dispensationalism hermeneutics

Keyser Soze, Gandalf and the Uniying Principle

Charts! It’s time for chats!

Clarifies the OT

Here you have an example of the writers of the Old Testament having a purpose behind writing their scriptures but the Divine Author’s intended and fuller meaning was found in the New Testament. So what these folk do is take the New Testament via the Revealed Christ and look back at the Old Testament to find clarification of the text. Since Christ arrived, they might say, everything before was all pointing to Him. The words mean what they say but only so far as they are a shadow of and His revelation. The Old Testament Text portrays the type and Christ (or the Church) is the great anti-type revealed. The hermeneutical starting point is the New Testament. The Unifying Principle is essentially theological.

Here you have an example of the Old Testament writer having a sense of the whole picture, but not fully seeing the whole picture. This method underscores progressive history by acknowledging the points that the Old Testament doesn’t see the full details and which the New Testament winds up revealing. They see the seed which eventually blossoms into the revelation of God encompassed in the person of Christ as the great Hinge Point of History. The New Testament then identifies things in the Old Testament not by clarification but by identifying the form. So here if the New Testament doesn’t complete the earlier seed theology the future will complete it with the Christ being the means of that provision. The rose in its bud form is seen in the Old Testament, blossoms in the New with Christ at its center and finally shines in all its glory in the future with the culmination of all specific things (this is including the things that were spoken of in the Old Testament that wound up not being fulfilled in the New Testament). The Unifying Principle is essentially epochal.

Here you have the Old Testament having a human intent behind its writing, the resultant interpretations that the Covenant Community came up with, the revelation of Christ and the Holy Spirit revealing connections and new revelation to the New Testament authors who subsequently put this stuff down in text form. The Old Testament authors, with all of the revelation they had available, didn’t have the benefit of God’s subsequent revelation throughout redemptive History, how certain concepts took on a tighter form than the Biblical texts , how Christ pulled back the curtain on some of these things, and finally the indwelling Holy Spirit. The textual documents (Old and New Testament) are inextricably tied but the New Testament has added (or expanded) things from the Old Testament (but never abrogates things in the Old Testament). The starting point here is also the Old Testament. The Unifying Principal is essentially Progressively Theological (so it’s theological component is grounded on epochal revelation while ensuring that the previous revelation still stands).

The distinction between these views is not their Literal-Historical hermeneutic (since all of these views read the text literally). The distinction between these views is not that one is Christ centered while the others have Christ off-center (pejorative nonsense): every single one of these interpretative views have Christ as their center. The distinction between these views is how they see the connection of the canon — how the Old Testament (books) and the New Testament (books) are threaded together. So when the proponents of Chart 1 read literally they see the previous text (in broad strokes) literally pointing to a specific theological concept. The proponents of Chart 2 would read the literally (in tight strokes) literally delineating several things that are to be revealed in time. The proponents of Chart 3 reading literally acknowledge the in-time theological revelation of the previous day and then acknowledge the summation of revelation and the expansion of revelation the addition of revelation and the continuation of revelation found in the New Testament.

In other words: chart one is watching The Usual Suspects after you’ve seen it the first time. You will always know Keyser Söze and you won’t be able to focus on any of the details early on in the movie besides the fact that you know who it is. Charts two and three is reading the Silmarillion and knowing that it all links up to Lord of the Rings but even reading Lord of the Rings tells you there’s a huge story going on.

Now I’m covering this with wildly broad strokes including the charts that I took (but redesigned) from Three Central Issues in Dispensationalism. If you want to read more into this sort of thing you can check out th book I just mentioned including Dispensationalism, Israel and the Church and maybe Progressive Dispensationalism though most of the discussion is found in the previous two books I listed.

Frankly this is all a parenthesis (if you allow the term with some self poking) at what I’m getting ready to do.

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