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EDITIONS:

1. CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY DEFINED
2. CORPORATE PRAYER
3. AUTHORITY OF THE WORD
4. INTERPRETING THE WORD
5. UNDERSTANDING THE WORD
6. END TIME FERVOR
7. LOVING NOT OUR SOULS TO DEATH
8. KEEPING ALIVE THE ORIGINAL SPIRIT
9. RECOGNIZING REVIVAL
10. HINDRANCES AND CATALYSTS TO REVIVAL
11. TESTING THE SPIRITS
12. INTERCESSION
13. INTERCESSORY PRAYER WARFARE
14. THE CROSS-LIFE
15. WORSHIP
16. WORSHIP II
17. THE INCARNATION
18. DIVINE PROTECTION
19. DIVINE GUIDANCE
20. WILL OF GOD
21. THE FEAR OF GOD
22. WHAT IS TRUTH?
23. JESUS THE ULTIMATE TRUTH
24. LIVING A LIFE OF TRUTH
25 SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT
26. THE OLD TESTAMENT AND NEW
27. THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD


CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY
THE E-ZINE

First published by Christian Publications, Inc.,
3825 Hartzdale Drive,
Camp Hill, Pennsylvania 17011

Republished by www.kneillfoster.com 2005.
K. Neill Foster, Publisher
Paul L. King, Editor
A.W. Tozer, 1897-1963,
Editorial Voice

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE:
NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by the International Bible Society. Scripture labeled KJV is from the King James Version.

Welcome to Classic Christianity

First published by Christian Publications, Inc., 3825 Hartzdale Drive,Camp Hill, Pennsylvania 17011 Republished by www.kneillfoster.com in 2005. K. Neill Foster, Publisher. Paul L. King, Editor. A.W. Tozer, 1897-1963, Editorial Voice.


WELCOME TO:
CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY/THE E-ZINE


#4 CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY/THE INDEX
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1) THE PUBLISHER ON "NEW HERMENEUTICS AS THE NEW MEDIATOR"
2) THE EDITOR ON "HOW TO WIELD THE WORD WISELY"
3) A.W. TOZER ON "TRUTH HAS TWO WINGS"
4) A.T. PIERSON ON "THE WORD AS ITS OWN INTERPRETER"
5) CHURCH FATHER IRENAEUS ON "TWISTED INTERPRETATION OF SCRIPTURE"
6) MARTIN LUTHER ON "INTERPRETING WELL"
7) RECOMMENDED READING: THE TOZER CD-ROM LIBRARY
8) JOHN CALVIN ON "PLAYING TENNIS WITH SCRIPTURE"
9) HENRY ALFORD ON "RIGHT USE OF THE GOSPELS"
10) CHARLES SPURGEON ON "HOW TO HANDLE THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT"
11) JOSEPH PARKER ON "NEEDING AN INTERPRETER EVERY DAY"
12) R.A. TORREY ON "DIFFICULTIES IN INTERPRETATION"
13) RECOMMENDED READING: TOZER TOPICAL READER
14) JOHN A. MACMILLAN ON "BIBLICAL CRITICISM"
15) SAMUEL CHADWICK ON "BALANCING SCHOLARSHIP AND SPIRITUAL TRUTH"
16) QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS


1) THE PUBLISHER ON "NEW HERMENEUTICS AS THE NEW MEDIATOR"

Hermeneutics is an honorable theological exercise. However, "agenda hermeneutics" I have in the crosshairs. The multiplication of hermeneutical methods today means that the possible interpretations of Scripture are multiplied in exact ratio to the number of methods. There is plenty of peril in that, since finally no one knows what God really has said in His Word. My guess is that there are presently dozens of suggested methods of interpretation.

It is time to think again of the Reformation and the truth rescued by the reformers from obscurity called the priesthood of all believers. Essentially, they affirmed that plain men might read plain Scripture and plainly understand it. (That is sometimes called the "perspicuity of Scripture," and perhaps another edition of CLASSIC-CHRISTIANITY will get to that!) The priesthood of all believers is not compatible with with elaborate hermeneutical theories because those theories without exception insert an interpreter between the Scriptures and the believer. Suddenly the chief error of Rome has reconstituted itself--the newest mediator being, not Mary, but the hermeneutical adventurer. It is time to settle once again upon the grammatical-historical method which has been the Protestant method for centuries. There is still great value in the old saying, "If the literal sense makes common sense, then seek no other sense." The Bible has poetry, symbolism and prophetic sections too, and they all fit comfortably with the grammatical-historical method.

