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bible

Simple appeals to ‘what the Bible says’ are always the sign of (no doubt unconscious) subservience to an interpretive tradition, not liberation from it. That which we mistakenly think we have escaped from is in reality free to exercise all the more influence over us, and is therefore all the more potentially dangerous. Trevor Hart

Americanism has a way of reading the Bible (with America sometimes playing a prominent role in the biblical story as the “new Israel”), an eschatology (America is the “new order of the ages” and the “last best hope of mankind”), a doctrine of political salvation (everyone becomes like us, and all will be well), and, since the civil war, a view of sacrifice (American soldiers give their lives, and take the lives of enemies, to make the world peaceful and free). Peter Leithart

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The allegedly “liberal” or “progressive” interpretation of the Bible advocated by gay-affirming Christians is nothing more than asking our fellow Christians to interpret a few passages about sexuality in the same way they are already interpreting more than a thousand passages about money. In the world that’s ours for naming

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That’s right: charging interest on a loan is “detestable”, otherwise translated as an “abomination”. The penalty? Death. This abomination is exactly how bankers make a living, and it’s sick. So no– don’t try to give me your liberal nonsense that it’s possible to be a banker and a Christian at the same time. It’s not. If you think that, it’s only because you reject scripture and therefore reject God. Be Not Deceived: There’s No Such Thing As A “Christian Banker”

Prior to learning the languages, most of us simply do not know how to think on a textual level when it comes to studying the Scripture. But after learning Greek or Hebrew (even if we forget it), we now understand grammar, syntax, logical flow, and sentence structure. Moreover, we understand the way words work, how their meaning is determined (or not determined), the importance of context, and the avoidance of certain exegetical fallacies. You Don’t Think Learning the Biblical Languages is Worth It? Think Again

…no one reads everything in the Bible literally (as much as we avoid admitting this), but it seems that those who are quickest to accuse others of greasing a new slippery slope are more guilty of gleefully sliding down one of their own design—one that already exists and has been absorbed into “normative” Evangelical Christianity, an omnipresence and “boiling frog syndrome” that deceptively conceals its existence and distortive properties. Striking contradictions abound in the above description: aside from the fringe extremists, even those conservative fundamentalist Christians who support a so-called literalist reading of Scripture are actually more thoughtful in their interpretation than they realize if they don’t condone baby head-smashing and rape victim stoning; this is a good kind of selectiveness. And yet, those who admit that they don’t read the entire Bible in a literalist hermeneutical cast often do read portions of Scripture in a literal, context-driven manner where the so-called “literalist” tribe applies only symbolic or out-of-context futurist readings. Weird. The Contradictory, Convenient, and Self-Serving Impulses in Selective Biblical Literalism

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The Bible doesn’t exist to please you as its primary audience, or to make you feel understood. It does that sometimes, but that’s not its primary role. Its job is to make you think deeply about the world, and about God, and about your role in it. Its purpose is to form you, and change you- and not just you, but the whole community in which and with which you read it. You can’t expect the Bible to do the work for you. It requires effort, and engagement, and attention. It’s soul work, not beach reading. Danielle Shroyer (via thepoorinspirit, affcath)

It drives me bonkers when Baptists, Pentecostals, Anabaptists, and all sorts of other low church Protestants dismiss tradition, creeds, bishops, and the rest offhand as being “man-made.” This they contrast with the Bible. What?? This just in: The Bible is man-made, too. I have no idea how much of “the finger of God” in Exodus 31:18 is an anthropomorphism, but, even treating that as literally as possible that God carved Ancient Near Eastern characters in rock using lightning out of His phalanges, it’s the only place in Scripture where God independently crafted the message. God with a glowing beard didn’t sit down on an otherworldly chair at a supernatural desk with a heavenly ballpoint pen containing radiant ink and get busy writing on a spiritual scroll, then have the angelic Postmaster General de-transfigure the thing before delivering down to the earthlings. Nor does it mean the Holy Spirit put men in trances, then dictated a really “mannish” (thank you, Francis Schaeffer) sounding message complete with poor grammar in places. Yes, I absolutely affirm that the Bible is divinely-inspired, but we’ve got to be careful with that. Divine-inspiration doesn’t mean it’s any less the product of man nor that it overruled/overshadowed human thinking. As far as I’m concerned, both of those are blatant false dichotomies that have no business within the christian faith. The Bible is special revelation; the divinely-inspired holy Scriptures as communicated, i.e. written and edited, by human authors living in precise cultural-historical contexts. It’s both/and rather than either/or. An admittedly limited analogy is Jesus, the incarnate Word: simultaneously fully God and fully man. In the same way that orthodox Christology insists that His two natures are inconfused, unchangeable, indivisible, and inseparable (dirty Council of Chalcedon…), so I’m convinced Scripture’s two origins must be upheld. The Bible isn’t only man-made, but it most certainly is man-made. The Bible is “Man-Made”

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…I think the powerful thing for me was when I got to the point of looking at Christianity and the Bible as more of a painting than as a photograph … that there were people who had this powerful experience with something bigger than themselves, and that this was their painting of it; this was how they articulated and painted that experience. But it wasn’t a photograph. And there were other groups of people in other parts of the world that had this other powerful experience with something bigger than themselves and they painted their picture of it. And, you know, we might have the same kind of experience, or have an experience with the same thing, and paint two very different pictures of it. Tim DeChristopher

…if you do not see the role that Egypt, Babylon and Rome played in the Biblical narrative … by what lens would be able to see the role that post-Cold War America plays in the global War on Terror? E is for Empire

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