Tuesday, February 21, 2017

SUBJECTIVIZING THE BIBLE: PROGRESSIVES WANT BIBLICAL UNCERTAINTY





One progressive Facebooker posted this assertion:

·       "Nobody believes the Bible. Not you. Not me. What you believe is your interpretation of the Bible.  While you may insist the Bible is inspired, Your interpretation is not. A befitting Christian disposition about this is to handle your interpretation humbly  --  and to allow space for the interpretation of others.” (Keith Killough)

What does it mean “to handle your interpretation humbly?” Since it is not the Bible we are embracing, but just our personal interpretation, we can’t be too confident or assertive about it. Instead, we have to give equal “space for the interpretation of others.” And since it’s all just a matter of interpretation, we can’t claim that our interpretation is any better than the next guy’s.

Why is it just interpretation and not a matter of the teachings of Scripture? Because, according to the progressives, there exists an impassable chasm between the Bible and our interpretations. The two are so entirely separated that a bridge cannot connect the two. This leaves us in a state of uncertainty and an unbiblical “humility.”

While humility is a great virtue, the progressive “humility” condemns us to not knowing. This uncertainly demeans the Scriptures and everything that it teaches. It makes teachers, sermons, commentaries, accountability, and any kind of learning irrelevant. Why? Because of the impassable chasm between the text and our futile attempts to grasp it!

Let me try to contrast this extreme position with true wisdom and understanding (about anything). Wisdom recognizes that understanding comes slowly and that we can learn from teachers and studies. We can avail ourselves to the evidences, pro and con. Wisdom doesn’t damn learning, but points to the fact that it can be difficult, but also, that it is possible for the inquiring mind to more closely approximate the object of study.

Yes, it can be argued that everything is a matter of interpretation, a very complicated involvement of neurons, gray matter, and electrochemical reactions. However, we must not equate interpretation with uncertainty.

While some subjects and questions lie in the netherworld of uncertainty, others do not. Although, I have to interpret the hands of the clock, there is no uncertainty in my mind that it is now 8:00 AM. Also, there is no uncertainty that a 50 MPH speed limit sign means just that. It is not a suggestion or an artistic expression but a statement of a legal requirement.

The Bible agrees in a thousand different ways that interpretation can accurately embrace its truths. It claims, by virtue of the evidence (Romans 1:18-20), that we are “without excuse” when we reject God. It asserts that we can have confidence and assurance about the teachings of the Bible (Colossians 2:1-4; Hebrews 10:19-23). We can have such a high degree of confidence in its teachings that we can hold others to account both legally (Romans 13:1-5) and ecclesiastically (Matthew 18:15-20). The Bible insists that we can bridge the chasm between the real world (including the Bible) and our subjective interpretations:

·       And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. (2 Peter 1:19-20)

However, our progressive culture feels more comfortable in a world of Biblical uncertainly. Uncertainty silences the Biblical voice and any judgment it might proclaim upon them.

2 comments:

  1. I believe the work of the Holy Spirit causes persons to be convicted of the truths presented in the Bible. And that results from God's sovereignty. The responsibility of the Christian is to express the truths as he or she is inspired in whatever situation God has ordained for them. I can remember adamantly challenging (ignorantly) what faithful Christians said to me, but the encounter stayed in my memory and eventually I had to confess to The Lord that they were right. That can be very humbling, but also inspiring me to say the truth to other persons regardless of their attitude towards my words to them (sometimes gently sometimes boldly). I often pray to have wisdom about such encounters.

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    Replies
    1. I try to pray before each encounter also.

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