Re: Scripture as Guidelines or Rules

Jan de Koning (
Tue, 03 Feb 1998 15:08:08 -0500

At 10:01 AM 03/02/98 +0100, Janet Rice wrote:
>Keith Miller wrote:
>> Scripture does not provide
>>specific prescriptions but general guidelines.
>If a lurker may ask a question about Keith's point - is this the general
>understanding within evangelical Christian thought, i.e. that scripture
>provides guidelines but not specific answers?
>The church I attend, which is part of Presbyterian Church USA - and I know
>is considered to be a fairly liberal church - would say that indeed that is
>correct. But when I listen to friends and family who attend churches that
>are considered more conservative - and who do stress the importance of the
>Bible perhaps more than my church does - I get the impression, perhaps
>erroneously, that scripture is considered as the final word - indeed, a
>rule book, if you will. I used to also listen to the radio show "the Bible
>Answer Man" and I remember very distinctly that the gentlemen who run that
>show were very much against the concept of situational ethics and propose
>that scripture is not guidelines or suggestions but does provide basic
>rules. Again, I don't mean to put words in someone elses's mouth and may
>well have misunderstood their points (in Austin traffic it is difficult to
>give one's full attention), but I am curious.
>Janet Rice

My answer is that Scripture is the final word alright, but the Bible is not
a book of rules. The gospels are showing how Jesus interpreted rules,
sometimes by saying that the old rules were such and such, but I tell you,
and then follows Jesus interpretation or even the changing of a "rule." In
general I believe that we have to live the same way. In other words: Live
by the "rule" of love, as Jesus showed us. I realize, that we are sinners
and are bound to do things wrong, but still the Bible as a whole, and
especially the NT stresses, that following Jesus means loving our God and
our neighbour.

What do the words "fairly liberal" really mean? Living in Canada and never
having beenin Texas, I am somewhat afraid of the designation "orthodox" as
well, since it sometimes means a living by rules and regulations. Some of
those don't even make sense.

Jan de Koning
Willowdale, Ont.