Wednesday, January 11, 2006

How to View Scripture

As I'm writing this blog on Wednesday morning, Beverly's dad is in surgery in Tyler. The surgery is pretty invasive -- involving his spine. Mr. Jones is quite a character. He's 77, and excited because the surgery will make him 1-1/2 inches taller.

I began a new class at Amberton last night -- teaching the Gospel of John. I was talking about how Scripture can be understood by all. One of the students asked, "Then, why are there so many ideas as to what Scripture means? Why do the Jehovah's Witnesses believe this and the 7th-Day Adventists believe that?" What would you have said to answer him?

I told him that it's part of the fallenness of humanity. We humans tend to choose some particular view of theology -- and then everything we read filters through that particular view. For Luther, it was "faith only." So, he saw everything through that filter -- even to the point that if something didn't fit in his filter (the letter of James), he thought it should not be in the Canon. I do not think people, in general, view things differently because "everyone else doesn't love truth like I do."

So, being from a Church of Christ background -- what filters have we brought to Scripture? I know we have been criticized for seeing baptism in every verse. I personally don't know if that is true, but it could be because my filter is so engrained I can't see otherwise. I do think that we have wanted to defend acappella singing so much that our whole theology of the Old Testament and the silence of Scripture have been shaped by that filter.

Perhaps it's best to try to view Scripture through its major themes: Love, redemption, mercy, justice, grace, obedience, etc. What do you think?


Jeff said...

Since I have no personal preferences or filters, I can't understand what you mean. HA HA.

I think much of what we argue over is really meaningless when we fail to do what you suggest - start with love, mercy, compassion and hope. I can spend time with my brother debating a number of issues or I can spend time with a lost soul helping them to know Jesus. I wonder what Satan would rather me spend my time on?

Josh Ross said...

I agree with reading through the lenses of grace, mercy, and compassion.
Unfortunately, we often read Scripture, especially in America for the past 3 centuries, through a white, middle-class, American, male-dominate lens. Our nationalistic arrogance greatly hinders the mission of Christ. I'll stop there before I get on my soap box.

randy said...

Perhaps we need to worry less about the condition of souls that comprehend some deep theological point differently than we and more about the condition of our souls when we fail to display love, mercy, compassion and hope.