Response to Dr. Peter Teague of Lancaster Bible College

325560 Norwich Rd.

Norwich, Ontario  N0J 1P0

January 18, 2014

 

Dr. Peter Teague, President

LancasterBibleCollege

901 Eden Road,

Lancaster, PA17601

 Dear  brother Teague,

 Thank you so much for your letter of December 18th, 2013.  Yours was one of only three responses which I have received from 14 such letters which I sent to Bible College and Seminary presidents. It is obvious that you took great care and invested a lot of time to respond to my questions in my letter of November 11th.  Thank you for taking this matter so seriously and for the time that you, Dr. Kim and Dr. Soden invested in preparing a response.  I deeply appreciate this as well as your willingness for me to publish your response on my blog. (Which I have done.)

 While you explained various courses offered by LBC which train students in methods of evaluating various doctrines, I was disappointed that you did not seem to clearly answer my 1st and 3rd questions. You did make clear that LBC recognizes that sound doctrine “is derived from the Bible” but so are many false doctrines!  Dr. Kim wrote that, “No doctrine is true that is not biblically grounded and in harmony with the things revealed.”  But the expressions “biblically grounded” and “in harmony with the things revealed”  are very subjective terms which are understood differently by different theological camps!  So it does not seem to me that LBC truly recognizes one authoritative and objective standard by which to distinguish between sound and false doctrines. Thus I was also disappointed that your paper did not answer the question, “What marks do you believe are true of all sound teachings as opposed to the marks of all false teachings?

 Personally, I believe that all sound doctrines have 5 scriptural marks and all false doctrines have the opposite marks and that one can know whether any doctrine is a sound one or a false one by asking these questions about it:

(1) Has God stated the teaching in His own pure words or can it only be stated in the words of men?  Psalm 12:6

 (2) Is the teaching stated in words which the Holy Spirit teaches or only in words which man’s wisdom teaches?  I Cor.2:13

 (3) Is the teaching stated in pure words of the Lord or can it only be stated in words additional to His?   Proverbs 30:5,6

 (4)  Does the teaching state the facts which the apostles declared or does it deny, contradict or bring deception contrary to what the apostles taught? Romans 16:17,18; Acts 13:45; II Peter 1:16

 (5) Is Christ (the Truth), or Satan (the deceiver) the  source of this teaching? i.e. Does it bring one into the simplicity of freedom in Christ or into bondage to men who communicate by guile, by sleight and cunning craftiness  as they lie in wait to deceive? John 14:6; 8:32;  II Corinthians 11:3 and Ephesians 4:14

 I was puzzled by one of the doctrines on LBC’s short list of first level doctrines. You wrote that LBC believes in “justification by grace through faith alone”.  Does this mean that LBC denies the truth of  Romans 3:24 that we are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus?   This example demonstrates that it is unwise to seek to express doctrines in words which are additional to the words of scripture and that by doing so we actually become liars as Proverbs 30:5,6 warns us.

I would agree with you that understanding scripture (or any literature) is to be done grammatically, historically and in its context.  I also believe that every false doctrine departs from such principles relative to the scriptures.

 With these things in mind, I have enclosed a copy of LBC`s statement of faith and ask how some of those beliefs could actually have been arrived at by understanding scripture grammatically, historically and in its context?  (Please see my comments in blue within and following that document.)

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Lancaster Bible College Statement of Faith

Since its founding in 1933, the college has maintained an unqualified commitment to a historic, orthodox position on essential doctrines of the faith as expressed in this document. A statement of faith is central to the college’s identity, serving as a unifying and clarifying document in an age of theological shifting and confusion.  Hermeneutically, the college approaches Scripture from a grammatical, historical, and contextual viewpoint.   (If this is your consistent approach to the scriptures, how do you arrive at the following highlighted conclusions?)

The Scriptures                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We believe the Scriptures of the Old Testament and the New Testament are the Word of God and are verbally inspired of God and inerrant in the original writings. We believe that this inspiration extends equally and fully to all parts of the Scriptures, and that they are the supreme and final authority in faith and life.
John 17:17; Galatians 3:16; 2 Timothy 3:16–17; 2 Peter 1:19–21.

The Godhead                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We believe in one God eternally existing in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, each having precisely the same nature, attributes, and perfections. Matt. 28:19–20; John 1:1–2; Acts 5:3–4; Colossians 2:9.

