Sunday, July 08, 2007

7/8/07 Principium 1643

Principle, Application & History

Section 1

Historical testimony: Judicial criteria/presuppositional accountability


  1. Circumstance (true facts)
  2. Principle (sound doctrinal position)
  3. Application (sound doctrine logically applied via argument)

Historical testimony ought not to be abusively used as an absolute and unalterable template regarding what may or may not be done within differing circumstances. Our historic subordinate standards themselves assume the same, a prior. Since the subject of ordinary and extraordinary applications has been quite popular in our day, the same subject may serve as an example:

11. In extraordinary cases, something extraordinary may be done, until a settled order may be had, yet keeping as near as possibly may be to the rule. The Form of Church Government, pg. 412


  1. Extraordinary cases when?
  2. Applied in how many circumstances? One? Two? Three?
  3. What are the parameters of possibilities?
  4. How is possibility gauged between settled and unsettled?

Here we have a judicial determination establishing a general principle that may be applied, but it does not explicitly establish every particular case of application. It was never meant to explicitly establish every particular case of application, nor could it possibly do so. This being the case, to assume the application of our subordinate standards must have a 1-1 correspondence with every historical instance, would be to inject a foreign and impossible idea into documents themselves and the original intention of those who framed them. Such an approach operates upon a format of obsessive and abusive historical searches for the explicit. The approach would consequently choke the life out of the church from circumstance to circumstance. Logically, the church could never adapt or apply principle in any circumstance due to the absence of a preceding/explicit judicial action to “justify” it – thus terminating as a non-starter for any new judicial action throughout the history of the ecclesiastical world. Consequently, the necessary flow of judicial action would then be contingent upon the non-existent (historically explicit judicial instances), which categorically