A Moral & Positive Failure: Finding Authority


How is Scripture authoritative? This fundamental question, addressed throughout history, resurfaces with us in postmodernity out of the rejection of modern “regulative” hermeneutics. What exactly is rejected, why is it rejected, and what must replace it? We begin with the development of regulative hermeneutics and its formation in the Disciples of Christ. Then we look to the failure of moral and positive law. We conclude with a brief discussion of postmodern hermeneutics from James K.A. Smith.[1]

The sixteenth century reformers Zwingli and Luther sought authority for the church through Scripture. In 1517, Martin Luther wrote his 95 Theses that brought about the beginning of the Reformation period. In it he challenged the authority of the pope and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. His opposition to the pope caused a backlash resulting in the destruction of many of his books. Luther saw Scripture as teaching “us to see, to feel, to grasp, and to comprehend faith, hope, and charity, far otherwise than mere human reason can”.[2] He believed that through diligent reading of the scriptures, putting the scriptures into practice, and the power of the Holy Spirit, anyone could come to understand Scripture.[3] Luther also felt it was important for translators and interpreters to work together since “et propria verba do not always occur in one mind”. In saying this, Luther expresses the benefit of cooperation. This offered a practical checking process. Later in the seventeenth century, another phrase, “res et verba”, was used to show disapproval for ornament and extravagant wordings that failed to read faithfully the subject matter.[4] Luther seems to grasp this idea years before through his disdain for commentary authors who write long books that amount to nothing.[5] Luther was in favor of authority from the scriptures alone. He was responding to the touted authority of church tradition. Humans err, so scripture must be the authority that corrects the church. Luther expresses it this way: “But I prefer the text to them all, though, in popedom, the glosses were deemed of higher value than the bright and clear text.”[6] In this, we can see that Luther views Scripture as “bright and clear”. We can understand the text because of its “clarity”, so the text can act authoritatively in our lives. Ironically, Luther frequently mixed languages while speaking, causing difficulty in translating his own work. In addition to viewing scripture as clear, Luther saw the literal sense of scripture as the highest form above, other senses such as allegory. The Disciples of Christ place a high emphasis on the literal sense of Scripture due in part to the work of Luther and Zwingli. The literal sense of Scripture influenced the role of Scripture for the Disciples of Christ during the American Restoration Movement. Luther played an important role in our discussion of the authority of scripture, but it was the Scripture and church centered approach of Zwingli that gained favor.

Zwingli attended the University of Vienna and The University of Basel. Later Zwingli preached in a Protestant church in Switzerland. It was there Zwingli began fighting against Catholic tradition. His desire for reformation drove Christians in Zurich to revolt. Zwingli viewed Scripture as authoritative. To him Scripture was infallible and useful to judge our behaviors and beliefs. This was something the Pope, bishop, or council could not do. An example of Zwingli’s position on the authority of Scripture can be shown from his works.


“Now finally, since reference is made to the judges which my Lord Vicar thinks cannot be found outside the universities, I say that we have here infallible and unprejudiced judges, that is the Holy Writ, which can neither lie nor deceive. These we have present in Hebrew, Greek and Latin tongues; these let us take on both sides as fair and just judges.”[7]


One tradition Zwingli sought to abolish was forced fasting during Lent. Of this he said, “And I showed that it was an unsound contention that the gospel writings nowhere clearly allowed the eating of flesh.”[8] Since, for Zwingli, Scripture clearly allowed the eating of meat, the forced abstinence during Lent was wrong. Again, all of Zwingli’s positions came from the understanding that Scripture is authoritative.

Zwingli was able to affirm the authority of Scripture since he held that to those who had faith and studied Scripture, it was clear and understandable. This clarity was given to us from God in order to have authority in our lives. It was not necessary to rely upon imperfect man to find authority for Christian living since Scripture is perfect, cannot lie, and is clear. His position opposed the idea that Scripture was not clear and needed interpretation by the church for people to understand.

The concept Luther and Zwingli uphold is called Sola Scriptura. The difference between them comes in their application of Sola Scriptura. Luther saw Scripture as authoritative, but did not believe that the silence of Scripture was prohibitive. Zwingli on the other hand, believed that the silence of Scripture meant we did not have the authority to act. Without a command from scripture, we should not act. As a result, many traditions in the church were no longer authoritative and became prohibited. Zwingli’s position on Sola Scriptura had an influence over Scottish and English churchmen.[9] This indirectly affected the teaching of John Knox and, later, the leaders of the American Restoration Movement.[10] Sola Scriptura and prohibitive silence still affects the churches of Christ, however unconsciously, today.

