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THE SEARCH FOR NEW TESTAMENT PATTERNS. BACONIAN HERMENEUTICS AND COMMON SENSE INTERPRETATION. RETHINKING BIBLICAL PRIMITIVISM. COMMON SENSE HEREMENEUTICS.

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THE SEARCH FOR NEW TESTAMENT PATTERNS

BACONIAN HERMENEUTICS AND COMMON SENSE INTERPRETATION

RETHINKING BIBLICAL PRIMITIVISM


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COMMON SENSE HEREMENEUTICS

  • Restorationist, primitivist religious thinking assumes that human beings, through the use of a common sense possessed by all, have the ability to read texts and reach universal conclusions about meanings. This empirical, logical type of thinking is the basis for all public (as opposed to private and subjective) human understanding.


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SIMPLIFIED VERSION

ALL HUMAN BEINGS HAVE THE CAPACITY TO READ BIBLICAL TEXTS AND REACH COMMON (RATIONAL AND PUBLIC) AGREEMENTS ABOUT MEANING


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Testing the Validity of Pattern Thinking: A New Testament Church

1. An organization—Phil. 1:1; Acts 14:23; I Tim. 3: 1ff; Titus 1:5ff.

2. An Assembly—Heb. 10:25; I Cor. 11:15

3. Taught—Acts 20:7; I Cor. 14:15

4. Prayed—Acts 12:5; I Cor. 14:19

5. Sang—Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16

6. Lord’s Supper on 1st Day—Acts 20:7; I Cor. 11:20

  • Gave on 1st Day—I Cor. 16:1,2; Acts 2:44-45

  • Treasury—Acts 5:1-4

  • Relieved Needy Saints—Acts 4:34-35; 11:29-30; I Cor. 16:1

  • Supported Preaching—II Cor. 11:8; Phil. 4:15-16

    11. Discipline Unruly Members—I Cor. 5:1-5


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HERMENEUTICS Church

  • Main Entry: her·me·neu·ticFunction: noun1plural but singular or plural in construction: the study of the methodological principles of interpretation (as of the Bible)2: a method or principle of interpretation

  • Merrian Webster online Dictionary


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APOSTOLIC AUTHORITY AND HERMENEUTICS:THE CROSSROADS OF UNITY AND DIVISION IN THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT

  • DOES APOSTOLIC AUTHORITY DEMAND UNIFORMITY IN TEACHING AND PRACTICE?

  • CAN WE ARRIVE AT COMMON BELIEFS


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RESTORATION: A BIBLICAL HEREMENEUTIC AND DIVISION IN THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT

  • Nehemiah 8:13-18 And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law. (14) And they found written in the law which the LORD had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month: (15) And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written. (16) So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim. (17) And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness. (18) Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner.


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RESTORATION: A HISTORICAL HERMENEUTIC AND DIVISION IN THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT

  • Those who model their teachings upon the pattern of the Scriptures cannot be said to teach according to the whims of their own feelings, but those who go to work without resting on the authority of the sacred writings, contrary to Paul’s directions to Timothy. . . . [II Tim. 3:14] Timothy had learned from Paul, and Paul from Christ, but both had been led by the same spirit into the knowledge of holy things. . . . Those who give assent unto flesh and blood, regulate their teachings according to their own sweet will; those who give assent unto the spirit of God sweetly breathing from the Holy Scriptures and ever freshly blooming, regulate their teaching according to the thought and purpose of God. And He is by no means of recent origin, for the prophet called him the Ancient of days. . . . They therefore, who refer all things to His purpose, and examined all things by the standard of His thought, do not set up (270) a new standard, but go back to the old, old one, as Jeremiah also urges [vi., 16’] “Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein.”

  • From “Defence Called Archeletes” published in 1522 in Zurich. Samuel Macauley Jackson, ed., The Latin Works and the Correspondence of Huldreich Zwingli, Vol. 1 (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1912), p. 271.


