House Church Talk - Re: Baptisms and Administrations

Ross J Purdy rossjpurdy at
Thu Mar 11 06:09:44 EST 2004

RJ wrote:

> Bruce,
> This was one of the best thought out e-mails I have read in ages.  Your
> points are very true and hit home with me.
> I was tossed out of a Southern Baptist Seminary because I used the same
> of INDUCTIVE reasoning.
> To this day, I am amazed at the number of people who will bet their life
> their Scofield Bible and their dispensational theology.
> RJ

I am amazed at the cult-like status that the Old Scofield Reference Bible
maintains even among mid-Acts dispensationalists, even when they disagree
with this study Bible in a good number of areas. I know folks who are lost
without it when they are trying to look up a particular passage, they
actually have a picture of the page and the passages on the page in their
minds from having used it so long. Now I used a New Scofield for a good
while when I was young and have had an Old on hand as well lately, but like
any study Bible or author like Sir Robert Anderson, one should always
exercise discernment. Iam not particularly fond of the Scofield notes, but I
do appreciate Sir Robert Anderson even if I don't agree with him at all on a
number of things. I have read through a few of his books and scanned most of
the rest and would recommend them as stimulating reading if you don't mind a
bit dated English.

What Bruce said about "inductive Bible study" is good advice which is not
followed by too many with a dispensational theology. Like any group, they
tend to idolize their teachers who are bigger than life and come with
apostolic-like authority (even if they only hold to evangelists and
pastor-teachers)! For them, the truth is something they feel compelled to
defend and guard zealously. The unfortunate thing is that they don't realize
that the truth does not need defending because it is the truth that
preserves and keeps and saves us.

Just to touch on a couple of things Bruce mentioned in his last response to

Bruce wrote:
"If scripture does not indicate such things clearly, it probably won't have
any real bearing of any value anyway and nothing should be based on things
we do not know for sure!"

"I never claimed that the scriptures were a systematic theology text, I just
simply believe that every scriptural doctrine is stated in the very words
of scripture.  Every fundamental doctrine can be so stated as every
doctrine that is truly scriptural can be.

"If you believe that some doctrines of scripture must be deduced but are not
explicitly stated, can you list some examples other than the doctrine
relative to the Body of Christ and baptism which you have been seeking to
defend here???"

Bruce, it is not that I don't think that doctrine can be explicitly stated,
I do, BUT, we always have to consider the context of I statement and in some
cases we also have to consider other statements made in other contexts which
modify one's understanding. We also can not deny that there are plenty of
ambiguous statements too. Teachings like the nature of God, the nature of
man, eschatology, and soteriology are not going to be grasped from a few
prooftexts outside their contexts. Baptism is not so cut and dried and does
have a very wide context that goes back as far as the old covenant and as
forward as the new covenant. While we can make distinctions, we can not
ignore what is common. That is the what I mean by "deducing" a teaching (and
does not necessarily have anything to do with "deductive Bible study"). In
any case, perhaps no one is capable of purely "inductive study" since they
typically have some kind of denominational background, or some teacher they
used to be latched on to at some point. It is not a totally useless thing to
start with wrong doctrine and abandon it as you realize correct doctrine to
which your own experience testifies. Of course, we would all like to start
out with perfect teaching that is without error...I am hoping my children
start out a lot closer to that ideal than I did, just as my father provided
such an advantage for me.

In Christ,
Ross Purdy

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