Rules For Dialogues On Doctrines:
The following rules are helpful in our dialogue, especially in making inferences, in studying scripture. I propose them as guidelines:
1. The Word of God, the Bible (the scriptures), is the final authority in our dialogue (discussions).
2. The infallibility, immutability, and inspiration of the Word of God are attributed only as it was originally given. Translations are used for our convenience and those that are “Formal Correspondence” are very reliable.
3. All inferences using deductive or inductive logic must be substantiated from the Word of God.
4. ‘The law of contrary’ and ‘the law of complements’ are not applicable to God and His works. They are applicable in other instances.
5. ‘The law of first occurrence,’ ‘the law of context,’ ‘the law of relevance,’ ‘the law of positive pattern,’ ‘the law of total mention,’ ‘the law of plain sense,’ ‘the laws of grammar,’ ‘the law of progressive mention,’ and ‘the law of distinction’ are applicable to make inferences.
6. We should not establish a “preferred doctrine” by discrediting another that is clearly stated in the Word of God.
7. “Leading questions” are not to be used to establish or discredit doctrines.
In a dialogue, we ask questions expecting answers in return. If the answers are not clear, then clarifications are required for a better understanding. Ignoring hem will not be considered as answers. In such cases, the corresponding points will be deemed resolved in favor of the scriptural arguments, placed earlier in the discussion.
We should differentiate between the doctrines in the Word of God and ‘preferred doctrines’ of men. We should differentiate between doctrinal and non-doctrinal subjects that are in the scriptures.