Necessary Inference aka, Good and Necessary Consequence.

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by Dan...., Jun 21, 2005.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Dan....

    Dan.... Puritan Board Sophomore

    Bringing back up a good question for those who are looking down on the use of necessary inference:


    {Edited to start a new thread for this as it is off the original topic. The quote above is from the Covenant of Works thread}

    [Edited on 6-21-2005 by Dan....]
  2. Dan....

    Dan.... Puritan Board Sophomore

    Here's the question:

    What is to be thought of the "good and necessary consequence " clause?

    Thumbs up?
    Thumbs down?

    Why or why not?

    If not, please explain the doctrines in the first post above without the used of necessary inference.

    [Edited on 6-21-2005 by Dan....]
  3. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Obviously God saw fit. Keyword here, deduced. NI is not an attack on sola scriptura.
  4. blhowes

    blhowes Puritan Board Professor

    Is this a good definition of necessary inference?

    necessary inference is a logically valid argument from true premises, such as: 1. the children of believers are covenant members; 2. covenant members are to receive the entrance sign of the covenant; therefore (this follows necessarily from the premises) the children of believers are to receive the entrance sign of the covenant.

    (when I first saw the term, I thought it had something to do with an inference being necessary to get to a desired result...obviously wrong)
  5. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian


    To give the full context (because good and necessary inference operates on the principle that a text without a context is but a pretext) of the Confessional statement:

    The sense of Scripture (as derived from context, logical good and necessary inference, etc.) is as authoritative as "proof texts." Which is why the Confessional summary of doctrine or a sermon for that matter -- to the extent it properly adheres to its Biblical basis -- is authoritative at all.

    Nehemiah 8
    8:5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people; ) and when he opened it, all the people stood up:

    8:6 And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.

    8:7 Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place.

    8:8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.
  6. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior

    Per Robert Shaw's commentary on Chapter 1 of the WCF:

  7. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior

    Question: Though the consequence of a passage may be good, is it always necessary?
  8. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I would say "no" to that question. Because of our creature limitation and our sinful state we ought not to think that we are able to grasp all reason. It may seem that our consequence from reasonable inferences may be good, yet it is still possible that we have not taken into account all givens in that consequence. When the consequence can be no other, such as in the consequence of the doctrine of the Trinity, where it transcends our limitations of reason, that we call it "necessary".

    However, we do have some things that are good though not necessary, such as exclusive psalmody. It may be right, it may be necessary, but we do not have the means to be conclusive on that. But that does not mean it is not good, or that we may not practice it in good faith.

    [Edited on 6-21-2005 by JohnV]
  9. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    Can't wait for the exclusive psalmodists :sing: on the board to discuss necessary inference. :lol:

    Ahh...isn't that the rub though...we all want necessary inference but no one can necessarily infer where the line and what doctrines can be necessarily inferred! ( I know..I know...the Confession...but how did they necessarily infer what should be confessional and what shouldn't?)
  10. Dan....

    Dan.... Puritan Board Sophomore


    If the consequences are not necessary, then I don't see how they can be "good". Inferences which are not necessary bind the consciences of men without just cause (See WCF XX, Christian Liberty). Going with the example of exclusive psalmody, if it is not a necessary consequence, then it is neither a good consequence as it would then bind the church to perform less than what God has required of us in worship.

    (Let's not make this an exclusive psalmody debate :lol: ).
  11. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I think that Bob made a good distinction with the word "necessary". We have to be careful what we mean by it. I wouldn't want to mislead you. What I mean by necessary is that it can be no other, as in the Trinity. In the matter of EP (I agree, let's not debate that) for some they see it as inferred by Scripture. And they do no harm in following after that. So they can hold to that inference as a good. But that does not mean it is necessary: it is not as though it is the only possible consequence, that there is not other possible answer to the questions raised that can also be good.
  12. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    In the case of EP which you just referred to as not necessary but can be held to as a good and that they do no harm in following after that...Are you sure about that? What if the "they" were your session? Not trying to stir things up, but I am surprised I'm reading you say this (if I am indeed understanding you correctly:candle: ) Switch out EP and replace with presuppositionalism and does it change things? The reason I say this is because presup. could be held to individually and be good without being preached from the pulpit (as you have argued before) but how would that be done with EP? Would that necessitate a whole worship service to be that way and bind others? (again not debating EP just using it as an example because you did).