A third reformer who brought Sola Scriptura into broader practice was John Calvin. Like Luther and Zwingli, Calvin sought authority from Scripture alone. John Calvin was a French theologian. His view, like Zwingli’s treated scripture as a book of law. This led Calvin to limit singing practices in the church. Calvin did not allow the use of musical instrument, choirs, polyphony, or newly composed pietistic texts.[11] This can be seen here in Calvin’s commentaries on the Psalms.


“We are not, indeed, forbidden to use, in private, musical instruments, but they are banished out of the churches by the plain command of the Holy Spirit, when Paul, in 1 Corinthians 14:13, lays it down as an invariable rule, that we must praise God, and pray to him only in a known tongue.”[12]


Notice that Calvin, references clarity by claiming that instrumental music is banished by “the plain command” from Scripture. Calvin views Scripture as a law book that authorizes or bans methods of worship reinforced by the idea that clarity of Scripture is obtainable.

From Calvin and Zwingli developed what we call the “Regulative Principle”. Calvin’s form of the regulative principle focused on worship.


“For there is a twofold reason why the Lord, in condemning and prohibiting all fictitious worship, requires us to give obedience only to his own voice. First, it tends greatly to establish his authority that we do not follow our own pleasure, but depend entirely on his sovereignty; and, secondly, such is our folly, that when we are left at liberty, all we are able to do is to go astray.”[13] (The Evil Which Compels Us To Seek Remedies)


Later it was adapted to authorize all kinds of activities. The regulative principle is the combination of two ideas Sola Scriptura and prohibitive silence. Both ideas determine how Christians should live and worship God. The clarity of Scripture thus becomes an essential element to this principle. The opposing concept known as the normative principle suggested that anything not prohibited by scripture was permissible. The normative principle received far less use than its opponent.




Influenced by Scottish Presbyterianism, father Thomas and son Alexander Campbell independently came to view the Bible as singularly authoritative. Thomas, a clergyman from North Ireland, set a foundational belief that affected the American Restoration Movement. His motto was, “Where the Scriptures speak, we speak; and where the Scriptures are silent, we are silent.”[14] His motto bears a strong resemblance to Calvin’s regulative principle. Alexander came to a similar perspective as he taught a return to the ancient ecclesial example found in Scripture. Scripture became the command and example of how the 19th century Christian should live. Evidence for this comes from his article series, “A Restoration of the Ancient Order of Things”.[15] A portion of this text reads, “A restoration of the ancient order of things is all that is necessary to the happiness and usefulness of Christians.”[16] Alexander did not, however, believe that all of Scripture should be used to form Christian practice. Instead, he focused specifically on the NT and even further on the teachings of the apostles.


“…the thing proposed, is to bring the Christianity and the church of the present day up to the standard of the New Testament.”[17]


“we shall have no other revelation of the Spirit, no other New Testament, no other Saviour, and no other religion than we now have, when we understand, believe and practice the doctrine of Christ delivered to us by his apostles”[18]


From this canonical particularization, Alexander looked to define a precise order of worship. Reformation hermeneutics is not the only influence determining how Alexander interprets Scripture. For a larger perspective, we must turn to his dependence on Baconianism.

Baconianism was devised by Sir Francis Bacon. He believed that bias could be overcome but putting into practice scientific checks or steps to correct the mind.[19] Objectivity would be achieved through mechanistic practices. We can define Baconianism as inferring (deduction) from observation of gathered facts (induction) what is occurring with the whole. It was attractive method for finding order in Scripture.

Campbell believed that Scripture was written in human language and therefore could be analyzed with the same methods used to interpret other literary works.[20] He optimistically believed Scripture to be understandable if only the proper method was applied, a result of “Scottish Common Sense realism.”[21] By discovering the appropriate meaning of the words in Scripture, clarity and uniform understanding could be achieved. For this he turned to the Baconian method.