Jesus Christ – His Person and His Work                                                                                                                                                                                                 We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. He was eternally begotten of the Father, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary. We believe that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the whole world as the substitutionary sacrifice, that his crucified body was raised from the dead, and that he ascended into heaven to appear before the Father as our high priest, advocate, and mediator.
Luke 1:35; Romans 9:5; 1 Corinthians 15:1–3; Philippians 2:6-11; Colossians 1:15–17, 2:9; Hebrews 4:15, 9:24; 1 Timothy 2:5; 1 Peter 1:3, 2:24, 3:18; 1 John 2:2.

The Holy Spirit                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We believe that the Holy Spirit came in a special sense on the Day of Pentecost, indwelling every believer. In this age, the Holy Spirit carries out the ministries of restraining evil in the world; convicting people of sin, righteousness, and judgment; regenerating and indwelling all believers; baptizing them into the Body of Christ; sealing them unto the day of redemption; and empowering them for sanctification and service. We believe that some gifts of the Holy Spirit are permanent and are intended for use throughout the entire Church Age. Other

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gifts were temporary and were given in the Apostolic Age for the purpose of founding the church. These include the gifts of apostleship, prophecy, miracles, healings, tongues, and the interpretation of tongues. At the same time, we affirm that God performs miracles as he wills. John 14:16–17, 16:7–15; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 12:13, 28–30; Ephesians 2:20-22, 4:1–16, 30; Hebrews 2:1–4; Titus 3:5.

Mankind                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We believe God created male and female in his image and that Adam sinned and thereby incurred the judgment of both physical death and spiritual death, which is eternal separation from God. All human beings, with the exception of Christ Jesus, are born with a sin nature, are accountable for their sin, and need to be born again.
Gen. 1:1, 26; Ps. 51:5; Jeremiah 17:9, John 3:3–7; Romans 3:10–12, 5:12; Ephesians 2:1–10; 1 John 1:8–10.

Salvation                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We believe that salvation was provided for everyone in the whole world and was accomplished solely by the finished work of Christ shedding his blood upon the cross, and no work on the part of any person can merit this salvation. Whoever believes solely in the finished work of Jesus Christ receives the new birth, becomes a partaker of the divine nature, and thus becomes a child of God, once for all, forever. John 3:16, 6:37, 10:27–30; 2 Corinthians 5:14; Ephesians 2:8–9; 1 Timothy 2:3–6; 1 Peter 1:18–19, 23; 2 Peter 1:3–4.

The Church                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We believe the Church universal began at Pentecost with the baptism of the Holy Spirit and consists of all those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is the Head of the Church, called His Body. The local church is a body of believers in Christ who are joined together under scriptural leadership for the worship of God, for edification through the Word of God, for prayer, for fellowship, for the proclamation of the Gospel, and for observance of the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Matthew 16:16–18; Acts 1:4-5, 2:42–47, 11:15-16; Romans 12:5; Ephesians 1:20–23; Philippians 1:1; 1 Corinthians 12:13; 1 Timothy 3:15.

The Future                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             We believe in the imminent return of Jesus Christ to rapture the Church Age saints, followed by the tribulation period, and the visible return of Jesus Christ with his saints for his millennial reign on earth. We believe in the bodily resurrection of the just and unjust, in the reward and everlasting conscious blessedness of the just, and in the judgment and everlasting conscious punishment of the lost. Luke 16:19–26; John 11:25; 1 Corinthians 15:51-57; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18; Revelation 20:1–15, 21:1–8.                                         Approved by the Board of Trustees of Lancaster Bible College – February 12, 2005                                           

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             What scriptures understood grammatically, historically and in context have lead you to believe that…

(a)     the scriptures are “inerrant” (something which they never claim!)?  Rather than claiming inerrancy, the scriptures do claim to be pure: Ps.12:6; Prov.30:5; Ps.119:140;  tried: Ps.18:30; right: Ps.33:4; settled: Ps.119:89 and true: Ps.119:160; John 17:17?  Many writings of sinful men are “inerrant” but are not  pure, tried, right, settled or  true!

 (b) God the Father and the Holy Spirit are persons?   (What is your definition of a “person”?)  In your article you state  that LBC’s  short list of first level doctrines includes “the sinfulness of all persons”!!  Is the doctrine of the Godhead as a “Trinity of persons” derived by a grammatical, historical and contextual approach to the scriptures???   Or does scripture rather teach that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are Spirits and that the Lord Jesus, in His being made flesh,  became a person?

(c) Christ’s sacrifice for sinners, for the ungodly and for the unjust was a substitutionary one?  Is not a substitute an object or person which takes the place of another to do for the other what they could normally do for themselves?  Did Christ come to do such a work for us OR did He come to do something for us which we had never done before and which we could never be able to do? Was His work for us really a work of substitution?

