Here is some solid biblical teaching on a topic that continues to divide evangelicalism, mostly because of ignorance, patriarchy and ‘holy’ misogyny.
I have just finished reading Rob Bell’s latest book, titled What Is the Bible?: How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything. I really loved it and I think every evangelical should read it. The book does not say anything new, nor does the author claim to do so. It merely presents at a popular level what theologians and Bible scholars have said about it in the last hundred years.
You may ask, what is then so important about it? Here is my answer.Read More »
I continue to believe that the doctrine of Scripture and hermeneutics are the batttle grounds for the future of the soul of evangelicalism (if that battle is not already lost for good; which I am still not sure). It seems Benjamin Corey agrees.
Ma intreb cu obstinatie citi dintre evanghelicii din Romania sunt, de fapt, promotorii, pe fata sau in secret, ai ‘pedagogiei negre’ de care vorbeste aici Dan Alexe. Desigur, zice-se, cu argumente ‘din Scripturi’, caci atunci cind cineva nu are scrupule morale, saau este ignorant cu sistema si intentie, Sctiptura poate fi utilizata penttru a ‘justifica’ orice ineptie.
Biblical messages often proceed from historical incidents, but the actual message does not depend upon communicating those events with perfect factual accuracy. Any good writer knows that! Spiritual writers are not primarily journalists. Hebrew rabbis and scholars sometimes used an approach called midrash in which they reflected on a story to communicate all of its underlying message. Scripture can be understood on at least four levels: literal meaning, deep meaning, comparative meaning, and hidden meaning. Midrash allowed and encouraged each listener to grow with a text and not to settle for mere literalism, which of itself bears very little spiritual fruit. Some Christians do the same today with mature, reflective reading of Scripture (lectio divina), but Jesus and ancient Jewish teachers were much more honest and up front about this.
Whatever is received is received according to the manner of the receiver. This was drilled into me during my seminary education. People at different levels of development will interpret the same text (or homily) in different ways. There is no one right way to interpret sacred texts. Such a singular approach was a defensive posture that emerged more strongly after the fights of the Reformation and the attacks of the Enlightenment. How you see is what you see; the who that you bring to your reading of the Scriptures matters. Is it a defensive who? An offensive who? A power-hungry who? A righteous who? Surely, this is why we need to pray before reading a sacred text!Read More »
[The Errors of Inerrancy: A ten-part series on why Biblical Inerrancy censors the Scriptures and divides Evangelicals.] 6. Inerrancy obscures Jesus with the Bible John Calvin said that the Bible is similar to eyeglasses that allow us to see Jesus. If the Bible may be compared to eyeglasses, then Biblical Inerrancy may be compared to smudges and scratches on these eyeglasses, or eyeglasses with bad prescriptions. In other words, Inerrancy does not allow us to see Jesus better, instead it cripples our vision of Jesus, and prevents us from seeing Jesus rightly. These metaphorical scratches and smudges on our eyeglasses (to follow Calvin’s analogy) cause us to obsess over the imperfections in our eyeglasses and distract us from seeing Jesus through them. Therefore, the sixth Error of Inerrancy is that Biblical Inerrancy obscures Jesus with the Bible. Precisely how does Biblical Inerrancy obscure Jesus with the Bible? T.F. Torrance provides an excellent answer to “Protestant fundamentalism” in his book, Space, Time and Resurrection that answers this question. I’ve summarized and adapted T.F. Torrance’s answer in the following four points: #1. Biblical Inerrancy does not make a proper distinction between the Bible and Jesus. #2. Inerrancy denies that the Bible is a witness to the life of Jesus. #3. Inerrancy instead asserts that the Bible contains […]
The Errors of Inerrancy: #5 Inerrancy reduced the Biblical Authors into Ventriloquist Dummies
In this fourth installment in the Errors of Inerrancy, the dangers of denying the Bible contains scientific errors has been explained. The example of the Phoenix as an emblem of our resurrection, demonstrates how we may rightly interpret the Bible in the way it was intended to be interpreted. And, the threefold error of denying the Bible contains scientific errors demonstrates that it is impossible to understand the Bible when its true context is rejected a priori by our modern biases. This error is multiplied when scientific errors in the Bible are used to censor and correct modern science.
In this post, I will explore how the Bible may have a capacity for error that even extends to its theological and religious claims, and why it is an Error of Inerrancy to deny that the Bible has a capacity for error, and to explain how this Error of Biblical Inerrancy censors the Bible.