Campbell, from a Baconian perspective, derived meaning from Scripture through observation and reflection. He believed that correct teaching could be obtained through induction of the full Scripture covering any subject and deducing the truth. Baconian hermeneutics requires looking at Scripture as a collection of facts. By connecting these “facts”, Campbell hoped to create a uniform method of interpretation that would lead to greater unity as opposed to the divisiveness of creeds. Using this method of interpretation the Scriptures produced patterns and order by which Christians should live. As a result Campbell interpreted Scripture to fight denominationalism and practices not authorized by apostolic command, example, or necessary inference. Campbell fought against infant baptism for this very reason. It is important to note here that it was not Alexander Campbell’s intention to create a system that would be cause for division. He desired Christians to be drawn together by a singular constitution, which is the apostolic portion of the NT.[22] Unfortunately, division was the clear result.

CEI, or command, example, or necessary inference is a method that applies the regulative principle to the Scriptures. A strong proponent of CEI is J.D. Thomas.[23] Like Campbell, Thomas found great usefulness in Baconianism. Thomas breaks down scripture into principles and incidentals. Principles are transcultural, permanent and binding. Incidentals are local, temporal and exist culturally or at least situationally. By employing “common sense”, Thomas distinguishes the two.[24] Common sense functions to determine parallels to our current situation, present spiritual principles, and find clues in Scripture to help us. Once specific patterns are identified, they must be followed. Identifying these specific patterns requires commands, examples, or necessary inferences. To determine if an example is binding, we must explore the context and utilize common sense. This also applies to necessary inferences. First we examine the context and then use common sense to determine its usefulness. Commands also function in this way. First, we determine from the context whether the characters had to do it, and then we use common sense to apply it to us. The difficulty here is the failure of common sense to actually determine anything. All commands, examples, and necessary inferences are based upon human inference and common sense.

In the A.R.M., we have many different denominations whose separation was based upon the regulative principle and CEI. The pursuit of a perfect resurrection of the 1st century ecclesial community failed in the likeness of its Spirit and divided us over its practice. It created a framework of laws devoid of Christ and grace. It found its pinnacle in the practice of moral and positive law. The framework pushed the plan instead of the man.




Moral and positive law was developed by Thomas Hobbes in “Leviathan”, written in 1651 CE. In his work Hobbes defines moral law or natural law as, “…those which have been laws from all eternity… consisting in the moral virtues; as justice, equity, and all habits of the mind that conduce to peace and charity”.[25] Natural laws are laws that we can understand from nature and which do not depend on a higher authority to require them. There are two essential components to natural law. They are the ontological and the gnoseological. Ontological implies, “Every kind of being existing in nature, a plant, a dog, a horse, has its own “natural law, that is, the proper way in which, by reason of its specific structure and ends, it “should” achieve fullness of being in its growth or in its behavior”.[26] “Gnoseology deals with the human faculties for learning and understanding. In these ways, gnoseology implies what is known naturally, by inclination, congeniality, or connanturality.[27] In this case reason is preceded by natural understanding. Natural law is determined by natural inclination and then reasoned out. Natural law does not begin with reason and then determine natural inclinations.

Positive laws are “… those which have not been from eternity, but have been made laws by the will of those that have had the sovereign power over others, and are either written or made known to men by some other argument of the will of their legislator.”[28] Positive laws have no natural example imposing authority. Only when a greater authority makes them laws do they mean anything.

A particularization of positive law is divine positive law. Hobbes describes this as “…the commandments of God, not from all eternity, nor universally addressed to all men, but only to a certain people or to certain persons, are declared for such by those whom God hath authorized to declare them.”[29] These laws are commandments of God carried to people through visions, dreams, divine messengers, and His covenant people. The inherent challenge of the divine positive law is, how do we know it comes from God? If it does not come directly to every man by way of direct communication of God how do we know it is a law? This is one of the issues Hobbes tries to address. It appears to be impossible to know certainly when God makes commands. We might say that miracles or righteous living are signs of the command but they fail to give us certainty. We are reliant on our faith in the communicator of the message. Though we may not know with perfect certainty if a law comes from God, the same laws are easy to carry out. To understand this Hobbes walks us through God’s covenant with Abraham.

God made a covenant directly with Abraham. This covenant extended to all the seed of Abraham. Though Abraham’s children did not directly receive their father’s covenant, they were required to obey the commandment handed down to them by their father. This supports necessary inference. Since Abraham was given the covenant and it included his children, anyone who was considered his child understood the necessity of following the command. Hobbes makes the point that the decision to follow the command, so far as it does not disagree with the moral laws, must be followed according to the “commonwealth” or community.