    So I guess what I'm rambling about is, from your perspective, can a good but non-necessary teaching come from the pulpit or only the good/necessary. (sorry bout this...trying to understand all of the ins and outs here - not trying to open up a :worms: )

    [Edited on 6-21-2005 by crhoades]

    [Edited on 6-21-2005 by crhoades]
  13. Dan....

    Dan.... Puritan Board Sophomore


    I'm not sure we are following eachg other here.

    What I am asking is how one can say that there can be a "good" inference that is not "necessary"? Any inference that is not necessary is arbitrary. It is the opinion of man and cannot be binding on men (per the principle of Christian Liberty).

    Try another example. One may infer that women shouldn't where pants because the scriptures require modesty (there are fundamentalists who believe this). Is this an inference? yes. Is it necessarily true? No. It is not a necessary inference. It is not binding. Now if someone does not want to want to do wear pants, then that is okay; they are free either way. Such is a matter of preference. But for one to bind the conscience of others by teaching it as a necessary consequence of modesty is not "good", for it violates Christian Liberty.

    Actually, they do in fact do harm because (assuming that it is not a necessary inference) they fail to obey completely by not singing "hymns and spiritual songs" (assuming that "hymns and spiritual songs" refer to other than psalms). An unnecessary inference in this matter would result in disobedience. (Of course, I am not looking for another EP debate...obviously if EP is necessarily inferred, then to sing more than just psalms would also be disobedience).

    Are you following? How can an non-necessary inference be considered a good inference? It sound arbitrary to me.

    [Edited on 6-21-2005 by Dan....]
  14. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    The following is my opinion, not necessary doctrine. :D

    My Session did in fact impose EP, and I did not disagree with their decision. In this case submission was better, for it was done for a good purpose. There was confusion as to the place of music and kinds of songs, so they took a "position", for the time being. It was good that they did not seek a compromise with the different views, but chose instead a position of most basic Biblical necessity in worship as to music. It may be questioned whether hymns may be sung, but it cannot be questioned that Psalms ought to be sung. They did not make a rule that hymns are not Biblical; they made a rule that for the time being they would follow the RPCNA psalter, which is kind of a half-way songbook, with more contemporary or traditional music, but with referenced versification from the Psalms.

    Presuppositionalism is a teaching. It is a teaching of man; it is not a confessional doctrine. To teach it from the pulpit as an exclusive view is adding man's teachings to Biblical doctrine, necessitating what God did not necessitate.

    Presuppositionalism can be held as a good. It has added a dimension to thought that has benefitted us. I am not saying that it is a bad teaching. I would say that some make it bad by insisting on it on the level of doctrine, necessitating it upon God's people as if pronounced by God Himself. But that does not make Presuppositionalism wrong; it makes some who hold to it wrong. There is a difference.

    Presuppositionalism is not a necessary doctrine. It is for some the only thing that they can understand, and it has been a benefit to them. But these need to maintain respect of those who are persuaded differently, but have also benefitted from the view they have understood. At least, that's how I see it.

    If a teaching (such as infant baptism) is a denominational decision, and it is for them a direct inference from Scripture and the Confessions, then it may be taught. But it may not be taught from the pulpit as if lording it over those who do not hold to that. What I mean is that those who hold to the teachings of the covenantal membership of infants do not baptize their infants, then they are in disobedience to their confession. But is a Baptist is a member through accident (for whatever reason, I mean) then he ought not to be held accountable to that out of respect. Yet the minister ought to preach it from the pulpit, so as perhaps to teach the Baptist as well as the congregation why children of believers ought to be baptized. But the Baptist is not in direct disobedience to his faith, though we may believe that he is in disobedience to Scripture. It is because he is trying to be consistent with what he believes that he is given that respect, and therefore given a status of exception.

    The truth itself has not changed. I still believe that infant baptism is a necessary inference. But Baptists also have the Spirit, who works in His children as He sees fit. He has given them immovable persuasion of something that we cannot understand. We must allow for that. I am not perfect, and I do not understand all things: I may yet be wrong.

    If Presuppositionalism can be taught without belittling those who are not persuaded of it and who hold to all the marks of a true faith, then it may be taught. If it can be taught along with the other views, as they all work together, then it must be taught. If it is taught as an exclusive and necessary doctrine, that is it becomes a point of orthodoxy, then it may not be taught. For the simple truth is that it is not a point of orthodoxy.

    Hope that helps, Chris.

    [Edited on 6-21-2005 by JohnV]
  15. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    See Wayne's quote of Robert Shaw, above.

