Thursday, January 15, 2009

getting it mostly right 1

Tony Campolo is, in many ways, a rather frustration person. I could rather like him, and could think that in many ways he's right. On the other hand, in those ways I can't agree with him, I would think those ways are pretty important.

If I could put it a particular way, I think he's trying to hang out in the enemy's camp, hoping to make them somehow better. I don't think it's working; rather, I think they are influencing him more than he them.

Still, he's sometimes not too far out there, at least in the book "Adventures in Missing the Point", which he kind of co-wrote with McLaren. McLaren wrote a chapter on the Bible, which may well provide some material for here later. Campolo has a brief but pointed response at the end of it.

One thing the emergents and pomos try to do with downplay the idea that the Bible is a place to find answers or doctrine. Campolo makes a comment on page 83 of the book about that.

Brian is quite right when he tells us that the Bible should not be considered a mere repository of propositional truths. But certainly we must be aware of those sections of the Bible that do contain propositional truths, and of the importance of analyzing those doctrines...

I agree with him here. The attempts by emergents to overplay the story and poetry aspects, among other things, at the expense of doctrine is not wise, and is already starting to bear bad fruit. Consider the post a few weeks ago, where an emergent pretty much says that if the Bible disagrees with him than the Bible should be scrapped.

And I haven't seen anyone sum the postmodern tendency to relativize texts better than this.

They tell us to see in the text whatever meaning we want to impose on it. They tell us that no single interpretation should be considered objectively valid. The text, say these postmodernists, has a life of its own--and once it is written, the reader provides the meaning. To me, that approach to the Bible has inherent dangers.

I couldn't agree more. If that is what they are pushing for, than the postmoderns are simply leaving themselves open to another disaster, one they thought to avoid by going so extreme relativistic. If postmodern was in part a response to the Nazis and the extermination camps, as McLaren says elsewhere, than how can they hope to avoid that again if someone wants to say that their interpretations are for such things? If interpretation is something read into a text, rather than taken from it, than Pandora's Box is truly open, and all the evils are loose.

Better by far is a solid hermeneutic and interpretation, based on what the Bible is really saying, over any attempt to put our own meanings into the Bible.

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