Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Blue Parakeet: Chapter 2, Part 2

I'm blogging through Scot McKnight's brand new The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible. All these posts start with Blue Parakeet: I hope you'll join me.  Don't forget to subscribe to my RSS feed!

In this second part, Scot talks about reformers John Calvin and Martin Luther. Both put the Bible into the hands of ordinary people, but they also put catechisms and commentaries into their hands. Scot tells us their aim was to summarize and give an overview of the faith so that the people might not dive off into a lot of needless error. I was relieved when Scot got around to saying that we could reduce tradition down to the non-negotiables such as the Apostles' Creed and go from there. It put me in mind of C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity. This is good, because we don't want to go back to the bad old days when every denomination thought every other denomination was going to hell. If post-modernism does anything for us, surely it's to protect us from that kind of hubris.

What you want is the smallest possible set of non-negotiables because, given that we are looking "through a glass darkly" (TM), that's how you avoid excluding people from fellowship in error which may satisfy us, but hardly satisfies the purpose of the Bible. And maybe that's key to a couple of the most basic realizations we can have: 1) relationship trumps being "right," and 2) the Bible is without error, but we frequently find ourselves and the way we read the Bible (by this I mean our interpretation) in error. Jesus said that the Spirit would lead us "into all truth" (TM), but He didn't say it would happen by today (or even this side of the grave). So chill a bit.

Scot's making a powerful argument here for middle ground, for not going against the core of our 2000 year old community, and for not fabricating rigid requirements beyond that core. It takes discipline to stay in the middle and not give in to either extreme: too much tradition or not enough.

Next, the third way of reading from Chapter 2.

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