The hypothetical and so-called Inerrant Original Autographs are an unprovable tautology of Biblical Inerrancy, that do not inform of the historical nature of first sources of the Bible, but rather inform us what is the absolute minimum requirements that these first sources of the Bible must have been in order to affirm Biblical Inerrancy. So Inerrant Original Autographs are a result of Biblical Inerrancy, not a support for Biblical Inerrancy. And in the end, if the true sources of the Bible were absolutely dissimilar to Inerrant Biblical Autographs, then our Bibles would remain unchanged! So therefore as G.C. Berkouwer once said, the Inerrant Original Autographs are “foreign to the world of Scripture”, and may be safely disregarded in any orthodox doctrine of inspiration of the Bible.
The Errors of Inerrancy: A ten part series on why Biblical Inerrancy censors the Scriptures and divides Evangelicals
Here is some food for thought, though I doubt it may do much for those who share a different hermeneutical paradigm. Yet, even for them, it helps to understand that those who think differently are not fools, who try to detroy the word of God.
Această postare face parte din seria aventurilor lui Calimero, seminaristu’, care a ajuns seminarist luându-se după mine la școală, și de atunci mă tot sâcâie cu întrebări. Ultima, vine de la…
Eugen Matei este unul dintre putinii evanghelici romani care nu promoveaza ‘sfinta bataie’. Nici nu ar putea, caci nu marsaza la pseudo hermeneutica literalista aberanta pe care se bazeaza aceasta inradacinata traditie nesfinta.
In ce ma priveste, nu ma mira ca Piper, un neofundamentalist, dupa parerea mea, se deda (din nou) la siluirea fara scrupule a textului biblic, pentru a promova prejudecatile clasice legata de disciplinarea cu nuiaua.
An excellent text. Here is a quote:
‘Many fundamentalists seem to struggle with emotional intelligence. Which might also explain why fundamentalists also struggle with things like empathy and emotional regulation (e.g., anger).
Perhaps this–a lack of emotional intelligence–is the root problem with fundamentalism, both biblically and socially./
James Kugel, director of the Institute for the History of the Jewish Bible at Bar Ilan University, argues that the Hebrew Bible was, from the beginning, the Interpreted Bible. In the third and second centuries B.C.E. — well before the last books of the Bible were written — groups of interpreters were puzzling over the stories of Abraham and Sarah, Jacob and Esau, and other ancient figures. Their interpretations were often fanciful, and sometimes wildly inventive, but their grasp of the very idea of the Bible is still with us and continues to influence today’s readers. Series: “Burke Lectureship on Religion & Society”
John Stackhouse, from Regents College Vancouver, expresses in this article a very critical position towards evangelicals supporting a LGBT lifestyle.
I believe the battle for the soul of evangelicalism is fought on the grounds of hermeneutics. If this battle is lost, evangelicalism will be relegated to the graveyard of theological and ecclesial history.
I believe Ben Witherington III could be suitable guide in this effort.
NOTE: Biblical illiteracy is pervading in today’s churches, including in evangelical ones, that take pride in their love for the Bible. One of the signs of this is the wrong way, mostly out of context, that Bible verses are quoted by Bible-loving evangelicals. The article below gives some of the most striking examples.
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That verse you keep quoting? It may not mean what you think it means.
he other day, someone gave me a note with Nahum 1:7 printed at the top: “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.”For some reason, they neglected to include the next line, which continues the thought from verse 7: “But with an overflowing flood he will make a complete end of Nineveh.”
Okay, so maybe the fuller version doesn’t deliver quite the same Hallmark moment. And maybe that’s the problem with how many Christians use the Bible.
Christians read (and quote) Scripture in tiny, artificial fragments all the time. And by doing so, do we alter the meaning without even realizing it.
Digital Bible apps make it easier than ever to Twitterize holy writ. But we’ve been doing it for ages. Here are some of the most commonly misused Bible verses.Read More »
A mini-manual of basic hermeneutics (thanks to my friend Carson Clark for this link).
Here are the nine things:
1. Read ‘King’ When You See ‘Christ.’
2. Read ‘You’ Differently.
3. If You See a ‘Therefore,’ Find Out What It’s There For.Read More »
Mimi Haddad is the president of Christians for Biblical Equality. She holds a PhD in historical theology from the University of Durham, England and an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Palmer Theological Seminary.
