Christians Hoodwinked by Modernism

n-t-wrightI’m currently reading my review copy of N.T. Wright’s new book, Surprised by Scripture. In the book, he takes up exploring how the Bible can be applied to some of the most pressing contemporary issues facing us. In the coming week or so, I’ll post up a fuller book review. However, I wanted to briefly look at an issue brought up in his chapter How the Bible Reads the Modern World.

In this specific chapter, Wright sheds light on how a modernist, Enlightenment paradigm has directed the way the Bible is read in much of the western world today. But, surprisingly, what many might not know is that the modernist template was actually adopted by most Christians in the western hemisphere as well.

How so?

Let me first start by quoting some of Wright’s thoughts: Continue reading

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Fear-Driven Biblical Interpretation

jonah

Evangelicals are passionate about Scripture. It’s foundational to who we are. Well, first and foremost, evangelicals are called to be passionate about the evangel (or gospel) of Christ and his kingdom. But Scripture is still of utmost importance, a strong bedrock in our theological and life formation.

So, it would follow that how we interpret Scripture must become crucial as well. However, biblical interpretation is no easy task…AT ALL. And to champion the perspicuity, or clarity, of Scripture, as most evangelicals do, could cause a bit of confusion if you simply read Scripture itself, as well as the multiplicity of interpretive approaches across the broad scope of 2000 years of Christian church history (I, of course, am referring to the non-heretical interpretations).

I’m currently thinking about this topic (well, I think about it often, though I’m considering it a bit more today) because of some interaction I came across from an acquaintance and his study of the book of Jonah – here’s a Facebook conversation and here’s his blog article. Continue reading

Science and the Bible

originstoday_fullScience and the Bible. What a loaded topic, right?! For some, it’s an issue of territory-defining significance: what you believe could determine if you are viewed as fundamentalist or liberal, in or out, true follower or not.

It really can become that serious. Quite disheartening, I might add.

I’ll admit I’ve gone through some stages of change over the past few years in regards to this subject. I’ve become quite open to what might be normally termed as theistic evolution, or also identified as creationary evolution. The approach is still grounded in the belief that God is the one true Creator. Yet, he chose to use what we scientifically identify as evolution to bring about his good creation.

I don’t know all the in’s and out’s, and I never will. But I am at least quite open to the idea. However, I approach things first and foremost as a theologian, not as a scientist. Some are scientists (Denis Lamoureux, Darrel Falk) and some are theologians (John Walton, Bruce Waltke). Still, both groups dip in and out of the other in various ways. And they all invest their time a little differently as they look to faithfully come to grips with a robust Christian faith and a willingness to listen to the scientific evidence of today.

And so, for me, noting some of the points on the table from the various sciences, I try and grasp and assess things theologically, considering some of the points while working through the Scripture text.

Now let me say upfront that this does not mean I (or any other) am putting science above Scripture. What it means is that we recognise there are many good and wholesome tools that God has given us to help us understand his ways and the world he has created. I believe in the importance of setting Scripture as primary. But we have many other assets such as history, tradition, reason, experience, life, creation, science, etc.

I am quite convinced that God designed it that way. Continue reading

The Word Became Flesh

scripture-and-the-authority-of-godJust a couple of years back, the well-known N.T. Wright reworked a book of his that looked at the nature of Scripture. This republished effort is entitled Scripture and the Authority of God: How to Read the Bible Today. Really, the purpose is to bring some fresh thoughts into the mix regarding the authority of Scripture, bringing us past all of the debate between conservatives and liberals.

I particularly wanted to post two striking quotes, which are found early on in the book in the first chapter. I believe these two quotes are central to our understanding not just a theology of Scripture, but also the nature of God himself.

The first comes to us in these words: Continue reading

God Speaking Through Language

eat-this-bookI’ve probably mentioned a few times that I have a deep appreciation for the writings of Eugene Peterson. Here is a true shepherd-theologian, caring for the flock and carefully communicating the truth in Scripture.

Actually if you ever want to see Peterson’s passion and gifting in action, check out how The Message paraphrase came about. And you can do so by reading his work, Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading. It’s a beautiful work on the importance of Scripture in the life of God’s people, but from a very pastoral perspective. I mean it’s not so heady, but very practical.

Speaking of Eat This Book, here is a quote to chew on (keeping the eating metaphor going). Continue reading