About Reformed Methodology

Dear Brother, 

Regarding “Reformed Methodology” in determining truth referred to Feb. 15, 1977 consider the following: 

An exegete must search the Scripture. A minister in preparing a sermon (and there is no principle difference with a synodical study committee) must not first consult commentaries, confessions, etc., but he must sit down with his Greek and Hebrew Bible andexegete. He must study the words, the sentences, the context, the whole Bible that bears on that particular text. This is the fundamental task of an exegete. He must prayerfully give himself body and soul to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and come to a conclusion which he understands to be the Word of God. 

2. Then he consults commentaries, Reformed confessions, Reformed writers, etc. This is important. A Reformed exegete does not work independently, he values the mind of the Spirit as He guided the church in the past, especially in the official confessions of the church. Such an exegete does not live independently in the present, neither does he live in the past, but he lives out of the past in the present day. 

3. If there is conflict, he will realize the need for more study. If the Bible seems to him to teach something other than the church of the past expressed in her confessions or decisions, he has to study further. Both the confessions and his personal conclusions must be subject to the Scripture. He will not be so arrogant as to imagine that his personal conclusions are just as valuable as the conclusions of the Reformed confessions and leading minds of the past, the weight will favor their conclusions. His study will be to convince himself that the confessions state the mind of the Spirit. His mind must be subject to the Scripture and Reformed confessions. If he cannot in good conscience come to that conclusion, it is his duty to show the Reformed churches that the mind of the past is in conflict with the Scripture. 

We appreciate your concern to be Reformed, but we must not over-react and lose the Reformed truth of Article 7 of our Belgic Confession. 

Reformed methodology is still, Scripture then confessions. 


Rev. J. Kortering 

Note: I will reply to colleague Kortering’s contribution in the next issue.—HCH