Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Thoughts on biblicism

Yesterday I touched on an issue that some may be hold near and dear to their heart. I mentioned that I am neither a biblical literalist nor a fundamentalist. In present-day parlance, I am not a biblicist. I understand the biblical canon, as we now have it, to be "God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" 2 Tim. 3:16-17. What is important to note is what is not mentioned in this text. Nothing is said about being historically or scientifically accurate. Nothing can be drawn from this to indicate that any anthropological applications, i.e., relationships between women and men, etc. may be imposed on all people, at all times, and in all places. William C. Spohn wrote in, "Go and Do Likewise: Jesus and Ethics," about something analogical imagination. Rather than simply stating, "the Bible says it, that settles it," we are encouraged to look at how the text related to its world and then to apply the text to our current world situation. This takes hard work. But, it's important to remember that the biblical text was written by humans about their own human experiences. It was transmitted by humans to other humans. Most importantly, it is always interpreted and applied by humans. This is not to say that the divine is not involved. I absolutely believe that the inspiration to write the text was God's alone through the Holy Spirit. And, I believe that the Holy Spirit has superintended the text, including the inspiration of those who arranged the canon. But, by putting all of the emphasis on the divine part of the text, and making it some Barthian Word of God, we lose the humanity of the documents. The human-ness, with all of  the foibles and triumphs of humanity, are lost to some magical mystery tourbook mentality. Yes, the Bible is inspired by God. No doubt. But, we probably should leave it room to do what Paul wrote to Timothy about. Not to try and shoe-horn it into some container that was not meant to contain it.

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