The new "playing hermeneutics" game invariably offers a route around the plain speech of a bothersome Scripture, just as "corban" offered the Pharisees a way to avoid the plain meaning of the Bible and their duties to their parents. Cultural, anthropological or gender hermeneutics, to name just a few all have the same "corban"-like effect, turning Scripture on its head to achieve the desired end, undoing at last, the stalwart work of Martin Luther and John Calvin. Beware dear friends, of the new interpreters.


2) THE EDITOR ON "HOW TO WIELD THE WORD WISELY"

This issue deals with classic thoughts on hermeneutics, how to interpret the Bible properly. There is great need today for expert swordsmanship, "rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15, KJV). In the art of fencing, a person needs to know how and when to jab, thrust, slice, block, etc. Likewise, we need to know how to wield the sword of the Spirit deftly. The great classic leaders were masters of the art of wielding the Word of God wisely.

In addition, as iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17), these classic writers provide a whetstone for sharpening our use of the sword of the Spirit. Battles for the Bible against modern higher criticism have dulled the edge of our sword. Going back to the ancient trustworthy paths sharpens the Word once again. The sharper our knowledge of how to use the Word of God and the more accurate our swordplay, the more powerful the effects of the Word to discern the thoughts and intentions of our hearts, and to instruct, reprove, correct and train in righteousness (Hebrews 4:12; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). Let these masters give you pointers in more skillful handling of the word of truth.


3) A.W. TOZER (1897-1963) ON "TRUTH HAS TWO WINGS"

Truth is like a bird; it cannot fly on one wing. . . . Dr. G. Campbell Morgan said that the whole truth does not lie in "It is written," but in "It is written" and "Again it is written." The second text must be placed over against the first to balance it and give it symmetry, just as the right wing must work with the left to balance the bird and enable it to fly. . . . Truth has two wings. Many of the doctrinal divisions among churches are the result of a blind and stubborn insistence that truth has but one wing. Each side holds tenaciously to one text, refusing grimly to acknowledge the validity of the other. . . . Lack of balance in the Christian life is often the direct consequence of overemphasis on certain favorite texts, with a corresponding underemphasis on other related ones. . . . Let's use both wings. We'll get farther that way.

A.W. Tozer, THAT INCREDIBLE CHRISTIAN (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1964), 59, 61.


4) A.T. PIERSON (1837-1911) ON "THE WORD AS ITS OWN INTERPRETER"

The Word is its own interpreter, one part adjusting or confirming another; and often its own lexicon, defining its terms; and its own commentary, expounding its meaning.

A.T. Pierson, as quoted in "Expounding the Word," THE ALLIANCE WEEKLY, August 3, 1946, 482.


5) CHURCH FATHER IRENAEUS (120-202) ON "TWISTED INTERPRETATION OF SCRIPTURE"

Such, then, is the system, which neither the prophets announced, nor the Lord taught, nor the apostles delivered, but of which they [Gnostic heretics] boast that beyond all others they have a perfect knowledge. They gather their views from other sources than the Scriptures. To use a common proverb, they strive to weave ropes of sand, while they endeavor with an air of probability to adapt to their own peculiar assertions to the parables of the Lord, the sayings of the prophets, and the words of the apostles. This is in order that their scheme may not seem altogether without support. In doing so, however, they disregard the order and the connection of the Scriptures, and so dismember and destroy the truth. By transferring passages, and dressing them up anew, and making one thing out of another, they succeed in deluding many through their wicked art in adapting the oracles of the Lord to their opinions. . . . In like manner do these persons patch together old wives' fables, from their proper connection, words, expressions, and parables whenever found, to adapt the oracles of God to their baseless fictions.

