16 March 2011

Debunking "Relevance"

Tertullian, an ancient Church Father had some good thoughts on being in the world and not of the world.


Difference is good. Light shines in darkness because it is not the darkness which surrounds it.

08 March 2011

Great Quote

In case you travel in different circles that I do on Facebook, it may have escaped your notice that Rob Bell is coming out with a new book and he did a little promo video for it that has thrown matches and gasoline on the Christian blog world. (Serioulsy, I've heard a whole lot more on this than on Charlie Sheen's current fiasco.)

But, I am not posting to comment on Bell's book, theology, or marketing. No reason to kick the dead horse.

What I want to highlight is a fantastic quote by Matt Kennedy over at http://www.standfirminfaith.com/
The quote comes from a piece he wrote addressing the "Bell Controversy."

The duty of the pastor is not to invite his congregation (and certainly not the general public) to join him as he meanders through his own personal journey of self discovery. His duty is to lead people to Jesus Christ.

I wrote it down. I am trying to figure out the best way to hang it near my desk where my sermon preparation happens. It is true and it needs to be said in this day and age.

This is not to say that ministers have to have all the answers (we don't). BUT, when we stand up to declare the word of the Lord, we need to speak with authority, conviction, and certainty. This isn't to say that we can't use a Socratic style in delivering a message. I am prone to that. But to wander down a path with our hearers that leads nowhere is nothing short of dereliction of duty.

We've all heard those sermons. Most of us have preached a few (forgive me, Lord). But our duty is to speak the word of life to the people of God. Nothing less.

(Here's the link to the article I took the quote from, if you're interested.)

04 March 2011

That didn't take long...

This editorial from World Magazine fits in with my most recent posts rather well.

Proof Texting.

Path of Least Resistance

Hermeneutic: n. 1. The study of the methodological principles of interpretation (as of the Bible) 2. A method or principle of interpretation.

Today there are more various hermeneutical methods floating about than one can count. A great many of them come from taking an outside theory, philosophy or method and applying it to biblical interpretation and "seeing what happens."

I have settled into my own method, over the years, and I have not found it "out there" put forth as a method, so, I thought I'd share it.

The Hermeneutic of Least Resistance

What I mean is this, I try to find the interpretation of any particular passage that meets the following criteria:

1. The most literal, face-value reading of the text possible, acknowledging that the scripture does employ various styles within.

2. The interpretation that is most consistent with other teaching in the scriptures on whatever the topic is.

3. The interpretation that requires the least amount of explanation, disclaimer and linguistic and theological gymnastics.

That's it. You could sum it up as the "no buts" hermeneutic I suppose. That's my goal, not reading a passage and saying, "I know it seems to say such and so, but...."

I think it puts the authority in the right place, it allows the scripture to interpret my philosophy and world view, rather than the other way around, as much as possible.