“When Jesus stood at the door and knocked, He was the Covenant sheriff knocking on the Covenant door through His Covenant prophets to serve Covenant papers on the Covenant-breakers.”
A friend’s colleague recently posted a summary of wrong ways that evangelicals read the Bible, based on a chapter in Graeme Goldsworthy’s book, Gospel-Centred Hermeneutics. 
Boiled down even further, the main errors are:
- The “me-centred” approach: Context is meaningless. Texts speak directly to me.
- Literalism: Fulfilment in Jesus is ignored.
- Legalism: We rail about keeping the Sabbath but eat prawns.
- Subjectivisim: My reading of a passage is right because I felt a peace from God.
- Pluralism: The Bible has many possible interpretations.
- Pragmatism: There are more people at church, so what we are doing must be right, regardless of what the Bible says.
This is a good list, but simply dividing the Bible into pre-gospel and gospel leads to a misinterpretation of much biblical prophecy. Mr Goldsworthy’s blanket-style “everything is fulfilled in Jesus” hermeneutic means he himself ends up with a “me-centred” approach to the Bible.
“Conservative theologians have bravely held the fort like the guardians of heaven. Unfortunately, when it comes to biblical interpretation, they are boring as hell.“
Paul Washer recently tweeted: “The measure of biblical truth that we have grasped is not determined by the size of our heads, but the breadth of our hearts.”
The divide between the head and the heart is an issue of integrity, of holiness. But even within the realm of “head knowledge,” the intellectual level of Biblical interpretation, there is a sort of left brain/right brain divide. The issue here is not one of holiness. It is one of “intellectual sex.”
[This post has been refined and included in Sweet Counsel: Essays to Brighten the Eyes.]
and the Transformation of Gender Norms
In his post You Will Never Guess Who Is Really Responsible For The Softening of Males In The Church, Mark Sayers shifts the blame for the current “sea of passivity” in modern males from feminism to men like John Newton.
or Preterism is not a Dirty Word
One thing that has struck me since becoming a preterist is how much evangelicals play down the badness of the baddies in the New Testament, i.e. the unbelieving Jews and Christian Judaisers.
Evangelicals would never believe that Jesus and the apostles were mistaken in their warnings of an imminent judgment (and let’s face it, this imminence is a facet of the New Testament that is inescapable). So the only other option they see as viable is a position that defies logic: an event that was near, at the doors, yet could happen at any time over next few millennia.
After reading (“orthodox”) preterists for a few years, the failure of modern evangelicals to read the New Testament in its historical context, and to understand its constant allusions to Old Testament event structures now floors me. How is it that we so easily underestimate the importance of the destruction of Judaism in AD70? And worse than that, how is it that we fail to understand that the imminent warnings of the apostles as prophets related to that event? Here’s a perfect example that hits both these ugly birds with one stone; some pure gold from Peter Leithart this week:
“If the academies turned out faithful women armed with Picture Bibles we would be better off than we are with you lot.”
Once upon a time, not far from here, there was a graphic designer who busted a gut for five years teaching the Bible in a local high school. He was committed to building a biblical worldview through the communication of the exciting, terrifying, comforting narratives of the Old Testament as a foundation for the gospel, to a generation starving for this stuff and filling the gap with movies and novels like Harry Potter and Twilight. After all, postmoderns love narrative.
The InternetMonk, Michael Spencer, has predicted The coming evangelical collapse.
Is it a bad thing?
“The sooner God destroys the world of evangelical gnosticism, the sooner authentic Christian churches can begin to do what we are called upon to do.”
James Jordan makes some good observations about evangelicalism in Obama as Fool.
And Doug Wilson has comments here:
“There are (at least) two kinds of disasters. One is when an asteroid lands on the most beautiful albaster-gleamy city we have. This is disaster straight up. Then there is the disaster revelatory — it was a disaster all along, and now we know about it… The coming evangelical collapse will be the disaster revelatory.”
God periodically shakes the Land so that the trash falls away. We need to read our Old Testaments.
Frank Turk comments:
Stop Asking Me
I gave kudos to iMonk for getting pretty much global recognition for his “death of Evangelicalism” piece, right? So credit where credit’s due and all that.
Many of you have e-mailed me to ask, “yeah, but what do you think about the essay?” Look: I’m not going to take the bait. The truth is that Michael and I get along pretty good as long as we don’t talk about things we blog about, and I’m really intent on keeping it that way as I have no free time to speak of.
That said, here’s what Doug Wilson thinks about that essay, and I would endorse without comment Doug’s affirmations and denials.
The problem is not that there’s too much conservatism: it’s that there’s a lot of unfounded, flabby conservatism running around with plastic fishes attached to it rather than a robust, young, and dangerous conservatism riding around on the fat, noisy Harley which is the Gospel.1
Now there’s an image.
I don’t really know why someone thought it was necessary to do a poll to see just who were the most disliked groups in society, but the results are in. While serial killers and IRS agents still come in last, hot on their heels are evangelical Christians. Not Christians in general. Not Roman Catholics. Not all Christians, but evangelical Christians…
My response to iMonk’s article, Why Do They Hate Us?
Is there another choice besides Barthian gnosticism and the fundamentalists’ cultural retreat?
Van Til believed, along with Augustine, Calvin, Kuyper, and Klaas Schilder that the building of a Christian culture is a biblical imperative. Van Til castigated the Barthians for their repudia tion of a Christian culture. “For them,” he wrote, “there is no single form of social, political, economic order that is more in the spirit of the Gospel than another.” Christians today are hearing a similar refrain from within evangelical circles. If there is no specifically biblical blue print, we are left with a pluralistic blue print, no blueprint, or a postponed blue print (dispensationalism)…
Read It Takes More Than A Theory (Part 1) by Gary DeMar, here and (Part 2) here.