Following in the footsteps of Thomas Hobbes, by way of influence from Scottish Common Sense Realism, Charles Hodge utilized moral and positive law in the 19th century. Hodge elaborated on moral law in his writing, “Systematic Theology”. Under the heading, “Preliminary Principles”, Hodge teaches that moral law is taught from Scripture through the words of Paul.[30] When Paul teaches that gentiles are a law unto themselves, he is teaching moral law.[31] This is due to nature. Hodge interprets nature as the conscience that commands obedience. Every human being has a conscience that accuses them or testifies about them. This appears to be an obvious generalization from Hodge, but he clarifies that even groups who do not uphold moral laws still maintain its authority by their disavowal of it.[32] By turning away from the law, they show the law to be a judge against them. One of the central moral laws is the law of love. Unlike Zwingli, Hodge believed that nothing is sinful that moral law and the Scriptures does not specifically condemn (normative principle). Like Hobbes, Hodge views divine positive laws as laws made authoritative by God. The laws binding on Christians are found in the Scriptures, specifically in the commands found in the New Testament. The 19th century A.R.M. was greatly influenced by moral and positive law; Thomas and Alexander Campbell were among the preachers who used this hermeneutic.

A moral and positive law hermeneutic has created theological difficulties that have lasted into the present. To examine some of these challenges consider the sermon from the preacher Benjamin Franklin in 1877 CE. To Franklin, positive law is of a “higher order” than moral law.[33] He says it this way: “It rises above mere morality, philosophy, or the pleasure of man, into the pure region of faith, confidence in the wisdom of God, and in submission to the supreme authority”.[34] To Franklin, obedience to positive law requires more faith. This is the beginning of our theological difficulties. Franklin places undue favor on positive commands.

It becomes better to do things such as observe the Sabbath (positive law) than to love your neighbor (moral law). In the negative, it is worse to break the Sabbath (positive law) than to kill your neighbor (moral law). Assumed in this is that divine positive laws are issues of faith and obedience. The Hebrew people were commanded to paint the doorframe of their homes with the blood of a lamb. They acted in accordance with this command and therefore survived the death of the first born in Egypt. Franklin reverses the command, saying that if any Hebrew did not cover their doorframe with lamb’s blood, their firstborn would die. Obedience in this case requires absolute precision.

Franklin creates a situation that at first seems simple. Either you painted the doorframe of your house with blood from a lamb and you live, or you don’t and you die. However, the situation quickly complicates. God did not simply ask them to place blood on the doorframe. He told them what day to slaughter the animal, how old the animal must be, the lamb could have been a goat’s or sheep’s young, must be without defect of any kind, that they must be killed at twilight, the meat of the animal must be eaten, and dressed with herbs, roasted and not raw, and eaten with unleavened bread. The animal must be eaten with your cloak tucked into your belt, and sandals on your feet, and staff in hand. According to Franklin’s application of divine positive law, these acts had to be completed to perfection. God does not dispense grace when we fail to perfectly carry out these commands. The one who places his staff down while eating is killed. If the meat is undercooked, death awaits them. If one of the Hebrew people fails to receive word, divine judgment is coming.

Now all this appears as a kind of straw man example, but it illustrates a question. Does God give grace to those who do not follow his commands to perfection? If our ability to follow divine positive law is the measure of our faith, how should we interpret the Scriptures?




Consider another example of this line of thought from James A. Harding. He saw Baptism and the Lord’s Supper as examples of positive law.[35] They must be carried out perfectly to be effectual. Harding uses the example of the walls of Jericho to make his point. He believed that if Joshua had not done exactly as God commanded, the walls would not have fallen. Grace is given for the moral laws but not for positive laws.

What developed from the high order of divine positive law was, for the churches of Christ, a legal hermeneutic. Hicks describes it this way “the hermeneutical task for Churches of Christ has always been to discover what God requires of us, especially what he requires in terms of positive ordinances. Our hermeneutic has been tailored to answer that question.”[36]

Harding believed that “works of righteousness” (moral law) could not save us because even one sin condemns us.[37] Our performance of righteous works is done out of our indebtedness to Jesus, who did what we could not. Grace covers these sins through Jesus Christ. Through Jesus, God forgives us of our sins. This is consistent with Franklins view of moral laws.

