Thursday, April 4, 2013

Clarity, Spirals and Hermeneutics

The debates within evangelicalism are now beginning to boil to this stock-broth reduction:
Scripture is clear. . .
I was listening to a podcast segment on Unbelievable? where the topic centered around the 'Religious Right' and whether or not it was 'wrong.' I appreciated the program, not because I necessarily agreed with the ideas expressed but because it shone a bright light on two important factors.

Those two factors were brought out vividly by a right-wing Christian who proof texted Scripture like a bat out of Tartarus to prove capitalism, and by Brian McLaren. The right-winger would espouse the clarity of Scripture to prove his point, and Brian would undermine the right-wingers clarity of Scripture by allowing the man his opinion but saying people disagree.

Those two things:

One would assert over and over that his view was "biblical" and "clear" as a means of ending the discussion before it had a chance to really begin. I will grant that some topics in Scripture are clear, but many of them aren't. Thus the spiral and lack of clarity.

The other factor was the only response Brian McLaren could make was to simply disagree. Which was fine and Brian was a gentleman about it, but nevertheless I wish that things weren't just boiled down to simply a disagreement in abstract silence. The spiral of hermeneutics is washed down to simply a disagreement and that is that.

Now I grant that disagreements aren't necessarily a bad thing. As someone who does, however, tend towards theological realism, I find that most disagreements are centered around flattening interpretations to accommodate some views and exclude others. In short, while I don't think Scripture at all teaches Capitalism, I really wish more progressive Christians would simply stand up, say that the argument is bad and give really good reasons why it isn't.

I should offer a concluding remark and clarification; I didn't distinguish between salvific and non-salvific issues. What one thinks about the age of the earth has no bearing on one's salvation. But one can be dead wrong.

So, let's make a point to make better arguments (conservatives) and actually give better biblical arguments (progressives). Let's avoid black and white thinking where color is needed, and let's avoid pat answers. The truth usually sucks and I hate believing in it, but the universe is what it is regardless whether or not I want it to stop spinning.

There. I picked on both enough to know that I'm right and that is the clear sober truth.

Psych. :)

--Nick

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