I get confused sometimes with interpretation in general of the Bible. Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, etc. All have different forms of theolgical understandings of scripture that has resulted in various denominations. Why, and how do you decide which one to agree with more or less??


The particular false teachings you are probably referring to is Predestination, particularly of the TULIP variety.  I have some useful material on that at the web site in the outline (see power points) on Hebrews.  I can also suggest a book on the subject titled "Troubling Questions for Calvinists"  by F. LeGard Smith.

As to how to personally make a decision about what doctrines are the correct ones from scripture, let me suggest a couple of things you can do.

The first is to train yourself to read the scriptures for yourself and to make reasonable inferences directly from the scripture.  A good idea is to teach yourself (or take a class) on biblical hermeneutics.  I actually have a pretty good outline on this at the web site.  If you cannot find it, just write me back and I will make sure you get it.  I am not personally the world’s expert on hermeneutics, but it might be helpful.

The second is to invest some time in studying the writings of the Church Fathers–especially those in the second and third centuries.  These writers are not infallible but they tend nearly all the time to represent a good source to understand how the apostles themselves interpreted the sayings of Jesus.  There are many ways to get access to these writings.  You can find a good book on the early church fathers’ writings at a library, a Christian book store or doing some shopping on line.

A third suggestion is to take some time learning about Christian theology.  You will have to be very discerning here, as there is so much bad stuff out there, but if you can really discipline yourself to test those who write in this area for maintaining a strong biblical emphasis, theologians can help you to learn to think more systematically about God and his nature.  This can help you to avoid some of the common errors in thinking.

I do not know your religious background or what Christian group you affiliate yourself with.  If you write me back I might be able to direct you to some more useful material.

By the way, sorry for the slow reply, but I have been traveling and teaching in Korea and the Philippines and have been very busy.

John Oakes

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