Re: What is Theology?

Murphy (
Tue, 29 Oct 1996 06:32:50 -0500

<allen@Merlin.InfoMagic.COM> wrote:
> On Mon, 28 Oct 1996, Murphy wrote:
> > Jan de Koning wrote:
> > >Please, let us all do our own thinking, and let us not tell each
> > >other too soon, that we all should interpret the Bible in our way.
> > I'm not completely clear about what is meant here, but if it is
> > an appeal for all Christians to interpret the Bible in their own way, I
> > strongly disagree. All Christians (professional theologians or not)
> > should interpret Scripture in continuity with the Christian tradition,
> > with what the fathers called the "rule of faith."
> I think that Jan is meaning that we should study the Bible for our selves
> under the guidance of the Holy Spirit as the Bible says to do. While it
> is good to take advantage of what has gone on before, we should do as the
> Bereans who didn't even take the Apostle Pauls word, but studied the
> scriptures for themselves. Paul commended them for doing just that. We
> should not take anyones word for it, but study for ourselves.

The Bereans didn't think of Paul as "The apostle Paul" but as a
man who'd come to town with a new message. We can't appeal to the
council of Nicea when speaking to unbelievers, but as Christians we'd
better take its decision seriously.

> The Holy Spirit caused the Bible to be written, and It is the very same
> Holy Spirit that is promised to come and teach us everything we need to
> know from the Bible. A person on a desert island with a Bible can become
> a knowledable, devout Christian with only the leading of the Holy
> Spirit. In fact something like that did happen years ago on Pitcaren.

A person can come to faith through private reading of Scripture,
but can also reach very strange notions - witness all the parousia
calculators &c. Study of Scripture should be in the larger context of
its proclamation in public worship and the church's tradition of
reflection on it.

> > But 2000 years of Christian
> > history, descisions of councils of the church, and the work of its
> > teachers must be taken seriously. The interpretation of Scripture
> > should also take place within the living Christian community. Disregard
> > for these principles is what has led to the proliferation of
> > denominations, sects, and cults.
> I'd say that part of the proliferation is infact due to those councils
> and the christian community for they have at times gone against the plain
> teaching of the Bible. Other factors are also reasons for this
> proliferation, such as lust for power, greed, selfishness, pride, guilt
> and a lot of other sins. The devil is out to tear down or fracture God's
> people to splinters.

Certainly not all gatherings of church leaders are equally
authoritative. Only 7 (and none for over 1200 years) have been
recognized as ecumenical councils by both East and West.
George Murphy