Posts Tagged ‘Hermeneutics

16
Jan
13

chalke turns the grace of God into licence

Steve Chalke recently, ‘conducted a dedication and blessing service following the Civil Partnership of two wonderful gay Christians.’  Why?  He wanted,

‘to extend to these people what I would do to others: the love and support of our local church. Too often, those who seek to enter an exclusive, same-sex relationship have found themselves stigmatised and excluded by the Church. I have come to believe this is an injustice and out of step with God’s character as seen through Christ.’  

That a Civil Partnership is not a marriage does not appear to concern him, to say nothing of the plain condemnation of homosexual practice in Scripture.  The overriding concern for him is simply: ‘the Church has a God-given responsibility to include those who have for so long found themselves excluded.

Inclusion is all, repentance and conversion (changes of belief and behaviour) and the plain commands of Scripture don’t seem to matter.   Chalke has decided homosexual relationships within a Civil Partnership are acceptable to God and should be celebrated –  everything must bow to this absolute.   Further, he wants to convince us this is so.  How does he go about it?  Read his article for yourself.  It will help you to see first-hand the manipulative sleight-of-hand to which people like Chalke resort.

He attempts to undermine our confidence in two thousand years of uniform interpretation (as, of course, he must).

‘Traditionally, it is argued that the injunctions of both the Old and New Testaments against homosexual activity are irrefutable, and therefore any attempt to interpret them in new ways betrays the Bible. Things, however, may not be as we thought.’ 

Genesis does not after all, it appears, provide a universal creational model, homosexuals for one are excluded. We have misinterpreted some passages that appear to condemn homosexuality and others are the subject of scholarly debate and so we cannot be certain (is any text that says something unwelcome free of scholarly debate).  Readings which understand texts to condemn homosexuality are minority views (though they are not so historically, nor among most Conservative Evangelicals, Orthodox, and Roman Catholics are they so presently).  The church has got it badly wrong in the past (solar system and slavery trotted out as usual examples) and minority views triumphed (his previous argument suggested accepting homosexuality was not a minority view while this one assumes it is). And his trump card, the Bible plainly and uncompromisingly forbids women teaching and in leadership yet we ignore what it says so why do we insist on obeying its commands on homosexuality?

This last argument seems to me to be particularly disingenuous.  I wonder if Chalke has always argued the texts teaching patriarchy are so uncompromisingly plain? Somehow, I doubt it.  However, it suits him now to concede the patency and cogency of these texts for he can charge with inconsistency those who ‘reinterpret’ these yet don’t treat the homosexuality texts with the same favour.  Better, he can insist that the hermeneutic (a ‘wider hermeneutic’ and presumably more sophisticated one than ‘simple exegesis’) that guided the acceptance of women in leadership despite prima facie evidence to the contrary ought to be employed in the texts that forbid homosexuality.  As he says, Here is my question: shouldn’t we take the same principle that we readily apply to the role of women, slavery, and numerous other issues, and apply it to our understanding of permanent, faithful, homosexual relationships? Wouldn’t it be inconsistent not to?

For Chalke, this ‘principle’ or ‘wider hermeneutic’ is a ‘trajectory hermeneutic’.  The Bible, it appears does not speak with ‘one voice’.  Although God’s self-revelation is fully revealed in Jesus, apparently what is revealed is not necessarily complete or accurate for a ‘trajectory’ hermeneutic will help us to arrive at the truth that is appropriate to this point in history.   Paul, a Christ-appointed messenger, was clearly mistaken to see homosexual behaviour as ‘against nature’ and place those who lived an unrepentant homosexual lifestyle outside of the kingdom.  He was clearly not inclusive enough.  Presumably, the problem was that his heart was not as compassionate as that of Chalke.  Though, perhaps he can be excused for his misguided and cruel exclusions since he did not have Chalke’s light; he did not live as far along the trajectory of evolving truth.   Jude was clearly mistaken when he spoke of ‘the faith once and for all delivered to the saints’.

The hubris is breathtaking.  The evil is palpable; it is insinuating, coiling, and serpentine.

Let me be clear.  Chalke, in avowing this (considered) libertine position, is not a brother in Christ who is simply a little misguided who should be welcomed and not judged.  He should be judged.  He is fully aware what he promotes and its implications.  He is wolverine, a false teacher, a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ twisting the Scripture to his own destruction.  He ‘turns the grace of God into sexual licence and so deny’s our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ’ (Jude 4).   Chalke’s actions towards homosexual people are not loving and gracious they are anything but so. It is not loving to declare pure what God finds abominable and to bless what God curses. To say ‘peace’ when there is ‘no peace’ is the most cruel of all lies and the hallmark of a false prophet.  Such false prophets have rejected the word of the Lord and there is no wisdom in them (Jer 8:8,9).  From such we must ‘turn away’ (2 Tim 3:5).  

These are strong words, I know.  Some will find them hard to stomach.  I do not ask you to judge whether they are politically correct but whether they faithfully echo the voice of the Lord as found in Scripture.

