There are some who criticize those who believe that the Bible can be interpreted clearly. This criticism is most sharply leveled at Reformed conservatives — namely, those who are most committed to the clear teachings of Scripture, and the propositional truths found in the Bible.
Those who believe the Bible presents clear propositional truth statements, which can be believed and defended with certainty, are negatively described by critics as those who claim (overtly, covertly, or unconsciously) to have final orthodoxy nailed down.
The problem is that the propositionalism of conservative, biblical Christianity is antithetical to, and incompatible with, post-conservative, ambiguous non-orthodoxy. The two are mutually exclusive.
The temptation is to redefine humility as a willingness to accept doctrinal uncertainty, and then promotes it as the foremost virtue of such a worldview.
Tolerance, then, is the new humility. Blind to the outrageous pride of condescendingly elevating oneself above the church’s greatest theologians and exegetes, those in this camp insist that their position is humble. But those who are unwilling to tolerate other ideas, even when those ideas contradict the plain reading of Scripture, are denounced as arrogant, disrespectful, and insensitive. It is an attempt to discredit those who boldly proclaim the clear message of Scripture. Instead of humbly acknowledging and submitting to the clarity of God’s revealed Word — which is true humility (Is. 66:1-2), they redefine humility in order to undercut their detractors without having to address their arguments.
There will be some, no doubt, who find the above unfair or unloving. But there is much more at stake than mere semantics or slight philosophical disagreement. The purity of the gospel itself is at stake. If God’s Word cannot be understood with certainty then a saving comprehension of the gospel becomes an impossible task. But if the straightforward reading of Scripture is allowed to stand, then the false system of doctrinal subjectivity crashes to the ground.
For those who share “the love of the truth” (2 Thesalonians. 2:10), and who are committed to “guard what has been entrusted” to them (1 Timothy 6:20), no room can be made for a philosophical agenda. The apostle Paul reserved the harshest words for those who would undermine the gospel:
I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed! (Galatians 1:6-9)
And the Lord Himself warned His followers, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15). After all, those who distort the Scriptures do so to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:16).
This article is adapted from a John MacArthur article from The Master’s Seminary Journal.