A doctrine too vast
An OAC member wrote: “...Ek het dit vir jou genome dat DIE LEER VAN DIE APOSTEL IS TE OMVATTEND OM IN WOORDE UITEENGESIT TE WORD!...” Sic
For those of you who don’t understand Afrikaans, this member is saying that the “...DOCTRINE OF THE APOSTLE IS TOO VAST TO BE SET OUT IN WORDS!”
This statement is actually translated from the PREFACE in the catechism.
Catechism of the Old Apostolic Church of Africa…PREFACE; Part 2.2 (pages 3-4):
“...The doctrine of The Old Apostolic Church of Africa is too vast to be set out in writing. The existence and continuation of the Church is also not dependent on the limitations of the written word: the existence of the Church is not dependent on words, but on the revelation of the Power of God...”
This type of statement is taken as a license to “spiritualize” the Bible and give the Bible some kind of mystical meaning. In other words, what is on the surface is not the meaning, but what is hidden becomes the meaning. By this method the historical meaning then becomes nothing but a fabrication.
“...if you're using Scripture as a springboard to say whatever you want rather than teaching what the Bible actually says, you might as well exegete Little Bo Peep..." – John MacArthur
By continuously searching the Bible for “spiritual interpretation”, one denies that the literal meaning is spiritual.
Read the following verse:
John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
This verse is spiritual, no mystery or riddle or hidden meaning in this verse, but a fact – and the fact is spiritual.
A "spiritual interpretation" has nothing to do with a verse having a hidden meaning. It has to do with believing what’s written and it’s through the Spirit of God that a person believes.
1 Corinthians 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
1 John 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
The Word of God is already spiritual; no person can “spiritualize” His Word any further because it’s already spiritual. Sometimes people discover figures of speech called allegories, but this doesn’t mean His Word is being “spiritualized”.
Allegory is an expressive style that uses characters and events to describe some subject by suggestive resemblances; an extended metaphor; a short moral story; parable; a visible symbol representing an abstract idea.
Metaphor is a figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally denote in order to suggest a similarity.
In Galatians 4:22-31 Paul uses the word allegory and uses Hagar and Sarah to allegorize the old and the new covenants. Paul then uses a figure of speech known as a metaphor “...this Agar is mount Sinai...”
Hagar was not literally mount Sinai, she only represented it, otherwise Moses climbed up and down her body and received the stone tablets on her head! Hagar is not the spiritual mount Sinai either because the LORD came down upon mount Sinai (Exodus 19:20), sanctified it (Exodus 19:23) and the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai (Exodus 24:16). Thus the literal mount Sinai was already spiritual and by saying that Hagar is the spiritual mount Sinai is to deny this.
Hagar was thus the metaphoric (figurative) mount Sinai.
In Matthew 26:26 Jesus held up a piece of bread in front of His disciples and said “...Take, eat; this is my body...”
Was the bread literally His body and did the bread go out and get crucified? No, the bread represented His body and it being broken was a picture of what would happen to Him.
Did the metaphor eliminate the reality? Was Jesus cancelled after He used the bread to represent Himself? No, because a metaphor merely pictures a reality, literal bread and a literal body but a figurative identification. The bread that pictured Christ did not eliminate Christ.
At this point someone may quote “the letter killeth” out of context to justify their ignorance. So before we carry on, let’s read it in context:
2 Corinthians 3:3-7 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:
The letter that kills is the Mosaic law chiselled in stone because it meant death to the sinner (Leviticus 20:10-21, Deuteronomy 22:22-27, John 8:4-12). The words that Jesus spoke are spirit and life and they are written in the Bible (John 6:63).
So whether a doctrine is too vast or not, this does not supersede any Scripture. Jesus Himself continually referred to Scripture (Matthew 22:29, Mark 12:24).
2 Timothy 3:15-17 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God,
and is profitable for doctrine,
for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Even when Paul and Silas went to Berea, the Jews in that synagogue were nobler than those in Thessalonica and after receiving the word with readiness, they searched the scriptures daily to see whether the words they received were so (Acts 17:10-12).
The Bible warns us against adding or taking away from Scripture (Deuteronomy 4:2, Deuteronomy 12:32, Proverbs 30:5-6, Revelation 22:18-19).
To understand Scripture we first have to start reading the Bible. Scripture tells us about God. Familiarity with the Scripture is it’s own interpretation and as you begin to read, the Scripture will interpret itself. The Bible is it’s own and best source of explanation.
|A Bible that's falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn't - Charles Spurgeon|
“Private revelations” shouldn’t be trusted apart from confirmation in the literal Word because God doesn’t leave His Word to private interpretation.
If mere mortals could “spiritualize” God’s Word, then people will start looking to these mere mortals and not to the Word. That is how cults are formed.