    I would agree with this, Dan. However, it is possible to hold to such things without binding the conscience or violating conscientious liberty.
    I give some examples of that in my post, above, to Chris, namely imposing EP for a good purpose, whether temporary or not, or allowing a Baptist contingent membership in the fellowship for specified reasons, or teaching views on some things such as methods of defending against attacks on faith. These can all be done without violating the Christians right to believe to the best of his ability.

    It can also be done with women being denied the right to wear pants. Just don't ask me how. :D
    I think I am following. You are asking how EP can be good if it violates a legitimately possible interpretation the text they use to justify their imposition of it. (That is why I have said that EP is OK, as long as it is a policy, not a doctrine.) I would agree with this, that this violates Christian Liberty of conscience. But that does not mean that all impositions of EP are imposed as doctrine; some are imposed as policy, for the public good. And we can see some good in that, because at least these churches are not given to music that pleases the people instead of worships God. That is a good.

    But it is also good sometimes to give up your own conscientious objections for the sake of the common good. That happens a lot, as a matter of fact. Such policies or decisions may not be "necessary", but they are good. There are a lot of things that we have to choose one or the other, without having the luxury of being able to establish necessity. We must choose the better of the two, for that is necessary. And unity is necessary, so we acquiesce for the good, peace, and unity of the Church.

    There are also things that we must stand up against, even if the majority has decided in favour; even if you are the only one against. And one of those is adding men's teachings to Biblical doctrine. It may as well be Mariology as one of the millennial positions, if it equates man's books or teachings with the Word of God, and belittles those whom God has called by His own name. Not everyone is literate in the millennial views, and any one of them are not necessary doctrine. But if man makes one of them an imposed point of orthodoxy, then we must stand against that, even if we stand alone. For that is a violation of a clear and necessary doctrine from Scripture, which we know as Sola Scriptura.

    Unless EP or ladies disallowed from wearing pants is declared as Scripturally necessary, we may allow for the good that such a policy may achieve. But these may not bind the conscience. They can be practices without binding the conscience, allowing the following of good order and peace, while still allowing for differences. Remember, that a lady also has the freedom not to wear pants; she does not have to wear pants in order to believe as she does.

    [Edited on 6-21-2005 by JohnV]

    [Edited on 6-21-2005 by JohnV]
  16. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    A good example of "necessary" inferences which are not imposed would be the Confessions themselves. Office-bearers are strictly held to them, depending on the subscription methodology utilized, but ordinary members are called to believe in them, but without the same imposition. There is an allowed-for latitude, without it being a mandate for disunity in the congregations. Some things show a definite departure in doctrine or in life, but others simply show ignorance, as in a lack of education or ability. These latter are not unbelievers on account of that.

    We are called to an intricate teaching on the Trinity, which "except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved." (Athanasian Creed, art. 44) But that doesn't mean that everyone of us understands it, or can say we hold to every word of it without exception. Those of us in this latter category, who have trouble understanding it, yet can say we believe it, though, because we trust that the Church fathers who formulated it did not steer us wrongly, and that it was carefully formulated for us, even though we do not understand it.

    So some of us may express the holy doctrine of the Trinity in an unseemly fashion, but that is a matter of kind correction through teaching, not of discipline. Yet we uphold the necessity that the Athanasian Creed expresses.

    [Edited on 6-21-2005 by JohnV]
  17. Dan....

    Dan.... Puritan Board Sophomore


    I failed to see how the quote from Shaw addressed how an inference can be both good and non-necessary.

    I am not following here.... How can someone (let's make the someone a "she" for clarity sake) infer from the scriptures (hence, claim that it is binding) that it is wrong for women to wear pants and yet not have her conscience bound by that inference?

    I'm not following here either....
    Either these inferences listed be true, or they are not.

    How can a church (assuming EP to be false, as I know that we both do not hold EP) impose EP "for a good purpose"? When is it ever a good purpose not to completely obey the scriptures in worship standards (which failure to sing hymns and spiritual songs is incomplete obedience)?

    Allowing a Baptist membership in the church (which is proper so long as he has a credible profession) has no bearing on whether infant baptism is lawful. Either infant baptism is lawful and the Baptist sins by not having his children baptized, or infant baptism is not lawful and the paedo-baptist sins by having his children baptized. If credo-only baptism is not necessarily inferred, then the inference thereof is not good. So also, paedo-baptist is not necessarily inferred, then the inference thereof is not good. They cannot both be good inferences.

