Over on my blog 'Mary' and I have been going round and round about my view that virgins should marry 'in their youth’. Among other things that I have noticed in the discussion is that her view of the ‘Sufficiency of Scripture’ differs from mine.
I have noticed this same difference in multiple discussions, and I thought I would try to outline what I see as the differences, and why I disagree with her position.
There are really two issues, although vitally related. The first is this: does the ‘sufficiency of Scripture’ mean that Scripture does speak to every topic? My answer is ‘yes’, it does. It is not exhaustive, obviously. It does not spell out the genetic code for each individual, for example. However it does speak to our genetics; saying, for example, that we each produce ‘after our kind’… dogs have dog genetic code which produces more dogs, etc.
Sometimes we need to find out what Scripture says about something through a comparison process with what it says about something else. Paul pointed out that the Old Testament commanded that elders be paid for their work… by pointing to a passage that said that oxen should be allowed to eat from the grain they are treading.
The second issue is the ‘default’ issue. Each of us comes to Scripture with our own set of ‘defaults’… things that we like, or have done, that we tend to read Scripture as allowing or promoting. We become blind to Scriptures, especially oblique ones but even fairly direct passages, that forbid or limit the activities we are engaged in. We also fail to recognize that other people, and other cultures, have different ‘defaults’ which are not necessarily any better or worse supported than our defaults.
Putting these two issues together we end up with a devestating attack on the sufficiency of Scripture, and its work in our lives. We take our assumptions, treat them as the ‘default’ and assume there is no evidence to the contrary in Scripture.
What I propose we should do is:
A) Question all of our assumptions and traditions.
B) Assume that Scripture speaks to each and every question of our life and
C) Examine each of the possibilities against Scripture, not merely one of them.
D) Then proceed on our best understanding, not our ‘default’ position.
So, for example, let us say that you belong to a culture, or family, or church, that does X. Then one day you become aware that X is not the only way of doing things… there is also Y and Z. So I believe you should:
A) Question doing X.
B) Assume that Scripture does give advice and counsel and even commandments applicable to choosing between X and Y and Z
C) Examine the Scriptural pros and cons for each of these. Is there anything X like in Scripture, Y like, in favor of Z… opposed to Z, hostile to Y, forbidding X? Did any Godly men do X or Y or Z? Were they condemned or praised for doing so?
D) Then, looking at all the evidence, and ignoring the ‘default’ of X, make your decision of what to do.
Read more articles by vaughn ohlman or search for articles on the same topic or others.