Sunday, April 06, 2008

Bad Questions to Ask When Establishing Doctrinal Boundaries

Wayne Grudem's article in the recent 9Marks E-Journal on separation and cooperation offered some helpful suggestions for establishing new boundaries as the theological landscape shifts. Perhaps the most helpful was his discussion of questions we shouldn't be asking when we make these sorts of decisions. It seems to me that his advice has equal application to evangelicals and fundamentalists. Here it is:

There are some questions that should not be part of our consideration in deciding which doctrinal matters to exclude with new boundaries. For example:

“Are the advocates my friends?”
“Are they nice people?”
“Will we lose money or members if we exclude them?”

Such questions are grounded in a wrongful fear of man, not in a fear of God and trust in God.


Wally Morris said...

In Grudem's Syst Th, the section [pp.529-532] on the virgin birth doesn't have any discussion or even a reference to Is 7:14. Through email, I asked Dr. Grudem about this, and he said he believed Is 7:14 did teach the virgin birth. When I responded as to why he didn't discuss the verse in his Syst Th, he never answered. I guess that's a "bad question".

Bruce said...

He obviously believes in the doctrine of the virgin birth of Christ (as published), and he told you that he believes that Isaiah 7:14 supports this. Upon receiving another challenge from you, he may have started to think that he's trading emails with a person who's more interested in trying to nail him to the wall than really understanding his theology, hermeneutics, the nature of prophecy, the use of the OT in the NT, etc.

This may not be an accurate representation of your contact with him, but it doesn't seem like a long shot, seeing as how you've taken this thread from being a positive emphasis on healthy separatism to a personal accusation against a conservative theologian on what may be something as minimal as an editorial decision.