    Concerning presuppositionalism, I do not understand why it would be wrong to teach it if it be necessarily inferred from the scriptures. If it is not necessarily inferred from the scriptures, then it is the arbitrary opinion of men. If it is necessarily inferred, then it is the truth of God and should be taught.

    How can any of these inferences be good if they are not necessarily deduced from the scriptures? Either they are the will of God or they are arbitrary.

    How can it be a policy and not a doctrine? If the scriptures commands the singing of "hymns and spiritual songs" and we have a policy that forbids the singing thereof, how can that be lawful?

    How can incomplete obedience be for the public good?

    Certainly. It is not my place (as a lay person) to decide whether the congregation is to sing Psalms only or whether hymns also; this is the duty of the elders.

    Now if I held EP and were a member of a church that does not hold EP, I would advise the elders of my differences and request that I be not made to sing that which I found to be unlawful in the worship of God.

    This applies to other issues as well.

    This is where Christian liberty comes into play. If one decision or the other is neither prescribed nor forbidden, then we are at liberty to choose as we wish.

    I don't disagree (except for the EP), but this is off the issue. The issue is inference from the scriptures. For example, let's say a college requires that alcohol be not allowed on campus (including in the dorms for those who are above the legal age). This may be a good policy (and probably is, for the sake of the security of the falculty and students). But it is not a policy that the college inferred from the scriptures (If they claimed to infer it from the scriptures then there is a problem). As to whether it is lawful for a authority to impose such policies for the good of the people is technically off the topic at hand, unless they claim to have infered such policies from the scriptures.
  18. Dan....

    Dan.... Puritan Board Sophomore

    That the officers of the church are to uphold the teachings of the confessions is certainly inferred from the scriptures (Titus 1:9 ff).

    That the laypersons are not required to affirm the confessions, is because the scriptures lays no such strictness on church membership as it does on who is qualified to be a teacher in the church.
    (See Hodge, Systematic Theology, Part III, Chapter 11, section 3 under the "Nature of the Church", "Terms for admission into his kingdom." page 607 in my copy).

    However, I don't see how this relates to distiguishing between a "good" inference and a "good and necessary" inference. If the teachings of the confessions are necessarily infered, then those doctrines are to be taught as truth. If they are not necessarily inferred, then they are the arbitrary opinions of men and ought not to be taught as truth no matter how "good" they might seem.

    [Edited on 6-21-2005 by Dan....]
  19. Dan....

    Dan.... Puritan Board Sophomore

    John: We've done it now. :lol: The EPers are sure to be after us.

    By the way, I am still hoping that one of the men who spoke against necessary inferences in the Covenant of Works thread might possibly show us the doctrine of particular atonement from the scriptures with out the use of inferences.
  20. Dan....

    Dan.... Puritan Board Sophomore


    Now that think more about it, I wouldn't consider Presuppositionalism as much a doctrine as it is rather more a practical application of the doctrine of total depravity in relation to giving an answer for the hope in us.

    [Edited on 6-22-2005 by Dan....]
  21. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate


    We are likely working with a different understanding of "necessary". As I said above, I hold necessary to mean that it cannot be otherwise. So, though the doctrine of the Trinity is not reasonable to our limited understandings, in that it is impossible for one to be three (violating a basic principle of logic, namely that A cannot be non-A: that one is not three, which is non-one) yet reason also declares to us that the Scripture must be without error, and that God reveals Himself to us as one God and three persons. It is necessary that we hold the Scripture inviolate, so we submit to the necessity of the Trinity. It cannot be otherwise.

    Lets first look at it from the other side:

    Something can be inferred from Scripture, and yet recognize our own limitations with that inference. It would violate our own conscience not to follow it, but that does not mean that we may bind everyone else's conscience by our own standards or understanding. She is bound by her conscience for herself.

    But lets remember that she ought not to bind her own conscience beyond the limits of that inference. She may believe it proper from Scripture to wear pants (don't ask me how), but if she then believes that she has no alternative but to wear pants, then she is inferring something wholly different. For then it is a prohibition against wearing anything else. That is a different inference, so lets ignore that, because that's not the issue here.

    So she may believe in her heart that she may wear pants, but that is different than believing that she must wear pants. She may also wear what the others wear (who believe that they may not wear pants) without violating her own conscience. And it would be good to be in unity with the others. The solution would be to seek to educate the others as to the liberty under Scripture to wear modest clothing that does not draw undue attention, or misdirect attention away from worship (a higher good.)

