HEDGING ON THE ISSUE

T.PIERCE BROWN

Those who engage in debating to any degree are aware of what is known as Hedge’s rules of logic. One of them is that one must not charge the other with believing the logical consequences of a doctrine or proposition unless he actually does believe it, although one may properly show the logical consequences of a doctrine, and that a person is acting illogically or irrationally if he teaches the doctrine but denies the consequences. Probably some who take a position but are unwilling to accept the logical conclusion of that position are trying to “hedge their bets.” I suppose in a gambling situation, that means, “try to fix the situation so you will not lose everything in case you made the wrong guess.” If one is “hedging on a statement or an issue” it means that he equivocates or uses such language or reasoning that will allow him a way out of accepting the logical and proper consequences of his statements or position. Whether it has anything to do with Hedge’s rules of logic, I do not know. I do know that there are those who improperly or falsely charge a person with believing something when it merely seems to be a logical conclusion to the one who is doing the charging, but does not necessarily follow, either logically or otherwise. However, an honest person should appreciate another pointing out what appears to be a logical consequence of believing a certain doctrine.

Let us illustrate the importance of that point by looking at 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, ” Now I make known unto you, brethren, the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, wherein also ye stand,  by which also ye are saved, if ye hold fast the word which I preached unto you, except ye believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;  and that he was buried; and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures.” There are those who may wonder how some in the Corinthian church could be members of the church and not believe in the resurrection of Christ, since the resurrection of Christ is the very cornerstone of the gospel.

Note carefully: Paul had preached to them the resurrection of Christ. They had received it, and acted upon it, and had been saved by the grace of God when they obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine delivered unto them (Rom.6:17-18). From what we find in the text, it is not proper to accuse them of not believing in the resurrection of Christ. Of course it is possible that a person could at one time believe in the resurrection and then lose his faith through the acceptance of some philosophical position, but that is not necessarily the case here. The fact that he says in verse 12, ” Now if Christ is preached that he hath been raised from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?” suggests two things: 1. It is certain that they had heard and believed that Christ had been raised. 2. Some among them were teaching that the idea of a general resurrection was not true. Whether those “among them” were simply false teachers who had crept in among them and did not have faith in Christ, these verses do not tell.

However, Paul’s argument seems to indicate that it is possible for a person to doubt that there would be a general resurrection, but who did not see that the logical consequence of denying the possibility of a resurrection would be to deny that Christ had been raised.

T. Pierce Brown

1068 Mitchell Ave.

Cookeville, TN. 38501

e-mail: tpiercebrown@multipro.com

Phone: (615) 528-3600

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