Though Harding does not view works as our way to redemption he does believe that access to our “pardon” comes with conditions. These conditions are God’s acts of righteousness that we submit to. They include faith, repentance, and baptism. Positive law becomes for us a test of faith we must pass before we can receive our redemption. They are easy to obey perfectly, so God is strict in demanding them. The power of these divine positive laws has caused the churches of Christ to seek in Scripture any positive commands that secure our redemption. A legal hermeneutic is thus developed to read all of Scripture as law, as Campbell did, and determine which laws are moral or positive. In making these distinctions, we create an interpretive framework for our salvation. Unfortunately we do not agree on what God meant to be redemptive positive commands. Positive law came to apply Sola Scriptura and prohibitive silence using CEI. The absence of God’s positive command became a direct salvific condemnation. For this reason, we have divided over all manner of things including instrumental music, kitchens, Sunday school, and paid preachers. A kitchen may seem an innocuous thing until it is place within a legal positive framework. Then it becomes the difference between obedience and disobedience, saved and not saved.



At this point it is necessary to take a count of the observations we have made. I have listed them in order of their appearance in this paper.


  • Sola Scriptura replaced and undermined ecclesial tradition
  • Scripture was conceived to be optimistically “clear” and “simple”
  • A literal sense of Scripture was favored above analogous readings
  • Prohibitive silence was favored over the normative principle
  • A legal framework changed how Scripture was applied
  • Authority was developed only from the apostolic portion of the NT
  • The Baconian method treated Scripture as a literary document
  • Determining the application of examples required the use of CEI and common sense
  • Divine positives laws are favored over moral or natural laws.


First allow me to point out the benefits this hermeneutic collaboration has done for us. Sola Scriptura redirected our attention back to the primacy of Scripture. There is a point where Scripture can be understood as clear or simple. It is clear and simple in the sense that a general picture of Scripture as a narrative can be understood. As Christians we find ourselves relating to the historic position of the 1st century church because we both follow the birth, baptism, ministry, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. Baconianism placed the Bible in its historic and literary context. It also emphasized the importance of induction. However, as John Hicks explains, Baconian induction “tends to override the historical and contextual character of Scripture itself.”[38] Some of these devices are more positive than others. However, using these devices in combination transformed Scripture into a pattern of authority that detracted Christians away from the message of the gospel. It replaced the importance of the Christ event with an ecclesial perfectionism. The grace given to sinners was found only in perfect practice of 19th and 20th century positive law.


In light of the limitations of A.R.M. to establish unity let’s briefly consider the postmodern attempts at a new hermeneutic. The argument for the clarity of Scripture stretched clarity beyond function. The result of this over reaching argument was division. Postmodern interpreter, James K. A. Smith argues for the necessity of interpretation instead an assumption of clarity.[39] Interpretation happens with everything.[40] We are finite creates that interpret the world and people around us.[41] In this way a person cannot fully know any other thing completely. What we can achieve is an interpretation of what we view around us. We interpret the world through our senses, sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell. We are limited to these kinds of experiences. When humans relate to one another they cannot fully expresses themselves to make themselves full known. We are limited by our various forms of language. When we receive what is expressed from other human beings we interpret their language by our own experience in the language, by the languages variety of use, and by our capacity of understanding. All of this is not to conclude that we cannot know anything about what is being expressed. Nor does this mean we can interpret what we experience in any way we see fit. We can see the application of these ideas through our interpretation of Scripture.

First it is important to highlight three characters utilized by Smith in his creational hermeneutic. Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault, each play a role in Smith’s creational hermeneutic.


Smith uses Derrida to show “(a) the centrality of Scripture for mediating our understanding of the world as a whole and (b) the role of community in the interpretation of Scripture”. Smith uses Lyotard to “recover (a) the narrative character of Christian faith, rather than understanding it as a collection of ideas, and (b) the confessional nature of our narrative and the way in which we find ourselves in a world of competing narratives.” Smith uses Foucault to demonstrate “(a) the cultural power of formation and discipline and hence (b) the necessity of the church to enact counter formation by counter disciplines”.

From these three postmodern theorists Smith forms how the church looks at Scripture.