    In this way she still believes what she believes to be Scriptural, does not unsettle the congregation, seeks peace, and does not violate her own conscience.

    Now, for the side that you draw our attention to:

    Something can be inferred from Scripture, and yet recognize our own limitations with that inference. It would violate our own conscience not to follow it, but that does not mean that we may bind everyone else's conscience by our own standards or understanding. The church is bound by her conscience for herself.

    But lets remember that she ought not to bind her own conscience beyond the limits of that inference. She may believe it improper from Scripture to wear pants (don't ask me how), but if she then believes that she must condemn all those who wear pants, then she is inferring something wholly different. For then it is a prohibition against anything else. This time that is the inference, so lets not ignore that.

    The church may impose this due to ignorance, or because of social ingratiations, or a number of other influences. But I can't see how they would draw this from Scripture directly. But let's say they do. I think they are unduly binding the consciences of those who do not hold to that if they do that.

    But if they come to this conclusion because pants are an issue in the church, and they must decide between condoning them or ruling against them, and it seems good to the church to rule against the wearing of pants, and they do so for Biblical reasons, then they do so as a matter of policy, not doctrine, but to uphold the doctrine of peace, unity, worship, and seemly dress. These latter are necessarily from Scripture, and to uphold them they may feel compelled to make a rule as to dress, namely against wearing pants.

    In this case, they are violating no one's conscience, for those who hold that they may wear pants are not holding to that they must wear pants. Because if this were the case, then I'd say that this whole church scenario is way out of whack.

    It isn't. But non-EP is at leasst equally as questionable as EP in this regard. What I am saying is that we haven't proved the one or the other from necessary inference to the satisfaction of the other party. We non-EP-ers cannot boast necessity any more than the EP-ers can. But both of us hold to what we believe because we believe Scripture. When the day comes that one of us proves the necessity of our view, so that there is no alternative, then we may determine the necessity of it as a doctrine. But for now it is not, though we are compelled by Scripture to our differing views.

    If it were necessarily inferred from Scripture, then it would be an obligation to teach it. But it is not necessarily inferred from Scripture.

    It is inferred from Scripture, but the other views also believe their views are inferred from Scripture. We are back to different views of what Scripture infers. Whichever one is truly inferred is the one that ought to be taught. But please note that no denomination has ever declared it to be a necessary teaching, imposed by Scripture. And if they do, we know that denomination to be in error, for the historical church has made no such confession; such a denomination would be standing alone. Again, necessity has not been proved.

    It may seem a necessity to some, but these people have to understand that they themselves, even as a group, have no binding power. Only the Church has that binding power. And we are yet a long ways away from binding people's conscience with Presuppositionalism.

    When we don't know with certainty what complete obedience is, and we obey as completely as we can.

    That's right, that's how it works. We are fallible and limited. We don't know as much as we would like, but we do the best we can.

    But that is also what spirituality is about. It adds to our understanding when our understanding alone fails us.

    I agree. But such policies can be imposed for Scriptural reasons, such as "being sober", good order, studiousness, submission, etc., as it pertains to an educational atmosphere.
  22. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

  23. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    "Good", I believe, refers to a proper inference. "Necessary", I believe, refers to an inference that must be believed, one that we can judge orthodoxy by.

    This is different that the kind of necessity that would demand that a church practice EP for the time being, in order to bring the congregation back to a balanced view of music in worship. Such necessities are of a different sort.

    But gettin back to your point. I would agree with you. And this is what I would call recognizing the necessity of doctrines, and yet also recognizing the limitations of individuals and the different levels of understanding and faith that exists in a congregation, while at the same time holding to unity in those doctrines. We may bind people's consciences to them when the need arises, such as in the case of people who unsettle a congregation with their views, and their desire to herald such views as superior. We ourselves have issued such impositions upon those who unsettle this Board; and we call those who are teaching "new" teachings to submit to the Church's Confessions and order instead of unsettling the people with their new ideas. But we do not unsettle the congregations ourselves by imposing doctrines which some people cannot yet understand.

    That's why we have the "basics" to faith, which make up a credible profession of faith. From these, though, spring necessary inferences which we hope they will understand in time.
  24. Dan....

