This short program examines the North American Division “Majority Report” proposed “Principle-based, Historical-cultural” (PBHC) method of biblical interpretation. The method has been proposed as a means of dealing with certain “difficult texts” proponents of women’s ordination (WO) have struggled with. With the use of the PBHC method, the difficult texts disappear, and “no conclusive evidence prohibiting the ordination of women can be found in the Bible.” This video examines proposed guidelines for when to use PBHC, notes its close relation to the Historical-critical method, and discusses its embrace of reader-response criticism. Finally, the question is answered, can this method be considered to be compatible with longstanding Seventh-day Adventist use of the Historical-grammatical method. In behalf of the Council of Adventist Pastors (CAP) host Jim Brackett interviews Pr Larry Kirkpatrick.

8 thoughts on “NAD’s PBHC hermeneutic: a closer look

  1. We want to thank you for all the information that we have been receiving via your web-site. The last three programs in regards to the new methods proposal by the NAD is really very sober. To think that people would create something like this to justify their position for WO is really sad.

    Thank you again,
    John & Sheryl Hersom
    Acton, ME

  2. John,
    Glad it was helpful. Actually, the NAD has upped the ante and entirely changed the game. By admitting they can only get to WO by turning-off the Historical-grammatical approach to Scripture, they have made it plain: they are ready to trade the only approach to biblical interpretation that has preserved us from the overflow of a godless world, for this one questionable thing they value so much more highly. WO itself might be negotiable; the Historical-grammatical method is not. Not even close. Not remotely. If the acceptance of WO means moving the Historical-grammatical method to optional/retirement status, everything returns to RESET. This is different.

    The PBHC is a hole with no bottom. Once accepted the way is opened for every other thing that comes to the front in a godless culture. It is denominational suicide. God preserve us faithful no matter what comes.

  3. Thank you so much for your clear presentation. It certainly looks like the real battle is over Sola Scriptora rather than a fight for equality of women. Once again women seem merely to be pawns. In return for a few “carrots,” the women’s rights movement resulted in taking women out of the home and giving us tons of responsibilities that used to be men’s work. Now the very foundations of our Church are being shaken under the auspices of helping women. I sure wish both men and women could wake up and see what is happening. It seems to me that by introducing the “Principle-based, Historical-cultural” hermeneutic into the church, we will be opening up the door to “Politically-biased, Heretical-cultural” thinking! May the Lord bless you for speaking up.

  4. Sharon,
    Just as there are those who will throw out all ten of the Ten Commandments in order to escape obedience to the Sabbath, there are, it seems, those who are willing to throw out the approach to the Bible that God gave in the beginning of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in order that they might validate the ordination of women and the departure from biblical sex roles. Not to say that many of these persons are not innocently deceived because they are trusting in the words of other misguided persons.

  5. Larry, you refer to a 24 plus page report in the interview. The current version of the NAD report is 14 pages. So the report has been modified I think. Here is a link:

    In this latest version the report follows the same thought progression as in the earlier version: 1)The literal approach is contrasted to the “principle based” approach. 2) The literal approach produces unacceptable outcomes in this case so it must be wrong and therefore the “principled approach” should be used. 3) Using the principle based approach we can assume there is nothing in scripture directly preventing women from being ordained because the difficult texts really do not apply to us today literally as they did in times past. 4) Therefore, (in this fantasy world that has just been created in the minds of the “principled student”) there really is nothing in scripture that prevents women’s ordination.

    Quite amazing. Yet, I don’t question the sincerity of the authors. Most of the world sincerely believes in the wholesomeness of homosexuality. The world takes a “principle based” approach here as well. But if they would set aside their presuppositions and allow a plain reading of the word, they couldn’t hold to that view.

    • Mark, there is planning underway right now for CAP to address the new January document in an upcoming video. Thank you for calling our attention to this.

  6. Thanks so much Jim and Larry for elucidating this issue on hermeneutics.
    God help us all if the PBHC method is given any credence. Hopefully the Lord will prevent this travesty from taking place in our beloved church. The enemy is at work on many fronts to undermine our foundations. Why can’t people see that now, more than ever we need to stand by the “old waymarks.” How lost we will become without a compass, exactly what the enemy of souls wants. I appreciate what you are doing here.

  7. Yes, the enemy is certainly at work, and has with the most conservative younger generation of ministers. When I went to school – back in the days when we really believed the Spirit of Prophecy was a gift of God to our church, we learned to meet the opposition against the writings of Ellen White.

    Now this CAP is rejecting the old interpretation and using it to support the Roman Catholic views of Samuelle Bacciocchi. I fear the end results will be a rejection of the writings of Ellen White, except in areas where her words can be twisted to support your views. What will then happen to the church we love and support?


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