James Smith demonstrates that readers are coproducers of meaning when examining the text. The authors of, for example 1 Corinthians, are Paul (if you accept that he was the original author) and God by way of the Holy Spirit. Paul interprets his experience of God and the situation with the Corinthian church in the writing of his letter. We engage Scripture through our understanding of the language the Bible is written in, the historical location of the letter, as well as our understanding of the cultural situation. From these things we interpret what God and Paul reveal to us and how, by way of analogy, these things have meaning to us.

From this perspective interpretation is seen as a creational good rather than a consequence of our fallenness. Smith deconstructs Augustine’s position on the goodness of creation against Augustine’s concept of “original sin”.[42] For a long time, interpretation has been viewed as something to be overcome.[43] Instead we have favored perfect, objective understanding. This is impossible however, since we are finite creatures. Neither were we intended to understand the world perfectly. We were created as limited and finite creatures that interpret the world and God. Instead of exactitude, we are forced to engage in community with creation and God in order to understand everything. In this way interpretation becomes a creative good. This view has the added benefit of changing how we view the role of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is no longer relegated to guidance of Scripture through and by Scripture. Instead the Holy Spirit engages us in communal interpretation.

Unity may be achievable through the understanding that interpretation is a creational good. In this way unity is developed through participation in the interpretive community by way of the Holy Spirit. It then becomes unnecessary for us to achieve exactitude in understanding before we can worship God in a community of believers.


[1] James Smith, The Fall of Interpretation: Philosophical Foundations for a Creational Hermeneutic, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: BakerAcademic, 2012). See also:
James Smith, Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism? Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church (Grand Rapids: BakerAcademic, 2006).

[2] Martin Luther, The Table Talk (Philadelphia: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013), 1.

[3] Ibid., 2.

[4] A.C. Howell, “Res Et Verba: Words and Things”, ELH 13, no. 2 (June 1946): 134, accessed November 7, 2013, http://www.jstor.org/stable/2871594.

[5] Luther, 2.

[6] Ibid, 2.

[7] Selected Works of Huldrich Zwingli: The Reformer of German Switzerland (Philadelphia: Evergreen Review Inc., 1901), under “Kindle Locations 812-815,” Amazon Kindle edition.

[8] Ibid, Kindle Locations 300-301.

[9] Thomas Olbricht, “Hermeneutics in the Churches of Christ”, Hermeneutics in the Churches of Christ 37, no. 1 (1995): 3, accessed September 20, 2013, http://www.acu.edu/sponsored/restoration_quarterly/archives/1990s/vol_37_no_1_contents/olbricht.html#N_1_.

[10] Ibid, 4.

[11] Joshua Busman, “Different Commandments: Sola Scriptura and Theologies of Worship in the Protestant Reformation” (presented at 2010 SCGMC Meeting at Duke University, Durham, NC), 1, accessed November 6, 2013, http://www.academia.edu/338201/Different_Commandments_Sola_Scriptura_and_Theologies_of_Worship_in_the_Protestant_Reformation.

[12] John Calvin, Commentary On the Psalms, under “Kindle Locations 1666” Amazon Kindle edition.

[13] John Calvin, The Necessity of Reforming the Church (1543), trans. Henry Beveridge (Dallas, TX: Protestant Heritage Press, 1995), accessed September 5, 2013, http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualNLs/NRC_ch00.htm.

[14] Monroe Hawley, Redigging the Wells: Seeking Undenominational Christianity (Abilene: Quality Publications, 1976), 29.

[15] John Hicks, “Stone-Campbell Hermeneutics I,” John Mark Hicks Ministries (blog), Wineskins.org, May 28, 2008, accessed August 30, 2013, http://johnmarkhicks.com/2008/05/28/stone-campbell-hermeneutics-ii-campbells-reformed-hermeneutic/.

[16] Alexander Campbell, “A Restoration of the Ancient Order of Things,” Christian Baptist, 1824, accessed November 13, 2013, http://www.outrageouscampbellite.com/pdfs/Restoration-Ancient-order-of-Things.pdf.

[17] Ibid,.

[18] Ibid,.

[19] Francis Bacon, Novum Organum [The New Organum], trans. James Spedding, under “Kindle Location 15,” Amazon Kindle edition.

[20] Olbricht, 6.

[21] Hicks, “Stone-Campbell Hermeneutics I”.

[22] Campbell, “A Restoration of the Ancient Order of Things”.