    Dan.... Puritan Board Sophomore


    Let me see if I am understand you now,

    You would consider an example of a "good" inference which is not necessarily a necessary inference as the one concerning possessing alcohol on the college campus. It is not necessarily infered from scripture that possesion of alcohol on campus is wrong. But it is necessarily infered that it is wrong for the students and teachers to hinder their own education and the education of others (Thou shalt not steal...they would be stealing the others' privilage to an educational atmosphere). Hence, when the school inforces, "no alcohol on campus", it is an application of "love your neighbor as yourself" (though not a "necessary" application thereof, but an application that they deem necessary under the circumstances)..... hence it is a good inference, but not a necessary inference. Correct??

    (I hope that made sense)
  25. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I would agree with that. That is an application of a good inference, one that is proper (as opposed to one that says that books are required for certain classes, therefore there is to be no alcohol on campus: it is not properly inferred. ) And it is good because it facilitates the good and benefit of all concerned. But, just as and example, you cannot prohibit alcohol "because the Bible says 'no alocohol'!", because it doen't say that. If the Bible did say "no alcohol", then it would be a direct command. If the Bible said "no inebriating substance", then "no escessive alcohol" would be a necessary inference because alcohol is an inebriating substance when taken excessively.

    So by "good" I don't just mean that it is better, but that it is proper. The fact that inferential propriety is better than impropriety stands to reason. But sometimes we may not see the good, even though it is a good inference, such as trying to persuade an EP about hymns. He may not like, but a good inference is a good inference. And vice versa, so as not to get the EP-ers up in arms: we may not like it, but a good inference is a good inference. And we should be thankful for them.

    A necessary inference would be one that is already good, but is now of the status that we cannot disagree with it. And the Church recognizes it as such, and declares it doctrinally binding. So it has to be sufficiently proven as necessary. And by that we mean that the Bible gives us no alternative but to believe that doctrine, once everything has been taken into account. Whatever is not taken into account can have no overriding bearing on that doctrine. As in the case of the Trinity, we cannot see how three can be one, but we may not violate Scripture; we would rather violate our own sensibilities. Our sense of logic may not override God's revelation. And when we think about it, it does not violate our sensibilities, because God is not subject to the creation, but transcends even numerical limitations. Because He is God. So, in the end, it turns out to quite sensible as well. The Trinity warrants for us the "one and the many" issues, as well as grounds the laws of logic in truth.
  26. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    Mr. Noah Webster to the rescue

    Out of the 40 definitions he lists, I think the first two fit very well.

    GOOD, a.

    1. Valid; legally firm; not weak or defective; having strength adequate to its support; as a good title; a good deed; a good claim.

    2. Valid; sound; not weak, false or fallacious; as a good argument.
  27. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate


    1. That must be; that cannot be otherwise; indispensably requisite. It is necessary that every effect should have a cause.

    2. Indispensable; requisite; essential; that cannot be otherwise without preventing the purpose intended. Air is necessary to support animal life; food is necessary to nourish the body; holiness is a necessary qualification for happiness; health is necessary to the enjoyment of pleasure; subjection to law is necessary to the safety of persons and property.

    3. Unavoidable; as a necessary inference or consequence from facts or arguments.

    4. Acting from necessity or compulsion; opposed to free. Whether man is a necessary or a free agent is a question much discussed.

    NECESSARY, n. A privy.
  28. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Thanks, Jeff.
  29. Michael Butterfield

    Michael Butterfield Puritan Board Freshman

    Gentlemen, if I may humbly make my first posting on this board and say the point seems to have been missed in my estimation. You cannot separate the phrase "˜good and necessary´ in the confession from each other. It is not an either/or issue it is a both/and issue. It seems to me that you have confused the "˜good and necessary´ clause with the idea of disputable matters from Romans 14. In fact, according to Dabney, "˜There is not an intelligent Protestant in the world, who does not hold that what follows from the express Word, "œby good and necessary consequence," is binding, as well as the Word itself.´ This clause is more applied to such truths as have already been mentioned such as the Trinity and the like. But, if you want to see the best example of how the Divines understood "˜good and necessary´ consequence it seems to me that all one has to do is look at the Standards teaching on the Law. There in the WLC (Q&A 102-148) you will see plenty of "˜good and necessary´ consequences as they are deduced from scripture and are therefore binding upon the conscience of men. I would say, then, that the consequential effect of this is that even the EP position is one that is, in the minds of its adherents, clearly good and necessary and that is why they do not sing hymns in hymn singing churches. They clearly understand that it would a sin for them to do so since they cannot do it by faith. The Romans 14 principle is operative: And he that doubts is damned if he eat, because he eats not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
  30. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    I agree that good and necessary are basically interchangable in this phrase! ;)
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page