Irenaeus, "Against Heresies," Chapter VIII, ANTE-NICENE FATHERS, ed., Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1979), 1:326


6) MARTIN LUTHER ON (1483-1546) "INTERPRETING WELL"

The literal sense of Scripture alone is the whole essence of faith and of Christian theology. . . . The best teacher is the one who does not bring his meaning into Scripture but gets his meaning from the Scripture.[1]

Every word should be allowed to stand in its natural meaning, and that should not be abandoned unless faith forces us to it.[2]

While a preacher may preach Christ with edification though he may be unable to read the Scriptures in the originals, he cannot expound or maintain their teaching against the heretics without this indispensable knowledge.[3]

If you will interpret well and securely, take Christ with you, for He is the man whom everything concerns.[4]

[1] Martin Luther, cited by F.W. Farrar, HISTORY OF INTERPRETATION (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1961), 327, 475.

[2] Martin Luther, cited by C.A. Briggs, HISTORY OF THE STUDY OF THEOLOGY (New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1916), 2:107.

[3] Martin Luther, cited by Bernard Ramm, PROTESTANT BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1970), 54-55.

[4] Martin Luther, cited by H.P. Smith, ESSAYS IN BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION, 78 (cited by Ramm, 56).


7) RECOMMENDING READING: THE TOZER CD-ROM LIBRARY

THE TOZER CD-ROM LIBRARY

What could be more useful or spiritually invigorating than a Tozer CD which contains over fifty works (books and booklets) of A.W. Tozer plus several books by A.B. Simpson? Includes Parsons Quick Verse Library TM and is STEP compatible. Platform: Windows R 95/98. Version 3.0, boxed package shrink-wrapped 0-87509-868-1

Order from Christian Publications by calling 1-800-233-4443 (in North America) or fax 1-717-761-7273 or web: www.christianpublications.com.


8) JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564) ON "PLAYING TENNIS WITH SCRIPTURE"

It is the first business of an interpreter to let his author say what he does, instead of attributing to him what we think he ought to say.[1]

Truly the word of God ought to be so revered by us that through a diversity of interpretation it might not be torn apart by us, no not so much as the width of a hair. . . . It is an audacity akin to sacrilege to use the Scriptures at our own pleasure and to play with them as with a tennis ball, which many before us have done.[2]

[1]John Calvin, cited by F.W. Farrar, 347.

[2]John Calvin, cited by K. Fullerton, PROPHECY AND AUTHORITY, 134 (cited by Ramm, 58).


9) HENRY ALFORD (1810-1871) ON "RIGHT USE OF THE GOSPELS"

Approach the Holy Gospels from the side of trust and love, and not from that of distrust and unchristian doubt. . . . Depend upon it, FAITH is the great primary requisite for the right use of the Gospels.

Henry Alford, HOW TO STUDY THE NEW TESTAMENT, 13 (cited by Ramm, 13.)

Editor's note: Alford was editor of THE EXPOSITOR'S GREEK TESTAMENT and author of the hymn "Come, Ye Thankful People, Come."


10) CHARLES SPURGEON (1834-1892) ON "HOW TO HANDLE THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT"

How to handle this sword of "It is written?" First, with deepest reverence. . . . Never trifle with it; never try to evade its force or change its meaning. . . . Next have it always ready. . . . Have the Scriptures at your fingertips. Better yet, have them in the center of your heart. . . . Endeavor also to understand its meaning and so to understand it that you can discern between its meaning and its perversion. Half the mischief in the world--and perhaps more--is not done by an ostensible lie but by a perverted truth. The devil, knowing this, takes a text of Scripture, clips it, adds to it, and attacks Christ with it. . . .

When you have appropriated the texts to yourself, stand by them whatever they may cost you. If to give up the text would make stones into bread, do not give it up. If to reject the precept would enable you to fly through the air like a seraph, do not reject it. If to go against the Word of God would make you emperor of the entire world, do not accept the bribes. Go as far as the Bible but not an inch beyond it. Though Calvin should beckon you and you esteem him, or Wesley should beckon, and you esteem him, keep to the Scripture only.

Charles Spurgeon, SPIRITUAL WARFARE IN A BELIEVER'S LIFE, compiled and edited by Robert Hall (Lynnwood, WA: Emerald Books, 1993), 81-83.


11) JOSEPH PARKER (1830-1902) ON "NEEDING AN INTERPRETER EVERY DAY"

We need the interpreter every day. We say, Affliction, and he says, I will interpret that word to you; it needs interpretation, it is a very bitter word, but affliction being interpreted is chastening, refining, sanctifying, making meet for the Master's use. The Cross being interpreted is law, righteousness, pardon, redemption, atonement, salvation. Being misinterpreted, it is to one class a sneer, to another an offense, to another foolishness; but to believe its interpretation at its best, it is the power and salvation of God.