[23] J.D. Thomas, We Be Brethren: A Study in Biblical Interpretation (Fort Worth: Biblical Research Press, 1958).

[24] Ibid, 43.

[25] Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (Penquin Classics, 2012), under “Kindle Location 2942,” Amazon Kindle edition.

[26] Jacques Maritain, “Natural Law And Moral Law,” in Moral Principles of Action: Man’s Ethical Imperative, ed. Ruth Ansben, Science of Culture Series (New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1952), 6:62.

[27] Ibid, 62-63.

[28] Ibid,.

[29] Ibid, Kindle Location 2954.

[30] Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977), 266-67.

[31] Romans 2:14

[32] Recent discussion of Natural or Moral law has, in view of secularism, been seen as changeable depending on a person’s religious or secular location. The natural is developed from human perspective. For more detailed exploration of Natural Law see: Stephen Pope, “Tradition and Innovation in Natural Law: A Thomistic Interpretation,” in Human Nature and Natural Law, (Long Lane: SCM Press, 2010).

[33] Benjamin Franklin, “Positive Divine Law,” The Gospel Preacher, 1877, accessed September 15, 2013, https://webfiles.acu.edu/departments/Library/HR/restmov_nov11/www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/texts/bfranklin/tgp2/TGP209.HTM.

[34] Ibid,.

[35] James Harding and J.B. Moody, Debate On Baptism and the Work of the Holy Spirit (Nasville: Brandon Printing Company, 1889), 256, accessed October 20, 2013, https://archive.org/stream/MN41991ucmf_5#page/n1/mode/2up.

[36] John Hicks, “Stone-Campbell Hermeneutics V,” John Mark Hicks Ministries (blog), Wineskins.org, May 31, 2008, accessed October 30, 2013. http://johnmarkhicks.com/2008/05/31/stone-campbell-hermeneutics-v-moral-and-positive-law/

[37] Harding and Moody, 219-220.

[38] John Hicks, “Stone-Campbell Hermeneutics VI,” John Mark Hicks Ministries (blog), Wineskins.org, May 31, 2008, accessed October 30, 2013. http://johnmarkhicks.com/2008/05/31/stone-campbell-hermeneutics-v-moral-and-positive-law/

[39] James Smith, The Fall of Interpretation.

[40] Ibid, 162.

[41] Ibid, 20.

[42] Ibid, 141.

[43] Ibid, 36.


Works Cited

Luther, Martin. The Table Talk. Philadelphia: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013.

Howell, A.C. “Res Et Verba: Words and Things.” ELH 13, no. 2 (June 1946): 134. AccessedNovember 7, 2013. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2871594.

Zwingli, Huldrich. Selected Works of Huldrich Zwingli: The Reformer of German Switzerland. Philadelphia: Evergreen Review Inc., 1901. Amazon Kindle edition.

Olbricht, Thomas “Hermeneutics in the Churches of Christ.” Hermeneutics in the Churches of Christ 37, no. 1 (1995): 3. Accessed September 20, 2013. http://www.acu.edu/sponsored/restoration_quarterly/archives/1990s/vol_37_no_1_contents/olbricht.html#N_1_.

Calvin, John. Commentary On the Psalms. Amazon Kindle edition.

Busman, Joshua. “Different Commandments: Sola Scriptura and Theologies of Worship in the Protestant Reformation.” Presented at 2010 SCGMC Meeting at Duke University, Durham, NC, Date. Accessed November 6, 2013.


Calvin, John. The Necessity of Reforming the Church (1543). Translated by Henry Beveridge. Dallas, TX: Protestant Heritage Press, 1995. Accessed September 5, 2013.


Hawley, Monroe. Redigging the Wells: Seeking Undenominational Christianity. Abilene: Quality Publications, 1976.

Hicks, John. “Stone-Campbell Hermeneutics Ii.” John Mark Hicks Ministries (blog). Wineskins.org, May 28, 2008. Accessed August 30, 2013. http://johnmarkhicks.com/2008/05/28/stone-campbell-hermeneutics-ii-campbells-reformed-hermeneutic/.

Campbell, Alexander. “A Restoration of the Ancient Order of Things.” Christian Baptist, 1824. Accessed November 13, 2013. http://www.outrageouscampbellite.com/pdfs/Restoration-Ancient-order-of-Things.pdf.

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