Oct 20, 2008

Campbell - Double Sense

One of the series planned for upcoming chapters of my book, "The Hardshell Baptist Cult," will be titled "Hardshell Hermeneutics."

In this series I will show how the Hardshells are infamous for their giving strange interpretations to bible words and ideas, and of their giving to words a "double sense" (among other errors in interpretation). I have demonstrated this many times already in the previous 84 chapters already published.

I found this interesting citation from Alexander Campbell on this very issue. Surely he battled many in his day who, like the Hyperists, who are guilty of errors in what is called "equivocation." Do the Hardshells not say there are "two kinds" of

1. Faith
2. Repentance
3. Birth
4. Life
5. Etc.

Campbell, writing in an article titled - "THE DOUBLE SENSE OF SCRIPTURE," wrote:

"The darkness of mysticism is fast passing away. The double sense, or the triple and quadruple sense of Scripture, once so fashionable, so sacred, amongst the great mass of Protestant and Catholic commentators and sermonizers, is falling much into disrepute amongst the most learned and pious of this generation. The textuary mode of interpreting, which grew out of the equivocal sense of Scripture, will soon be confined to the more enthusiastic and weak minds of the sectaries. Enlightened men of all denominations are fast abandoning the double sense." [A. C.], 1830, page 38.

In 1831 Mr. Campbell wrote, "On the Laws of Interpretation."
A more essential service, in our judgment, no man can render the present generation, than to call the attention of the readers of the Sacred Scriptures to the standard rules of interpretation. We are daily more deeply convinced that the confusion, ignorance, enthusiasm and superstition of this generation are attributable more to false principles, or, perhaps, to the lack of all principles of interpretation, than to all other causes combined. It is the teachers that cause the people to err more in this respect than in any other. One says the Bible means what it says; another says it means not what it says. One denounces the literal, another the spiritual meaning of the book. One is all for the spirit, another all for the letter; and some are always in quest of the recondite and hidden meaning. Thus the people know not by what star to steer their course, and are in worse circumstances than if they acknowledged no other guide, over seer, or ruler, than plain, honest, common sense."
[A. C.]


1. Alexander Campbell. Extract from "The Double Sense of Scripture." The Millennial Harbinger 1
(January 1830): 38.
2. ----------. Extract from "On the Laws of Interpretation.--No. I." The Millennial Harbinger 2 (November
1831): 488.


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