My compliments on stating your position clearly. Agreement with it, of
course, is another matter entirely. :-)
I started to craft a detailed reply, but find myself distracted by personal
concerns. I am scheduled for surgery early tomorrow morning. I know that
others on this list can carry on from here. Some things that deserve
1. If the Bible is not uniform in its literary genre, and it surely is not,
then why speak in terms of a "one method fits all" hermeneutical strategy?
[You know the line: "If narrative A in the OT is best understood as an
example of traditional 'storied theology,' then why not treat all narratives
in the NT in exactly the same way?"] Are we not warranted in treating each
portion of the text on its own literary and historical terms? Would it even
be responsible for us to do anything less?
2. (On Glenn's verboten topic) What does it mean to refer to the Bible as
the "word of God"? Is it not the case that Christians are often inclined to
move without sufficient reflection from thinking of the Bible as "divinely
inspired" to treating it as if it were "divinely written" (in modern Western
literary style, of course, and with complete access to the divine knowledge
base)? And is it not the case that treating the Bible as if it were
"divinely written" is likely to produce biblicism bordering on bibliolatry?
3. Why not consider the possibility that Christians could benefit from a
respectful reading of the religious texts of other faiths? Do we really
think that all other faith communities have been totally denied an authentic
experience of God's presence? Has God abandoned everyone but us Christians?
4. We have every right to compare the relative merits of various sacred
texts, and every right to choose the Bible as our own source of inspiration
and guidance, but do we have any right to presume that all other revered
texts are worthless and totally without inspiration by the Spirit of God?
And when I suggest a "respect" for other texts I am NOT at all suggesting an
uncritical acceptance of what they say. If I have called for a critical
reading (use all of your resources for sound interpretation, evaluation and
application) of the biblical text, I would expect at least that much
application of critical skills when reading other texts.
I hope to be able to get back in the conversation in about a week.
Howard Van Till
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