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POSTMODERNISM—MODERN GNOSTICISM AND DIVISION IN THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT

  • The tendencies of postmodernism include (1) a rejection of traditional authority, (2) radical experimentation--in some cases bordering on gimmickry, (3) eclecticism and multiculturalism, . . .Modernism hoped to tear down tradition and longed to build something better in its ruins. Postmodernism, on the other hand, is often suspicious of scientific claims, and often denies the possibility or desirability of establishing any objective truths and shared cultural standards. It usually embraces pluralism and spurns monolithic beliefs, and it often borders on solipsism.L. Kip Wheeler inLiterary Vocabulary, web.cn.edu/kwheeler/lit_terms.html


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A NEW HERMENEUTIC FOR THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT AND DIVISION IN THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT

  • “A cultural shift in the West is occurring. It gives no evidence of being a passing fad. Its roots lie early in the twentieth century and its effects should be felt for generation to come. The gains and methods of science will not be lost in the coming centuries. But, there is considerable evidence that people are beginning to view (50) knowledge and the world differently.” (51)

  • Jeff W. Childers, Douglas A. Foster, and Jack H. Reese, The Crux of the Matter (Abilene: ACU Press, 2001), pp. 50-51.


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A NEW HERMENEUTIC FOR THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT AND DIVISION IN THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT

  • “That they [those in the 19th century restoration movement] allowed Scripture to play such a role is praiseworthy. Their confidence in the ability of human reason to arrive at interpretations everyone would accept has turned out to be problematic, yet they demonstrated a humble and right attitude when they deliberately put themselves under Scripture and fearlessly began to examine everything by it.”

  • Jeff W. Childers, Douglas A. Foster, and Jack H. Reese, The Crux of the Matter (Abilene: ACU Press, 2001), p. 60.


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ABANDONING THE HERMENEUTIC OF COMMON SENSE AND DIVISION IN THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT

Michael W. Casey, The Battle Over Hermeneutics in the Stone-Campbell Movement, 1800-1870 (Lewiston: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1998)

CHALLENGE NO. 1

“For the practitioner of restoration theology in the Stone-Campbell movement, the most serious question this study raises is the validity of the rationalistic restoration hermeneutic. Two challenges face the tradition. The entire Enlightenment project and its epistemological foundationalism are under attack and have been discredited in many academic circles. The normative vocabulary of American Common Sense philosophy has also been discredited. Given the extent that restoration hermeneutics is grounded in the Enlightenment and the normative language of Common Sense, can an alternative restoration hermeneutic be constructed? (p. 268)


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ABANDONING THE HERMENEUTIC OF COMMON SENSE AND DIVISION IN THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT

Michael W. Casey, The Battle Over Hermeneutics in the Stone-Campbell Movement, 1800-1870 (Lewiston: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1998)

CHALLENGE NO. 1

“The entire Enlightenment project and its epistemological foundationalism are under attack and have been discredited in many academic circles. The normative vocabulary of American Common Sense philosophy has also been discredited. (p. 268)


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ABANDONING THE HERMENEUTIC OF COMMON SENSE AND DIVISION IN THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT

Michael W. Casey, The Battle Over Hermeneutics in the Stone-Campbell Movement, 1800-1870 (Lewiston: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1998)

CHALLENGE NO. 1

“The entire Enlightenment project and its epistemological foundationalism are under attack and have been discredited in many academic circles. The normative vocabulary of American Common Sense philosophy has also been discredited. (p. 268)


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ABANDONING THE HERMENEUTIC OF COMMON SENSE AND DIVISION IN THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT

