MacPherson gives the background on the Biblical term ‘tribulation’ and completely disproves the arguments for a pretrib rapture.
Note: I was given permission to post this book by Dr. MacPherson’s son Dave MacPherson.
I am posting The Second Coming Of Christ by Louis Berkhof which is taken from his Systematic Theology. Berkhof was a reformed theologian, pastor, and author and is considered to be one of the top theologians of his era. He was an amillennialist so I don’t agree with his position on the millennium but his writings on the Second Coming and its concomitant events are right on point. It seems that his understanding of the millennium differs from the premillennial position on the question of whether the 1000 years is literal or symbolic of a long period of time (as in “with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day” (2 Peter 3:8 – NASB).
I am posting another article by W. J. Grier: The Wrath Of God. This is a subject neglected by liberal theologians and even some conservatives. The same Bible that teaches us about the love of God also has a great deal to say about His wrath, and both should be taught and discussed.
W. J. Grier was an Irish Presbyterian minister and author. He wrote several books and numerous articles. Attached is one of his excellent essays on Justification By Faith:
How many dispensations are there? It depends on who you ask! I have documented schemes that claim anywhere between 3 and 19. I quote one author that says it could be as many as 37! The following article I wrote several years ago shows the confusion about the number of dispensations which are supposed to be “clearly defined” and “marked off” in Scripture and demonstrates the futility of trying to defend the dispensational hermeneutic.
In the opening of his essay “Law And Grace” John Murray states:
“No subject is more intimately bound up with the nature of the gospel than that of law and grace. In the degree to which error is entertained at this point, in the same degree is our conception of the gospel perverted”. Murray goes on to state the classic covenantal understanding in his comprehensive essay:
The Gospel Of The Incarnation is a book of 2 sermons preached by B. B. Warfield in the Chapel of Princeton Seminary. The sermons were so popular that the students requested that they be published. I have formatted the book and converted it to an e-book:
Ask several people “what is the Gospel?” and you probably get a number of different answers ranging from “the Good News” to a lengthy theological explanation. Reformed theologian Loraine Boettner wrote a booklet answering the question and it is well worth reading. In it he addresses a wide range of subjects and compares the Calvinistic and Arminian view of the Gospel.
Presuppositions and Axioms: a quote from Gordon H. Clark:
“Every philosophic or theological system must begin somewhere, for if it did not begin it could not continue. But a beginning cannot be preceded by anything else, or it would not be the beginning. Therefore every system must be based on presuppositions (Require as a precondition of possibility or coherence. Tacitly assume to be the case) or axioms (An accepted statement or proposition regarded as being self-evidently true). They may be Spinoza’s axioms; they may be Locke’s sensory starting point, or whatever. Every system must therefore be presuppositional.
The first principle cannot be demonstrated because there is nothing prior from which to deduce it. Call it presuppositionalism, call it fideism, names do not matter. But I know no better presupposition than “The Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the word of God written, and therefore inerrant in the autographs.”
(Gordon Haddon Clark (1902-1985) was an American philosopher and Calvinist theologian. He was a leading figure associated with presuppositional apologetics. He taught at Wheaton College early in his career and later served as Chairman of the Philosophy Department at Butler University, a position he held for 28 years).
Loraine Boettner wrote:
“In all the history of the world Jesus emerges as the only “expected” person. No one was looking for such a person as Julius Caesar, or Napoleon, or Washington, or Lincoln to appear at the time and place that they did appear. No other person has had his course foretold or his work laid out for him centuries before he was born. But the coming of the Messiah had been predicted for centuries. In fact, the first promise of His coming was given to Adam and Eve soon after their fall into sin. As time went on various details concerning His Person and work were revealed through the prophets; and at the time Jesus was born there was a general expectation through the Jewish world that the Messiah was soon to appear, even the manner of His birth and the town in which it would occur having been clearly indicated”.
(Loraine Boettner, Studies In Theology, p. 160)
Recently I was doing some research on the internet and ran across an article on the Canons Of Dort (the origin for the acronym TULIP) at the Reformed Church Of America’s website. Reading the article I started wondering how the familiar TULIP used by Calvinists originated since the Canons had different descriptions of the 5 points. I started researching this and came across an article “The Five Points of Calvinism Historically Considered” written in 1913 by Dr. William H. Wail in 1913. He said the 1st use of the acronym was by a presbyterian theologian and pastor Dr. Cleland Boyd McAfee at a lecture on Calvinism in 1905. Prior to that time there were a number of ways the 5 points were described. I was unable to find any reference to TULIP before 1905 so I think Dr. Wail is probably right.
Following is a short article I wrote about the origin of the acronym TULIP:
Here is the original article by Dr. Wail:
I was searching the web for articles and/or quotes by John Murray and came across a study on the atonement by Dr. Van Lees. After reading it I think is one of the best I have ever seen. He also has some other great articles from a reformed viewpoint on his web-site: covenantofgracechurch.org. Check it out!
I have been reading a lot of materials on the covenants lately as I try to sort out the differences between CT and NCT. I found an article by Dr. John Murray. This is the best treatment of the covenants I have found so far.
The Covenant Of Grace — A Biblico-Theological Study By John Murray (e-book):