(d)certain gifts of the Spirit are temporary?                                                                                                                                                                           apostles are sent ones by God. What scriptures understood grammatically, historically and contextually teach that God has stopped sending sent ones?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             –prophets (according to I Cor.14:3) speak unto edification, exhortation and comfort.  Zechariah prophesied in Luke 1:67-79 and simply applied to the current situation revelation already given.  What scriptures understood grammatically, historically and contextually teach that such ministry has already ceased?                                                                                                                                                             – What scriptures understood grammatically, historically and contextually teach that the gifts of healing, miracles, tongues and interpretation have already ceased?  When the scriptures are never described by the word “perfect” (TELEIOS) used in I Cor.13:8 but the body of Christ is (Ephesians 4:13) how can cessationism be defended by a grammatical, historical and contextual approach to scripture?

(e)the return of Christ is an imminent event (i.e. that no prophecy of scripture remains to be fulfilled before He returns)?  Does not Acts 3:20,21 understood grammatically, historically and contextually clearly contradict such a teaching? i.e. How can the Lord Jesus leave heaven until those events have taken place?  I’m sure you believe that the redemption (apolutrosis) of our bodies (Romans 8:23) along with the redemption of the bodies of believers who were alive while the Lord Jesus was on earth will happen simultaneously with His coming. He clearly informed them in Luke 21:28 of events which had to precede their redemption (apolutrosis).  I’m sure you also believe that our rest from trouble comes simultaneously with the coming of the Lord. II Thessalonians 1:6-10 clearly places that event at the time of His revelation!  So how can one possibly believe His coming to be imminent when all of these passages are understood grammatically, historically and in context?

(f)the tribulation is a period of seven years which follows the rapture of the churchHow can one read Daniel 9 grammatically, historically and contextually and conclude that weeks (shebuah), which means “7 days”  in every other place in scripture, has the unique meaning of “seven years” in this one single chapter?? How can one read every other prophecy in the Bible where definite time periods of known duration are fulfilled in the very same time periods in which they were prophesied and then conclude that “7 weeks”, “62 weeks” and “one week” of Daniel 9 mean something entirely different from what Daniel wrote???  Also he never spoke of a single continuous period of “69 weeks” which many assume!                                                                                                              Reading all of scripture grammatically, historically and contextually, how can one conclude that “the last trump” of I Cor.15:52  precedes seven other trumpets???                                                                                                                                                                                                              -Every other trumpet of scripture is sounded by either men or angels and all other trumpets are sounded after the first and

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before the last!                                            

But the first and last trumpets stand out as absolutely unique in a number of ways:                                                                                                     The first trump of scripture is…                                                                                                                                                                                                               (a) mentioned in five texts of scripture: Exodus 19:13,16,19; 20:18 and Hebrews 12:19                                                                                               (b) was a voice sounded by God and was actually His own voice speaking articulated words (the Ten Commandments) to the Israelites! Ex.19:16-19; Deut. 4:9-13,33,36; 5:22-26;  and                                                                                                                                                                                  (c) was sounded as God came down upon Mt. Sinai (Heb.12:18,19)                                                                                                                                            The Last trump of scripture is also…                                                                                                                                                                                                       (a) mentioned in 5 texts of scripture: Is. 27:13; Zec.9:14; Matt. 24:31;  I Cor. 15:52 & I Thess. 4:16                                                                        (b) will be a voice sounded by God and will actually be the voice of the Son of God calling the dead from their graves! Zec.9:14;  I Cor.15:52; I Thess.4:16; John 5:25-29 and                                                                                                                                                                                         (c) will be sounded as the Lord Jesus comes down on the Mount of Olives  Zec.14:1-5; Acts 1:9-12

Many Christians initially reject acknowledging scripture as the only authoritative and objective standard by which to distinguish sound doctrines from all false ones. They fear that to do so they would have to reject many doctrines which are precious to them.

However, the only doctrines which one must reject when accepting this standard and the above-mentioned marks of sound doctrine are those doctrines ….

-which are not stated in the pure words of the Lord,

-which can only be stated in words which are additional to His pure words,                                                                                                     -which can only be stated in words which man’s wisdom teaches,                                                                                                                            -which deny, contradict or deceive contrary to the apostles’ doctrine and                                                                                                          – the source of which is Satan, the deceiver, and have been communicated by guile, by the sleight of men and their cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive.

 I trust brother Teague that, after prayerful consideration of these truths of scripture, you too may also gladly acknowledge the inspired Word of God as the only authoritative and objective standard by which to distinguish sound doctrines from all false ones. I pray that that you and others at LBC would be willing to teach this standard to your students regardless of the cost.  The cost will be high, but the eternal rewards will be worth it all!

