Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Roger Olson and the Necessity of the Holy Spirit

I've been considering this for some time. In my experience, I've never really considered how one can be truly objective in regards to interpreting the Bible. As much as I would love to claim pure objectivity, I know myself pretty well -- I'm human and I like things to line up with my world.

Happily, I'm proven wrong enough to completely wreck my own sense of objective superiority. Which is awesome in its own sad way

Roger Olson:
I know two kinds of Christians—those who think what the Bible “really means” is necessarily illuminated by the Holy Spirit such that ordinary, scholarly, rational exegesis alone does not yield its “true meaning” and those who think the “true meaning” of the Bible is discovered exegetically such that anything going beyond that is not its true meaning but its “significance” or application.

To the former I ask “How do you answer someone who discovers a ‘true meaning’ of the Bible that blatantly contradicts basic Christian doctrine and/or basic reason?” I point to sects and cults that claim to be Christian but teach esoteric meanings of Scripture that blatantly contradict what Christians have always believed about God, Jesus Christ, and salvation. (One such group even has its own Bible dictionary without which the Bible cannot properly be understood. The “true meanings” of many biblical passages are, according to the dictionary, esoteric, allegorical and contrary to sound doctrine.)

To the latter I ask “What is it that you think the preacher is communicating on Sunday mornings when he or she preaches from a text and God speaks through the sermon to afflict the comfortable or comfort the afflicted (or both)? Would you say the message of the sermon is not the true meaning of Scripture if it goes beyond what exegesis alone discovers?”

Let’s look into Scripture itself to see if it sheds some light on this disagreement over the “meaning” of Scripture.
For the rest, enjoy it here.

--Nick

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