[Papercut Press] 2001-03-12 - Syllogisms

1 John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world, and this is the victory that has overcome the world -- our faith.

The use of syllogisms is rare these days but they are helpful ways to draw practical conclusions regarding our faith and relationship with the Lord. A syllogism is a form of reasoning based on a major and minor premise and ending with a conclusion drawn from those premises. They usually concern either our duty (what we should do or not do) or our relationship with the Lord. As an example, lets look at a fairly simple one:

God forbids me to steal (major premise)
To take money that is not mine would be stealing (minor premise)
Therefore, I must not take money that is not mine (conclusion)

That is a syllogism. And they can be very helpful ways to reason and understand our faith. Take these two syllogisms for an example.

Whoever lives in sin, will die.
I live in sin.
I will die.

Whoever believes in Christ will not die but live.
I believe in Christ.
I shall not die, but live.

In the above syllogism there is seen a great aid to someone who struggles with the issue of assurance of faith. If the major and minor premises are both true then the conclusion is unavoidable. When these truths are put simple and plainly they are often easier to understand. This is why they were, for many years, in use in the church. I will give one more example.

What God has appointed to be the only rule of faith and manners, I must take heed to follow.

But, the Bible is what God has appointed to be the only rule of faith and manners.

Therefore, I must take heed to follow the Bible as the only rule.

It may be that you can think of some practical syllogisms that will aid in your walk with the Lord. Sometimes it is hard to draw conclusions without them. But when we follow a process of reasoning that leads to a necessary conclusion, we can often reach proper conclusions. It is unfortunate that this type of thinking is so rare these days because these syllogisms can often boil down difficult doctrines to something that is understandable.

Soli Deo Gloria,

[email tim] godrulestb@aol.com