 Your brother in Christ,

Bruce Woodford

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10 comments on “Response to Dr. Peter Teague of Lancaster Bible College

  1. Owen says:

    Historcally speaking, it is always the ones who argue the most over doctrine and nuance that cause disunity.

    Reader beware.

    Like

    • Hi Owen,
      I find your comment above rather strange for a couple of reasons:
      (1) I have not “argued over doctrine or nuance” at all here!
      (2) You made a claim but gave absolutely no historical evidence to back it up!

      What dangers do you see of which you urge readers of this blog to “beware” when I have simply urged all my readers to test doctrines of man by what scripture actually says for itself??? Has the pattern of the Bereans in Acts 17:11 somehow become dangerous to the people of God?

      I’d really like to learn what your real concern is. Feel free to email me personally at bwood4d@gmail.com

      A brother in Christ,
      Bruce Woodford

      Like

      • Owen says:

        Sorry Bruce, I guess I don’t understand your definition of “argue”,”doctrine”, or “nuance”.

        The pattern of the Bereans was not that they examined the scriptures, but that they saw Jesus when they examined the scriptures.
        Testing the doctrines of man against the scriptures is what scripture followers do. Christ followers test them against Christ.

        Arguing about the law is unprofitable and vain, so reader beware.

        Like

      • Hi Owen,

        I entirely agree that Christ is the theme of all of scripture, however, when you come to Acts 17:11, how do you understand what the Bereans did after hearing Paul?

        There is no evidence that they had ever met the Lord Jesus and it is most likely that all they knew of Him was what Paul had preached about Him. So can you explain for me how they tested Paul’s teaching “against Christ”?

        Then can you explain how Christ followers test the doctrines of men against Christ? Is not what we know of Christ revealed in the scriptures?

        I’d really like to get a better idea of where you are coming from and what it is that you are actually opposed to in what I’ve written above.

        Can you be specific and reprove and correct me on specifics where you believe I am wrong? I honestly don’t know what you are troubled with and I don’t think anyone else reading your comments above would know that either.

        Bruce

        Like

  2. Desmond says:

    Thanks for your input here Owen. You have really made me look at Acts 17 with new eyes. I usee to think that the Bareans were the only group to go back and check the scriptures after speaking with Paul. Now I see that is not the case. Scripture does show that the Salamians in Acts 13:5, the Antiochans in 13:17, the Iconions in Acts 14:1, the Thessalonians in Acts 17:3, the Athenians in Acts. 17:17, the Corinthians in Acts 18:4, the Ephesians in 18:19, and the Ephesians again in Acts 19:8 were all reading their scriptures. I believe that as you stated, the Bareans were singled out not because they read their scriptures, but because they found the Jesus that Paul was as proclaiming to them when they read their scriptures.

    I think what Owen has shown here dear Bruce is that when we are introduced to Jesus and understand that Jesus is the messiah we have a new and better understanding of what we have read in the Scriptures that tell us about him.

    It is my personal belief that the more we immerse ourselves in the story, life and teaching of Jesus, the more it will influence our perspective of all other scripture. And the less we are influenced by Jesus, the more legalistically we will read scripture.

    Like

  3. Owen says:

    Dearest brother Bruce, You are very quick to take offense.
    Please calm yourself.
    Don’t worry so much. My correction or reproof are not for you. They are merely observations for your readers.
    I am sure that you know that there are some who spend most of their efforts on interpretation and word meaning, but very little time on Jesus.
    I know that you would agree with me that this is the mark of a contentious man and that your readers would do well to be wary of anything that was not like Jesus.

    May the purity of the words of scripture guide us and keep us away from the deceptive wisdom of man.

    Readers, If you don’t find Jesus here,.. Keep looking.

    Like

    • Hi Owen,
      Could you still elaborate a bit on what you mean by your statement, “Christ followers test doctrines of man against Christ.”

      How does one do this and what are the key differences (in your view) between this and testing doctrines of man against the scriptures?

      Bruce

      Like

  4. Luc says:

    Thanks for your comments Owen. I get a lot out of them. I hope you continue to post your comments on the blog rather than emailing Bruce directly. I think we are all a bit smarter than Bruce gives us credit for because I for one do see what you are getting at. I will beware of legalism.

    Like

  5. Vernon says:

    I also test my doctrines against scripture. At one point I wanted to sleep with my neighbors wife, but scriptures say that I should not commit adultery, so I did not.
    I have followed scripture and done no wrong.

    Like

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