A Three Legged Stool or a Balancing Act?
Updated: Nov 17, 2022
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good, 1st Thessalonians 5:21.
We have a perfect Bible. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 2nd Timothy 3:16. It is by means of that scripture, The King James Bible, that we May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, Ephesians 3:18. The Lord in his goodness has provided a means by which 21st century Christians can indeed prove all things.
In the first couple of centuries wherein the King James Bible was available to men, they were hampered by a few things.
1. With very few exceptions only the common people and uneducated believed it to be infallible.
2. Men were riveted to theologies which in limited contexts appeared sound, but failed when tried in the fullness of scripture.
3. The study aids available today whereby we can easily summon verses by just remembering one or two words took centuries to develop.
We are light years ahead of those who were limited by the above features if we indeed believe the words of a King James Bible, prove each conclusion to which we arrive at by examining each context wherein that conclusion can be tested, and avail ourselves of the multitude of concordances and bible software made available today.
As the title of this post suggests, I have likened doctrinal theories to a stool. All too often, someone will propose a doctrine or theory which has two legs to it, but when examined in the breadth of the bible, proves to be just a balancing act or a two legged stool. To be a three legged stool there must be:
1. a doctrine,
2. verses to back that doctrine,
3. and then that third leg, there must be verifiable evidence that the rest of the bible in context backs up that doctrine.
Many year ago, I was privy to a debate between two students of the bible as to the identity of the Great Whore of Revelation 17. One of the students pointed out that Rome sits upon seven hills and quoted Revelation 17:9, And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. The other student won the day by looking up the definition of mountain in a modern dictionary and pointing out that Rome's seven hills do not meet the criterion to be called mountains. They weren't high enough.
Years later, I can see that argument as being a two legged stool. To know what the King James Bible meant by a mountain we would need to look up each occurrence of the word and to examine the height of each place. As it turns out many of the places that the King James Bible calls mountains did not meet the modern dictionary definition of "mountain". When his theory was examined in each context, it proved faulty. A mountain in the King James Bible is a hill with a significantly higher elevation than the surrounding area. Rome qualified.
Likewise, Unitarianism can appear correct if we huddle behind a few verses and judge all the rest of the bible from that perspective. The belief that Jesus Christ is not God can not stand in the fullness of scripture. Its one leg is a preordained belief . Its second leg are a few verses divorced from context, and beyond that it remains a balancing act. There can never be a firm third leg because there is no supporting unity of scripture.
If we go to a cemetery outside of a city, and we crouch behind a gravestone, we can obscure our view of that city. We will become experts able to describe every nuance of that gravestone, but the landscape wherein it sits and the view behind it is utterly obscured. Such is the hapless Jehovah Witness who has had Ecclesiastes 9:5 drilled into him. For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten, Ecclesiastes 9:5.
If that was the only verse about the condition of dead people, the theory that upon death, all consciousness ceases could be considered valid. What a Jehovah Witness has in reality is a two legged stool. He has a verse, he has an interpretation of that verse, but he will search in vain for any practical application of that doctrine to be found in scripture. If Jesus Christ had reiterated that interpretation, or if any apostle had done so and the weight of scripture showed over and over again that people are simply snuffed out of existence upon their death, they would have a three legged stool that could stand on its own.
Instead, we have verse after verse, example after example and parables to refute what they believe. That doesn't matter to them. They are hidden behind an interpretation of that verse. Their entire peer group counts on them staying there. As Dr. Peter Ruckman so aptly pointed out years ago, when you pin them with other verses, they do the "cowardly crawfish". They slide sideways and go right back to their pet verse.
What good is a perfect bible if you insist upon doctrines that cannot bear close examination? To be a King James Bible believer is more than just knowing its historical accuracy. To be a King James Bible believer you must be willing to believe any doctrine that can be upheld and proven in the length and breadth of scripture.