(Thanks to Mr. R. Scott Clark who has responded to this post. After reading his post my initial concerns and objections remain. For further explanation, see my comments to our friend Colin Adam here below. I have given about as much attention to this as I can at the moment. Matt will be back at the end of the week and can then give a follow-up to his post. Thanks to all and especially Mr. Clark for the interaction.)
“It’s isn’t that complicated. Pay close attention here: The Apostolic hermeneutic is to see Christ at the center of all of Scripture. We’re not reading him into
Scripture. We’re refusing to read him out of it. There, I said it.
That’s what it is. Perhaps the reason our dispensational friends cannot
see it is because they are blinded by their rationalism.”
His response is as misguided as it is seemingly uncharitable. Clark has used the classic red herring that this is a “dispensational vs. reformed” theology dispute. History and the facts could not be more opposed to such lines of thought. My concern is not that the world put their faith and trust in dispensationalism or the Westminster standards for that matter. I will be the first to admit that many classic dispensationalist have erected mountains where there should be smooth plains but I will also point out that many reformed interpreters have flattened the text and are quick to excuse elements of discontinuity. I really don’t care about labels such as these because, more often than not, they merely confuse or misdirect where simple clarification can be more helpful. If a label has to be qualified a thousand times before it can be understood then it may be more helpful to simply explain your perspective.
Additionally, those who are currently writing on these issues from more dispensational vantage points would have no problem saying that Jesus the Messiah stands at the center of Scripture. Clark needs to do better than pull out fifty year-old third-hand negative quotes from Dwight Pentecost to bolster his supposed argument. I have no problem saying that the anticipation of the OT was the Messiah and that the NT is the realization of that expectant hope. Don’t most Christians say this? To suggest otherwise is slight of hand meant to confuse or belittle those raising dissenting questions.
Clark also drops the “R” word saying that his dispensational friends are blinded by rationalism. Really? Did he actually read Waymeyer’s post where he stated in albeit, rational terminology: “Of course, any principle which cannot be proven clearly from Scripture would not be allowed on the list and should not be used by the one committed to using the apostles hermeneutic.” This does not sound like a plea for interpreters to rest on their reasoning or enlightenment posteriors.
Last time I checked, christology is a branch of systmematic theology and not a branch of hermeneutics but don’t get everything bunched-up just yet. Please do not conclude from this that we think Jesus the Messiah is somehow absent in the OT, no far from it! Kaiser (not a dispensationalist mind you) rightly notes, “To reject the Old Testament as the prior, authoritative revelation of God is to reject the Bible’s own basis for determining who is and who is not the Messiah.” So the question still remains: if “the Apostolic hermeneutic is to see Christ at the center of all of Scripture” then how do you do that without resorting to a subjective approach or worse a hyper-allegorical approach to the OT? Additionally what are the specific principles in this regard that can be objectively applied to every passage of the OT?