10 December 2007

A primer on Biblical interpretation

What does a certain verse or passage mean? Can we, in fact, know what it means? Can we know what God is telling us through His written Word? Can we know the words spoken by Christ, and how we should walk in them?

If you were to ask folks like Doug Paggitt, Rick Warren, Rob Bell, or some others, they would say something like, "Well, you know, we can't reeeealy be sure, because it's, you know, up to the person to find their own meaning," or some other such nonsense. Some people who hold that opinion simply DON'T know any better. On the other hand, there are some who DON'T WANT TO know any better.

At any rate, Tim Brown--The Reformed Gadfly--has put up a primer on how we CAN know what God is telling us through His written word, and how we can defend what we believe about the truth of Scripture. In fact, it's so easy to follow, even a caveman...nah, just kidding.

Here's a taste:
Welcome to the age of postmodern hubris where mystery is king, confusion rules and certainty is considered prideful. If you say what you think, but want to avoid being judged as "proud", you'd better couch your certainties in a myriad of disclaimers. . .or so contemporary wisdom says. And, of course, this stupidity is prevalent even in professing Christianity. And I use the word "professing" very firmly.

We live in a time where "having a conversation" is considered the height of humility. How things have changed. It wasn't maybe 20 years ago I heard a sermon by Vance Havner, (I can't remember which one) where he referred to Christian leaders having symposiums ("...and you know what a symposium is...that's where you pool your ignorance..."). He was right. And very prophetic.

Welcome to the age of the symposium. Where we get together and pool our ignorance. It's not just Rick Warren and others who set themselves up as the arbiters of spirituality based on their own human wisdom. It's everywhere and the pressure is on us to cave in. But let us stand firm.

See, everyone wants to do the "dialectic shuffle". For those of you who don't know what that is, it goes back to a man by the name of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. The basic idea is that you have a thesis, then the antithesis (a proposal and it's opposite). From there you assume that the truth is somewhere in the middle. Rick Warren is the poster boy for this type of dance which he illustrates by way of his intercult affiliations. But it's all over the place.

Listen carefully. How often have you heard something like "sure we have differences...let's get together on what we have in common". Well, sometimes that is ok. But if we agree on 95% of some issue but the other 5% is something really fundamental, like the deity of Christ, His Eternal Preexistence, or something of equal worth, then the other 95% doesn't matter.

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