CHALLENGE NO. 2

“The second challenge is that the tradition hermeneutic of command, example, and necessary inference is not found in the Old and New Testament, but is grounded in the human history of Reformed theology, Scottish Common Sense philosophy and logic, and the nineteenth century American culture. It is not a ‘divine’ hermeneutic insulated from the ‘chaos’ of history. If the idea of (p. 268) restoration theology is to remain viable . . . what should the hermeneutic be? This is the most serious challenge facing the tradition today. A failure to address this question means that the tradition is now dead, having rejected its purpose and goals.” (p. 269)


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RETHINKING THE ENLIGHTENMENT AND THE BACONIAN HERMENEUTIC AND DIVISION IN THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT

  • THE AGE OF REASON (1500-1800)

    • Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

      • Inductive Reasoning (the scientific method)

      • Empirical investigation, conclusions based on evidence and tested by reason

      • Command, example, necessary inference

    • The scientific revolution and Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

    • Thomas Bayes (1702-1761)

      • Probability Theory


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The Hermeneutic AND DIVISION IN THE RESTORATION MOVEMENTof Common Sense

  • 1. Are we following an outmoded “Baconian hermeneutic?”

    • Objective (rational) and subjective (emotional) understandings always coexist in history

    • Francis Bacon (1561-1626) explored the “scientific method” and inductive reasoning (Novum Organum, 1620)

    • “The intellect of Bacon was one of the most powerful and searching ever possessed by man, and his developments of the inductive philosophy revolutionised the future thought of the human race.” John W. Cousins, ed., A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature (London: J. M. Dent & Company, 1910)

    • Predecessor of Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

    • Consider the accomplishments of modern rationalism in the era of the Enlightenment

      • Science and the banishment of medieval mysticism

      • Rejection of Roman Catholic superstition and other “Gnosticisms” and “Romanticisms”

  • 2. The decline of Postmodernism and Deconstruction in academia


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Conference on Literary Theory—University of Chicago AND DIVISION IN THE RESTORATION MOVEMENT

  • “I would make the argument that most criticism—and I would include Noam Chomsky in this—is a poison pill. . . . I think one must be careful in assuming that intellectuals have some kind of insight. In fact, if the track record of intellectuals is any indication, not only have intellectuals been wrong almost all of the time, but they have been wrong in corrosive and destructive ways.” Sander Gilman, University of Illinois at Chicago quoted in Emily Eakin, “The Latest Theory is that Theory Doesn’t Matter,” New York Times, April 19, 2003, p. A17


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The Hermeneutic of Common Sense—Bypassing Intellectual Elites

  • “I have known people who are working class or craftsmen, who happen to be more intellectual than professors. If you are working 50 hours a week in a factory, you don’t have time to read 10 newspapers a day and go back to declassified government archives. But such people may have far-reaching insights into the way the world works.”

Noam Chomsky quoted in Deborah Solomon, “The Professorial Provocateur,” New York Times, November 2, 2003.


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The Baconian Hermeneutic Elitesand Common Sense

1. A sense possessed by all human beings in common—salvation not dependent on elites

2. The basis of law and order in society

3. It is not necessary to understand models of how common sense works (command, example, necessary inference)--hermeneutics

4. Asking good questions; following directions


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PROBABILITY THINKING: ANOTHER ENLIGHTENMENT CONCEPT Elites

  • Thinking about God and His directions with our common sense

  • Thomas Bayes (1702-1761)

  • Emily Eakin, “So God’s Really in the Details,” New York Times, May 11, 2002, pp. A17, 19.


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Richard Swinburne (Oxford University) at Yale Conference Elites

  • “Thanks to the efforts of Mr. Swinburne and a handful of other nimble scholarly minds . . . religious belief no longer languishes in a state of philosophical disrepute. Deploying a range of sophisticated logical arguments developed over the last 25 years, Christian philosophers have revived faith as a subject of rigorous academic debate, steadily chipping away at the assumption—all but axiomatic in philosophy since the Enlightenment—that belief in God is logically indefensible.”


