In my so-called “Rules of Affinity” I am seeking to accomplish one main task. That task is to uncover the degree of affinity between any statement of a doctrine or part doctrine, and the biblical references which are brought in to support it or defend it. All of us know that Christians with different theological outlooks claim that their views are biblical. But in reality just saying “I believe such-and-such because it’s biblical” does not mean that it actually is biblical. It may be. But, for example, if someone says, “Calvinism is biblical” and someone else says “Arminianism is biblical” it stands to reason that behind both statements is the opinion (either informed or uninformed) of the one making the claim. No one ought to assume that any statement is proven by assertion.
As I was reading my own theology and thinking through the question of why I differed from this or that theologian, I concluded, naturally enough, that the main reason for my disagreements was because I believed my position was more in line with the Bible. That didn’t mean it was, but that was why I demurred. The words “God has spoken” seem to me to be the most momentous three words in the English language. I therefore wanted to know if what I believed and taught actually closely reflected what “God has spoken,” and how compatible were my theological propositions with the texts I appealed to. I did this by assuming a suspicious attitude towards my Theology. Hence, the negative application of the method was uppermost in my mind when it was first roughly devised. The negative use also became apparent when I began asking myself why I couldn’t accept certain formulations of doctrine by some of the great men I read. Almost immediately it dawned on me that the chiefest doctrines of the Christian Faith: the doctrines all Christians would say must be believed at a minimum to be a Christian, involved very straightforward appeals to biblical passages (hence, the Positive Application of the rules).