Tuesday, August 19, 2014

God's Chosen People? (Postscript)

Different groups of Christians end up invested in different interpretive paradigms, learn to ignore certain potentially threatening leftover texts [verses which don’t neatly fit into their system], and are persuaded that the remainder of leftover texts can be explained away on an ad hoc basis when they are “rightly understood,” read in proper context, or otherwise “correctly” interpreted. . . . The adherents of all of the paradigms are persuaded that their approach to biblical interpretation produces a comprehensive and consistent reading and understanding of the entire body of scripture. (Christian Smith, “The Bible Made Impossible,” p. 45)  

Some concluding thoughts regarding our conversation of “God’s chosen people” and theological disagreements in general:  

1) Conservative, Bible-believing Christians disagree about many, many things. 

2) Such disagreements are not about believing the Bible, but interpreting it. That is, such dissentions are not about faith but hermeneutics. 

3) Conservative, Bible-believing Christians bring disparate hermeneutics—based upon presuppositions and theological pre-commitments—to the text; i.e. Christians view scripture through various lenses. 

4) Because Christians bring dissimilar understandings to scripture, simply appealing to biblical texts will not settle theological disputes. (Has anyone ever seen the “dueling verses” approach settle a matter of theological controversy?) Thus, Christians have debated biblical texts for centuries.  

5) Diversity needn’t devolve into division. May we strive to exemplify the motto: in essentials unity, in non-essentials charity, and in all things Jesus Christ.

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