Joseph Parker, sermon. "The Interpreter," CITY TEMPLE PULPIT (London, 1899), 40-47.

Editor's note: Parker was a great pulpit master of London along with Spurgeon.


12) R.A. TORREY (1856-1928) ON "DIFFICULTIES IN INTERPRETATION"

The Holy Spirit Himself anticipated all these modern, ingenious but unbiblical and false theories. . . . The more carefully and minutely one studies the word of the statements made in the Bible, the more he will become convinced of the marvelous accuracy of the words that were used to produced the thoughts. . . . It is a very significant fact that our difficulties with the Bible rapidly disappear when we come to notice the precise language that is used. The change of a word or a letter, of a tense, case, or number often lands a person in contradiction or untruth. However, by taking the words just as they were written, difficulties disappear, and the truth shines forth. The more microscopically we study the Bible, the more clearly . . . we see its perfection of form as well as of substance.

R.A. Torrey, THE BIBLE ANSWER BOOK (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 1999), 26-27.


13) RECOMMENDED READING: TOZER TOPICAL READER

TOZER TOPICAL READER

Compiler Ron Eggert has produced a comprehensive 700-page, 1,337-entry, two-volume set that classifies Tozer's published works under various topical headings. Scripture referencing and indexing is also included. An indispensable source for pastors, teachers, speakers and devotional readers. Foreword by Warren Wiersbe. Two-volume set, Cloth. 0-87509-838-X


14) JOHN A. MACMILLAN (1873-1956) ON "BIBLICAL CRITICISM"

Multitudes of critical and expository volumes have been issued throughout the years with a view to interpreting the Bible. Some of these are good, the majority are indifferent in their spiritual value, many are bad in the looseness of their teaching concerning the fundamental truths of salvation. There are few from which the inquiring mind cannot glean something that will be of use. Professor Henry Drummond once said that he received most help from the heterodox books, as they produced a stimulation of mind that was often lacking in those that were wholly orthodox. The danger of his method, however, was demonstrated in the fact that he himself became far from sound in his attitude towards Bible truth.

John A. MacMillan, "Understanding the Scriptures," THE ALLIANCE WEEKLY, Dec. 7, 1940, 771


15) SAMUEL CHADWICK (1860-1932) ON "BALANCING SCHOLARSHIP AND SPIRITUAL TRUTH"

Pentecost gave me the key to the Scriptures. It has kept my feet in all the slippery places of all sorts of criticism. The things that are stumbling blocks to so many are stepping stones to me. The inexplicable becomes plain when we recognize the presence and law of the Spirit. It balances scholarship, and gives discernment beyond all human learning. Indeed, learning without the Holy Ghost blinds men to the realities of divine truth. The man who thinks he can know the Word of God by mere intellectual study is greatly deceived. Spiritual truth is spiritually discerned.

Samuel Chadwick, quoted in "Understanding the Scriptures," THE ALLIANCE WEEKLY, Dec. 7, 1940, 771.

Editor's Note: Chadwick was Principal of Cliff College, Sheffield, England.
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16) QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Q: What are the differences in the Higher Life, Keswick and Wesleyan views of sanctification you mentioned last issue?

A: All three views believed in an empowering of the Spirit (called baptism or filling of the Spirit, or crisis of sanctification). Wesleyans
believed in "eradication," the elimination of the old man of sin and consequent state of Christian perfection (perfect love). The Keswick view varied, but most commonly taught "suppression" of and victory over the old man of sin. The Higher Life view, expressed especially by A.B. Simpson, was sanctification by "habitation" by the "Christ-life," "Christ in you the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27). Another way of expressing it is the law of lift overcoming the law of gravity, and is both a crisis and a progressive sanctification. The view espoused here is Higher Life.

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VOL. I, ISSUE 4, October 1, 1999. Published every other month 2/1; 4/1; 6/1; 8/1; 10/1; 12/1. Archives on www.kneillfoster.com.
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Copyright 1999, Christian Publications, Inc. Republished by www.kneillfoster.com 2005.