Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Case for Biblical Studies as a Separate Disciplines

It's weird to be blogging on a Saturday night. But since my wife is out, the kids are a sleep, and I just got done watching a movie, I figured I would hop online and see what's up. I usually don't do this because I usually find things that distract me from doing more important things like sleeping. Still, here we are.

I thought Daniel Kirk had something good to say about Biblical Studies as a separate disciplines. Apparently this is being debate elsewhere on the internet (check out the links in his blog if you like). I haven't been following that conversation, but I thought what he had to say had some merit of its own so I thought I'd give it a nod. Mostly, what he said made me pause about the task of preaching as it relates to biblical hermeneutics (Interpretation). Most notably he says,

(1) Positively, it is continuing to keep the Bible as a book to God’s people located in particular times and places in front of the church. This means both: reading it as a book written for the people of God (there is a theological dimension and it calls forth certain praxis) and that it was written in the past to people in different situations.

(2) Negatively, it serves as a gadfly, showing the church where due to cultural, philosophical, and theological blinders, it has misconstrued the words in which it thinks it finds its validation.

The second point is what makes me pause. If you want to gain the upper hand over and against the congregation, it's an easy preaching move to set yourself up as the one bearing answers to a commonly misconstrued passage of Scripture. Agreed, sometimes things need to be clarified and it's the pastors role to do so. However, if this is your normal weekly move then perhaps something is wrong. Perhaps the rule-of-thumb should be to view using the word "actually" as a warn flag against such things. The pastor does not always have to insert and actually in her sermon. A good pastor and preacher can clarify a misconstrued passage of Scripture without the people even knowing what she is doing. This is a more stealth and subversive way of doing things and perhaps more substantial in the long run.

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