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Thomas Bayes and Bayes Theorem Elites

  • The predictive features of Bayesian Systems' products are based on a fundamental principal of logic known as Bayes’ theorem. This principle was discovered in 1761 by the Englishman Thomas Bayes, and brought into its modern form shortly thereafter by the great French mathematician Pierre Simon de Laplace.

  • Properly understood, the theorem is the fundamental mathematical law governing the process of logical inference—determining what degree of confidence we may have, in various possible conclusions, based on the body of evidence available. This is exactly the process of predictive reasoning; therefore, to arrive at a logically defensible prediction one must use Bayes’ theorem.


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Thomas Bayes and Bayes Theorem Elites

  • P (h/e&k) = P (e/h&k) P (h/k)

    P (e/k)

  • 1. Used to forecast insurance

  • 2. Used to predict economics and consumer spending

  • 3. Used by professional gamblers


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Calculating the Odds Elites

The universe is evidence of a Divine God—and the Bible is His word

BAYSIAN ODDS ARE 97%


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The Hermeneutical Dilemma—Can It Be Done? Elites

Luke10:26He said unto him, What is written in the law?how readest thou? 27And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. 28And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

Luke 10:25And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

BIBLICAL HERMENEUTICS IS ASKING GOOD QUESTIONS AND GETTING GOD’S ANSWERS


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Is It Possible? The Hermeneutic of Deconstruction Elites

  • Luke29But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

Luke 10:36Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 37And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him,Go, and do thou likewise.


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Asking Wrong Questions Elites

  • John 4:20Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.

21Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.


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Asking Wrong Questions: the Pentecostal Dilemma-Heb. 2:3-4 Elites

  • 3How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; 4God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?


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Asking Wrong Questions: the Pentecostal Dilemma—Mark 16:15-18

15And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

17And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

18They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.


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Asking Wrong Questions:the Amish Dilemma—I Cor. 9:20-23 16:15-18

  • 20And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law. . . . 22To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.


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Asking Good Questions—the church of God—I Tim. 3:15 16:15-18

  • 15But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.


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What is a Church of Christ—Good Question 16:15-18

  • I Cor. 4:17For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.

  • I Cor. 7:17But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.

  • I Cor. 11:16But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

  • I Cor. 16:1Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.


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SUMMARY 16:15-18

  • 1. Recent attacks on the “Baconian hermeneutic” have been deeply influenced by postmodernism, a modern recycling of subjective thinking that looks very much like a latter-day Gnosticism. Every age has such anti-rational movements. For those who do not like authority, or who disapprove of the limits imposed by authority, it is useful to assert that there is no common truth.


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SUMMARY 16:15-18

  • 2. It is ironic that the central culprit in the attacks on restoration thinking (including the concepts of command, example, and necessary inference) is the Enlightenment, the extraordinary era of discovery and reason that laid the foundation for modern science. While one may not be interested in the hermeneutical theories of Francis Bacon, or the probability formula of Thomas Bayes, it is absurd to dismiss the insights and accomplishments of these intellectual giants on the basis of the sloppy subjectivism of postmodernism. The scientific method that calls for observation, drawing object and rational conclusion, and testing the results is healthy and well at the beginning of the 21st century.


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SUMMARY 16:15-18

  • 3. Interpreting the world around us is a matter of common sense. All human beings make judgments based on observation and rational testing. One does not need to understand any hermeneutical model to use his or her powers of observation and logical reasoning. Throughout our lives we learn by instruction, example, and inferences. We also make probability judgments based on the accumulation of convincing evidence.


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SUMMARY 16:15-18

  • 4. The Biblical hermeneutic is simple and direct. If you ask a good question about God’s will, the way to find the answer is to listen to all that the Scriptures reveal on that matter.


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SUMMARY 16:15-18

  • 5. If these assumptions are correct, interpreting the scriptures is a straightforward matter of using our common sense in the same way that we use it throughout life to make decisions. When you ask an important question, you act on the basis of the best evidence you can gather. The issue, then, is whether we are asking good questions.


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