13
Dec
11

studying hermeneutics?

If you are studying principles of biblical interpretation (hermeneutics) you will find a wealth of material here and here.

30
Nov
11

the story’s end is vital to rightly read the story

Douglas Green, in discussing Psalm 8 (here) makes this important and wise observation:

‘biblical texts should be read (by and large) in the context of the unfolding story of redemption. The meaning of a text varies depending on the way it is related to the larger story in which it is embedded. Each part of the unfolding story (including individual psalms) “make sense” on their own as the story unfolds; they have provisional meanings, which are discerned through grammatical-historical exegesis. But these earlier parts of the story will “make sense” in a different way once the climax of the story is known. The meaning of the parts is shaped by the whole, which, in an unfolding story, means that the parts only “make ultimate sense” in the light of the climax of the story. Now I admit that the Bible is not quite an unfolding story, but it is a book that takes its general shape from the history to which it bears witness. This connection to the metanarrative of redemption means there are (at least) two ways of reading Old Testament texts. The “first reading” can be variously named: reading towards an unknown conclusion, reading without the benefit of the conclusion, reading a text in the context of the story as far as it has unfolded. It is like the way we read a novel or watch a movie for the first time: we make sense of the individual parts in the context of what we have read or seen so far. But there is also is a second way of reading Old Testament texts, one that is distinctly Christian. It is fundamentally an act of rereading, or reinterpretation of earlier provisional meanings, in the light of the (sometimes surprising) Christ-ending to the story of redemption. Just as scenes from a movie watched or book read a second time can have quite different meanings once the ending is known, the same is true for Old Testament passages re-read in terms of the whole canonical story of redemption.’

 

Amen.

12
Sep
11

a real adam and eve

Evangelicals are now being pressed by other evangelicals not only to jettison the literal historicity of the creation narrative but also the historicity of Adam and Eve.  The first is just conceivable but the second seriously strains any integrity in biblical interpretation and seriously compromises the biblical salvation narrative.  A few blogs consider some of these issues (here, here, here , here, here, here, here, and here) both biblically and scientifically and are well worth a read.

11
Jul
11

do nt writers misuse ot texts?

D A Carson has an excellent post on the NT use of OT texts that can be found here.  Well worth reading.

07
Jun
11

hermeneutics in a galaxy not far from here

Justin Taylor has a good post on ‘over-interpreting’ the Bible.  It is spot on.  Another ‘spot on’ post is Tim Keller’s on the historicity of Adam and Eve.  Read them both; the second combats issues which well illustrate the concerns of the first.

09
May
11

questions we must shelve

It has become quite trendy to assume asking questions in the Christian faith is a good thing. And of course by and large it is.  However, not all questions are good.  We saw in the last post that questions ostensibly asked to inquire can really be intended to subvert.  Satan is a master at this type of question.  His, ‘Has God said’, in the garden has been asked a million times since.  The motivation behind a question must be discerned.

Some questions are asked merely to trip up.  Jesus was asked questions he refused to answer because he recognized the motivation was insincere and ulterior.

Luke 20:1-8 (ESV)
One day, as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders came up and said to him, “Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority.” He answered them, “I also will ask you a question. Now tell me, was the baptism of John from heaven or from man?” And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From man,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” So they answered that they did not know where it came from. And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” 

Some questions are simply not ours as creatures to ask.  The big question we hear people ask is, ‘How can a God of love send billions of people to endless punishment in hell’.  It is essentially the question Jesus was asked by someone as he travelled through Judea and he refused to answer it.

Luke 13:22-24 (ESV)
He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.

Jesus didn’t answer it because the question was merely philosophical and not related to the inquirers own eternal well-being.  What real business was it of his whether few or many were saved?  What good would it do him to know the answer?  There are issues that belong to the Creator that not ours as creatures to judge or know.  Jesus tells the inquirer the real matter that should concern him is ensuring he is one of the number who are saved – be they many or few.

There is an arrogance and impropriety about the question that asks ‘Can we really believe in a God who consigns billions to hell’.  It is hardly surprising that an improper question pursued leads to conclusions that are as inappropriate and as audacious as the question; irreverent questions lead to irreverent conclusions.  We are told that since many are not converted in this life in the life to come (in hell) they must have further opportunity to repent and believe.  This assumption flies in the face of what Jesus goes on to say.  Having said, ‘Strive to enter through the narrow door.’ he proceeds to say, ‘For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.’

But that is another issue for the next post.




the cavekeeper

The Cave promotes the Christian Gospel by interacting with Christian faith and practice from a conservative evangelical perspective.

Archives

Site Posts

September 2014
M T W T F S S
« Jun    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930  

Recent Comments

Susanne Schuberth (G… on an apology…
Don J Chiechi on an apology…
Susanne Schuberth (G… on an apology…
Susanne Schuberth (G… on an apology…
Don J Chiechi on an apology…
Follow Cave Adullam on WordPress.com

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 32 other followers