About Me

Hi, I’m Matt Layton! Welcome to my blog. Feel free to poke around and read anything you like. While you are here, I encourage you to get involved in the discussions, so post a comment (or a few) and let us know your take on things. But first, let me share with you a few things that I believe will make your visit(s) more productive.

My Hermeneutic

This blog is not ultimately about me; my hope is that, whether you are a passer-by on your journey through blogland or whether you become a faithful friend, you learn more about God and His Son, Jesus Christ, than you do about me. May everything said here be done out of genuine love and a desire to glorify God.

Having said that, when I visit someone’s blog the first thing I do is check out their bio. I want to know a bit about them: what are their passions? what theological streams do they swim in? with what presuppositions and hermeneutic do they approach the Bible? These are important things for me to understand about a person so that I do not interpret them incorrectly, so I would like to explain my positions to help you be a better reader here.

1. I approach the Bible as divinely inspired and authoritative. I presume most of you will not take issue with this, but I am aware that some may. If you approach Scripture differently (i.e., unbelievers, Catholics, scientists, etc.) please understand that in any debate, the Bible will be the final arbiter of Truth. While it may be necessary and advantageous at times to make an appeal to church history/tradition, logic/reason, or experience, we must keep in mind that these things are fallible and prone at times to error if they are not kept in check with Scripture.

2. I approach the Bible as a Christian.

a. Christians are first and foremost to be followers of Christ, both in word and deed. The Bible must rule in both our minds and hearts. It it intensely practical and as such, must be applied to our lives to produce fruit. Scholarly thinking and debating are beneficial at times (and just plain fun to do), but lets not forget that if we are not living what we say, we are hypocrites.

b. We are Christians, not Jews. We live on the fulfillment side of the cross. So the New Testament is the window through which we interpret the Old Testament.  The OT is anticipation, the NT is fulfillment. The OT is types and shadows; the NT is reality. This becomes a major thing especially when we get into discussions about eschatology, kingdom, covenants, etc.

c. I affirm the ancient creeds and councils of Christianity as definitive, though not absolutely authoritative, statements about the substance of Christian doctrine and profitable to bring unity to otherwise diverging traditions (Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant).

3. I approach the Bible from a Protestant Reformed perspective. This means, in part, that I affirm the traditional Protestant Reformed doctrines of grace, sacraments (though I am still undecided about paedobaptism), ecclesiology and eschatology, as well as the Five Solas, among others. It would be wrong to say I endorse every facet of traditional Reformed theology without some modifications; indeed the Reformers themselves were divided on many issues. However, I find that the label Reformed’ best summarizes my understanding of Scripture.

4. The overarching themes of the Bible are defined in terms of covenants, not ‘dispensations’. I understand there to be an organic continuity between the testaments of Scripture.

  • Faith is the appropriate response to the promises of a covenant. It is not as though the Jews responded appropriately to the Mosaic covenant with works, whereas we respond to the New Covenant with faith. Even throughout the OT, the covenants were only received appropriately when they were received in faith.
  • The New Covenant is the fulfillment, or consummation, of the Old Testament covenants. Jesus does not cancel, or abrogate, the Abrahamic, Mosaic, or Davidic covenants; he brings them to perfect consummation in himself.
  • God has one purpose for all His people, both Jews and Gentiles; there is no separate plan for the Jews over against the purpose of the Church. The True Israel is made up of the spiritual descendants of Abraham: that is, all people, Jew or Gentile, who are the elect of God through faith in the promise.

Comment Etiquette

We are adults and my desire is that we can all interact in a mature, loving way, even if we are debating or rebuking another point of view. Below I will provide some guidelines that will be enforced in each comment thread. If you feel you are not able to post a comment in line with these guidelines, you are welcome to email me privately (see below). I reserve the right at any time to remove inappropriate comments and/or block a user from commenting, or to close or suspend a particular comment thread if things get out of hand. Please keep these things in mind:

1. Say unto others as you would have them say unto you. Keep in mind that things like tone, emotion, and inflection are more difficult to convey online than in face-to-face conversation. Before you hit the ‘Submit’ button, think about how your interlocutor (perhaps me, perhaps another commenter) may receive your words.

2. Proofread, proofread, proofread! Editing is not hard and takes only a little extra time. Read through your post before you submit it and check for misspelled words, run-on sentences, punctuation errors, tone, etc. and fix them. Copy/Paste into Microsoft Word if you need and use spell-check.

3. Assert your comment with confidence, yet humility. Confidence is honorable; arrogance is not. I do not know everything and neither do you; its okay to say “I don’t know”. Please understand that people are going to disagree with you and that is okay. But please be teachable; even if you choose to maintain your position, you can still learn to value other viewpoints without capitulating to them in a civil, humble manner.

4. Attack ideas, not character. Mud-slinging and ad hominem argumentation is not tolerated; if your comment resembles political campaign rhetoric, it will be taken down. Lively discussion and debate among various viewpoints can be a learning experience for all involved, but do not take another person’s comments so personally that you feel you must respond with an attack on his/her character. Rebut ideas with ideas only.

5. Present your ideas clearly and back them up. If you make an assertion without support from the Bible–or at the very least, from church history, reason, or common sense–your assertion is just an unfounded opinion. No one is going to take you seriously. Take some time and do your research first. It may be advantageous for you to understand the various logical fallacies so you avoid using them.

6. Use of hyperlinks and personal information.

a. Be sparing in your use of hyperlinks. Hyperlinks (links to other websites) are generally unnecessary and your comment may be flagged as spam if you include too many. Only use a hyperlink in a comment if it is absolutely pertinent to the discussion (i.e., to clarify an ambiguous topic; to link to an e-book or article; etc.). When linking, please do not simply Copy/Paste the URL; that’s unattractive. Comment boxes will interpret HTML code, so please use appropriate HTML tags to link (see here for a quick explanation how to do this).

b. Do not include personal information in your comment(s). Once you include your email or web address–or any other sensitive information–in a comment, it is there for the world to see. Please only include your name (or alias), email address, and website in the appropriate boxes of the comment form.

7. Have fun and learn some things! Get involved! Enjoy sharpening your mind, deepening your love, and honing your theology. Have a little fun–or even a beer or two–while you are here, and come back soon!

Tolle Lege!