The Presuppositions of Sound Words
In America we have a saying "One never talks about religion or politics in public or at work." Although this is a basic presupposition of typical American thought, this is not a presupposition of Sound Words. Moreover, the giants in Church History, in addition to biblical accounts, would disagree vehemently. For example, who could forget the debates between Athanasius and the Arians or the debates between Augustine and Pelagius in the early church. Who could forget Luther and his 95 Theses? In fact, Luther's main purpose for his 95 Theses was theological debate. It was Luther who once said that he believed the purpose of theological debate was to arrive at the truth. However, in today's world theological debate is often looked down upon. Often times debate is labeled as unloving or divisive. People remember that Jesus said "Love your enemies" and they say things such as "I just want to love people." However, people forget that Jesus called his enemies vipers and hypocrites. In John Chapter 2, Jesus even interferes with their means of making a living. How does one reconcile the two? In retrospect, let us not forget that one of the qualities of Biblical love is a delight in truth. Here the two find their reconciliation.
Although theological debate is often impaired in its search for truth by anger and hurt feelings, it is the purpose of Sound Words to provide a way for us to arrive at truth with as little of these interferences as possible. The search is for truth. As Christians I think we can at least presuppose the scriptures to be truth. Scripture is made up of words. Words which make up sentences. These sentences convey ideas and concepts which demand conclusions. The history of scriptural interpretation has given us certain tools to use in the investigation of the Scriptures. It is these tools that Sound Words will presuppose in its investigation of Scripture. Please keep these in mind when reading the articles that are presented on this webpage. I think these tools are a necessary starting point for what I hope we can accomplish in this webpage. Moreover these tools reflect necessary inferences from Scripture concerning how we gather information. My intent is to try to iron out our differences theologically and arrive at truth. With that in mind and keeping in mind also the anger, or hurt feelings that many times come from this type of discourse I think this is a necessary first step for us if we are to make any progress ( 2 Timothy 1:7, 1:13, 1:16). Therefore anyone who submits material to Sound Words shall make serious and solemn protestation to maintain nothing but what he believes to be the truth in sincerity, when discovered unto him. Furthermore, what any man undertakes to prove as necessary, he shall prove and deduce from the Scriptures or deduce from plain reason.
Our first and most important laws that will govern the discourses presented on Sound Words are the three laws required for intelligent human discourse. These three laws are essential for us to be able to communicate intelligently and with a fair amount of order and progress. The three basic laws of intelligent human discourse are the law of non-contradiction, law of causality, and the basic reliability of sense perception. First, the law of non-contradiction states that A cannot be A and non-A at the same time and in the same relationship. It applies to the Christian section of Sound Words in that scripture doesn't contradict itself, although it can apply in other ways unforeseen as of yet. Next, we have the law of causality. The law of causality states that every effect must have a sufficient cause. For example, the sufficient cause for the effect of creation was God's verbal command. The basic reliability of sense perception is our final law for intelligent human discourse. This law states that human senses are basically reliable, not absolutely or infallibly reliable (i.e. 1 John 1:1-7). This law is important because we gather knowledge concerning the world around us with our senses. This includes biblical knowledge. Without any of my senses I can only be aware of my own existence. For example, we all see trees. They appear solid. However, we know that wood like everything else is made up of atoms which move from here to there.
Next, I would like to add a few more principals that will govern the material found in Sound Words. These principals come from the science of hermeneutics which is the science of interpreting scripture. They are as follows: The Analogy of Faith, and the Grammatico-Historical method of interpreting scripture. The Analogy of Faith is the principle that says that Scripture cannot be interpreted in a way that would render it in conflict or contradiction with another passage in scripture. Furthermore, vague parts of Scripture are interpreted by the clearer more explicit parts of scripture. The Grammatico-Historical Method of interpreting Scripture goes hand in hand with the Analogy of Faith. It is the method that states that first Scripture must be understood in its historical context before we try to apply its meaning to our situation. For example, Paul had particular purposes and reasons in mind when he gave certain guidelines concerning worship and other biblical topics. It is vital to understand these purposes and reasons before we can apply parts of Scripture to our lives. Thus, we have the historical part of The Grammatico-Historical Method. The Grammatico reminds us that we are to treat nouns as nouns and verbs as verbs. The Grammatico takes into account that scripture has different forms of writing such as: historical narrative, poetical, and apocryphal literature. Furthermore, we must understand that we can't interpret and understand apocryphal or poetical literature the same way we do the historical narratives that we have in Scripture.
In addition to these presuppositions I think that most of us can agree that God is Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent. That is All-knowing( he knows everything), All-present (there is no place that escapes his notice or attention) and All-powerful ( that is he has total control over all things in his creation). If you don't agree with these you are reading the wrong section of Sound Words. Moreover, I believe we may presuppose the orthodoxy of statements like the Nicene Creed which the church adopted at The Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. The Nicene Creed says:
We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds; God of God; Light of Light; Very God of Very God; Begotten, not made; being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made; Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven; And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man; And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried; And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures; And ascended into heaven; And sitteth on the right hand of the Father. And He shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.
And we believe in the Holy Ghost; The Lord and Giver of Life; Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified: Who spake by the prophets. And I believe one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins. And I look for the Resurrection of the dead; And the Life of the world to come. Amen.
In addition I believe we may presuppose justification by faith alone; Jesus was truly God and truly man; Jesus did physically die on the cross; and Jesus was raised on the third day. If you don't agree with these you may believe in some form of theism, but once again you are probably in the wrong section of Sound Words.
At this point, I would remind you that my intent is to find out what Scripture says about the topics we will undertake and that gentleness, lovingkindness and patience with each other is my utmost concern when dealing with these topics. I am as concerned as everyone else about proof or "spoof" texts. These are texts that people pull out of context to prove their view, not realizing the scripture they are referring to does not support their point of view. That is why I believe it is so important to establish what will govern our discussion. These laws were developed throughout the history of the church to prevent, as much as possible, people from pulling scripture out of context to prove whatever subjective idea they seek to prove.
The reasons for my devotion to these logical principles are simple. My devotion to remaining as sound as we can in our discussions is rooted in the passages referred to in 2 Timothy but also in John Chapter 1. In John Chapter 1, John uses the Greek word logos to refer to Christ. At this point in history the Greek culture had spread throughout the Mediterranean. This Greek word logos was the word Plato, Aristotle, and other Greek philosophers used to refer to logic. John understood this when he used this word to describe Christ. In John Chapter 1, logos is literally translated word. Logos also refers to intelligence, order and harmony. All of these things are indigenous to God. Furthermore, we must not forget; it is by our words that we communicate and thus how we use our words is very, very important. Although logos refers to much more, I don't have the space in this paper to discuss it in all of its intricate details. Furthermore, let us not forget that our God is not a God of confusion but of peace (I Corinthians 14:33).
Please rest assured that I do not believe reason can save anyone. Reason can lead all men to the fact that there is a God (Romans 1:18-20) but reason cannot regenerate any man or cause him to be born again; only the Holy Spirit can do that. Furthermore, I do not subscribe to Rationalism ( a world and life view that is governed entirely by reason alone).
The essays in Sound Words are not meant to be taken personally by anyone. Please do not take them personally. Rather, allow the author's words to speak for himself. If you disagree, submit your own words. However, these presuppositions, as well as logic in general, will be used to determine which essays will be posted on Sound Words to represent each respective side. This includes informal and formal fallacies. In closing, if submitting to Sound Words, you should use sound words. If you are reading, remember to look for sound words.
In His Name and For His Glory,
Israel J. Contreras
Editor of Sound Words