In a recent text published on the CBE blog, Mimi Haddad is commenting on another post on the same blog, ‘commending John Piper’s advocacy for the education and the safe return of 276 Nigerian females’. Yet, she argues that Piper, and other so-called complementarians, like him, do not go far enough in their support of women.
Here is the beginning of her article.
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These 276 girls (not to mention the 200 million females missing globally) are never helped by religious teachings (Christian, Muslim, or any other tradition) that devalues females and excludes them from leadership roles over men, whether in the church, the home, or society—because of gender. Ideas have consequences. Though Piper endorses female education, he denies them equal authority because they are female and this places them at great risk, in any corner of the world! To be equal in education but unequal in service is a bait and switch which egalitarians reject as unbiblical.
Happy as I am that complementarians endorse female education, even so, the teachings of complementaRead More »
Perioada Pastelui este ocazia reactualizarii in memorie a textelor biblice legate de ultima parte a activitatii publice a lui Isus Cristos, dar si, adeseori, a unor exegeze superficiale si unei multimi de locuri comune, in predicile din bisericile noastre.
Apostolii Toma si Iuda sunt doua dintre ‘victimele’ de predilectie ale acestor tratari defectuase ale textelor evanghelice.
Iuda, in virtutea tradarii Mintuitorului si a sinuciderii lui ulterioare este, de departe, tinta principala a analizelor critice superficiale ale exegetilor eclesiali de ocazie, indiferent daca acestia au sau nu vreun soi de educatie teologica. Cauza principala a acestui masacru exegetic imi pare a fi neintelegerea resorturilor complicate ale ‘tradarii’ lui Iuda.Read More »
Was it, really?
Every Saturday, Scot McKnight share with us on his blog his virtual meanderings. One of the items he has shared with us in today’s Weakly Meanderings is David Atkinson’s text Why Do Christians Disagree? A very good question, indeed.
Here are, in summary, his answers:
1. Because they look to different sources of authority
2. Because they draw on different guiding metaphors for GodRead More »
This is a very important discussion in the context of the blatant biblicism that dominates evangelicalism in general, and this ecclesial tradition in Romania, in particular.
One of my Facebook contact shared this link on the internet. Here is my reaction to it.
Seriously? Is ‘dowry’ biblical?
What makes something to be ‘biblical’? its presence in the text. We can find the devil there too. If the devil ‘biblical’? We also find there the genocide at the time of Joshua. Is genocide also ‘biblical’?
Let’s be serious and not play games with these dangerous things.
If Jenny is right on something, is the fact that we should not try to impose western rules on other cultures (nor the other way around). However, we also have to be aware that no culture is 100% ‘biblical’ (in the correct sense of the word, meaning compatible with the ‘mind of God’). That is why all cultures, be them in the East or the West, have to be judged in light of God’s revelation, correctly understood – meaning, not in a literalist/biblicist manner, which could lead to heresy, and even worse, but ecclesially – both in a synchronic and a diachronic manner.
Since yesterday I have posted Carson’s text on his post-evangelical stance, I add now a continuation of that, his view of the Protestant principle of ‘Sola Scriptura’. To this view, which leaves no place for the concept of Tradition, Carson opposes the ‘Prima Scriptura’ position, a view which I also share, as it comes quite clear in the way I tend to handle Scripture on my blog.
Here is what Carson Clark says:
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The historic Reformation principle of Sola Scriptura often gets a bad wrap because people fail to distinguish it from Bible-onlyism, which is its unfortunate, dumbed down contemporary heir. The former was critically nuanced and discerning. The latter is overly simplistic and ignorant. So when I say I don’t affirm Sola Scriptura, let’s all be clear about a couple things. It’s not for a lack of respect for the Reformers nor am I castigating a strawman position. Here I’m making a concerted effort not to contribute to the entrenched, heated idiocy surrounding this issue.
Within the context of the 16th century, I understand how and why Sola Scriptura came to be. The late Medieval Roman Catholic Church was heavy-handed and hegemonic. Its abuses, corruptions, excesses, and hypocrisies were obvious. This coincided with Renaissance humanism’s call of “Ad fontes!” or “Back to the sources!” Long story short, Martin Luther and Co. were trying to pull a Marty McFly by going back to the future. I get all of that. Lord knows had I been alive at their time I almost certainly would’ve been sympathetic to the Protestant cause.Read More »
In today’s blog post Rachel compares Aristotle’s housecodes with those in the New TEstament.
The saga of household codes continues, this time with the house church on Nympha in Colosse.