Amidst Recent Claims of Misreading the Bible . . .

Scot McKnight would enjoy my day today. Wind and weather in the Windy City. Here in flyover country it will be unseasonably warm with light winds. All that to say, Scot might be tempted to a round of golf were he here. And, I’d pay.

We are on our way to a round this morning. As it turns out, my quarterly round of golf. Or so it seemsIf if you cannot get out and enjoy the weather, click over and read Scot’s recent book recommendation. The timing is interesting given the varied reactions to Rachel Held Evans recent book.

If you have not read Scot’s book, The Blue Parakeet, this might be a good time to pick it up.

About the Author
Husband to Patty. Daddy to Kimberly and Tommie. Grandpa Doc to Cohen, Max, Fox, and Marlee. Pastor to Snow Hill Baptist Church. Graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reading. Photography. Golf. Colorado. Jeeping. Friend. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and should not be construed as representing the corporate views of the church I pastor.

1 comment on “Amidst Recent Claims of Misreading the Bible . . .

  1. Alan Cross says:

    Good post. This is how we learned Systematic Theology at Golden Gate under Dr. Nelson. No theology develops in a vacuum. We are more historically and culturally conditioned than we know.

    But, I wonder if Evans is not suffering from the same thing in her promotion of feminist-oriented theology. Is there a place for identity-theologies from groups that have been marginalized? I am not talking about reading Scripture from certain perspectives not your own. That is needed and we need to listen to voices from around the world. I have told her this, but I really appreciate Emily Hunter McGowin’s perspective. She challenges me deeply and though I don’t always agree with all of her conclusions, I do always want to listen. Evans seems to be using a faulty hermeneutic to deconstruct the things about Western Christianity that she finds unpalatable according to what might very well be just another cultural interpretation.

    My point is that I see no merit in trading the Western Imperialist bias/error for a Feminist bias/error or a Liberation Theology bias/error or a Postmodern bias/error, etc, etc.

    So, how do we listen well to other voices, engage in dialogue with those we might disagree with, be humble in our learning from one another, submit to one another, and still come to an understanding that is not solely culturally conditioned by one view or another? Is an understanding of Truth possible, or are we all so rooted in personal and cultural bias that all we can hope for is a conversation where we don’t kill each other and can continue to be charitable? I think there is a way to do this and I think that it centers on the person and work of Jesus and a full exploration of HIs life where we let Him speak over us instead of us trying to cram Him into our small boxes.

    For example, I taught on the Syrophonecian woman last Wednesday night. That story aggressively challenges our deeply held perspective on gender roles if we let it. Through her bold faith where she asked for the crumbs from the table that the dogs get to eat, she moved Jesus’ ministry away from the Jews to the Gentiles before He iniated it. This is really shocking. He told her that it wasn’t time yet for His work to go beyond the Jews. She said that even the dogs get the crumbs and her need was now, not later. She is the first person to insert herself into one of Jesus’ parables and answer from within it and spoke to Jesus with dignity and faith, recognizing who he was. Keller, a complimentarian speaks of this in King’s Cross. This is really shocking and the implications are huge. The first person to really get the gospel and hear Jesus’ words for what he is saying is a Syrophonecian woman. We see this over and over. The Woman at the Well. The women at the tomb who had the courage to go to attend to Jesus’ body instead of hiding out in a locked room in fear. God is trying to tell us something here that conservative, Evangelical gender roles do not address. But, I don’t know that Evans addresses it either by sitting at the entrance to her town with a sign that says her husband is awesome. Her approach seems to mock rather than engage the person of Jesus seriously and what He was actually turning upside down.

    I have the same problem with Rob Bell on the issue of Hell. I get that he is addressing some real problems in our understanding, but the way he does it is a mess and he ultimately redefines Jesus away from how Jesus defines both Himself and Hell as a place of suffering and separation from God. While there might be real problems in some of our understanding, a culturally conditioned approach does not adequately address them.

    These are just some thoughts I am having on these things. Just like I think that you can vote for Romney (if you are so inclined) without being a racist, I also think that you can disagreee with Evans and Bell without being a chauvinist or Fundamentalist. It seems like we are setting up false categories and I wonder if we are not just engaging in postmodern power plays, but from the opposite angle?

    I am just running this stuff by you because I value your opinion and always appreciate your insight.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.