Friday, 1 February 2019

Saying what the Bible says, as the Bible says it

This is well worth reading:

God graciously gave me a realisation some years ago that affects all subjects, not just ones controversial in the culture. It was this: our position on an issue is not Biblical unless we can not only affirm what the Bible says, but also would naturally say the same thing in the same way. i.e. The structure of our own thinking is such that we not only tick the box "the Bible says X, so I agree with it", but that we have the same overall world-view in general and consequent approach to an issue in particular that we have the same framework and would find the Bible's way of expressing things a most logical and reasonable way to do so.

By this, I don't of course mean that we culturally become 1st century AD or 10th century BC Israelites. I don't mean that where there are cultural illustrations or backgrounds that we pretend that those are the very same backgrounds or illustrations that are immediately accessible to us. I'm talking about the inner logic and worldview of a way of thinking. The steps that lead through from premises to conclusions and applications. Nor am I denying the need for pastors to explain things to people in a way that is understandable and accessible. I am not saying that we should adopt archaic or incomprehensible patterns of speech. What I am saying is that it's not just the formal content of our practical affirmations and denials that matter, but the routes we take to get there.

The above link quotes an example of an absolutely wrong sort of way of affirming the Bible's teaching. It, on the surface, ticks the box of being able to say, "yes, I affirm the Bible's teaching". But it is far, far from a statement that flows naturally from the Bible's overall revelation of the truth about God our Creator, the world, man, our relationship to God, and human sexuality. And that is why - of course - you don't find any statements of that same flavour in the Bible itself. It is why you do find things like Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 6. Again, I'm using the issue of sexual immorality used in the above article. But is applies in all sorts of areas. Do we think, reason and conclude like the Bible does? Then - and only then - is our thinking actually (and not just notionally) Biblical.