steve hays said,
May 16, 2010 at 6:14 pm
Perry keeps harping on whether the WCF exhaustively specifies what beliefs are necessary for salvation.
Of course, a fundamental reason the Confession doesn’t spell that out is because the Bible doesn’t spell that out.
But Perry’s question also hinges on an unsound and unspoken assumption: the obvious reason why Scripture doesn’t tell us which Biblical teachings are necessary for salvation is because there’s a general obligation to believe whatever Scripture teaches.
Hence, if you believe whatever the Bible teaches, you will ipso facto believe the subset of Biblical teachings that are necessary for salvation. For the general includes the specific.
Therefore, we wouldn’t expect the Bible to enumerate the saving beliefs.
Indeed, it will be quite counterintuitive for God to say: “The entire Bible is my Word, but here’s the faction of my Word you have to believe. You can safely disregard everything else I say.”
In the nature of the case, a divine revelation isn’t going to tell you which fraction of the revealed truths you *really* need to believe–as if the rest is optional. What would be the point of revealing things you don’t have to believe? Surely a divine revelation, by dint of inspiration, obligates the listener or reader to believe it.
If it told us what revealed truths we have to believe, and what revealed truths we don’t have to believe, would its telling us which is which itself be one of the obligatory beliefs? Or would that be an optional belief? The question is self-refuting.
“In going to tell you which things I’ve told you that you must believe, and I’m also going to tell you which things I’ve told you that you are permitted to disbelieve.”
But that’s implicitly self-contradictory. We have to believe everything God tells us to believe anything God tells us, for the only reason to believe what God tells us is because whatever he tells us is believable.
So we wouldn’t expect a revelation to partition its contents into obligatory revealed truths and optional revealed truths. Is God going to say: “Believe me–I have revealed which revelations you should believe, and which revelations you can ignore”? I don’t think so.