Exchanging a conservative voice for biblical perspective

by Kyle
published April 26, 2012


Read More Looking Up

You and I are much dumber than God. He even says so. In Isaiah 55:9, God says, "as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts."

Some scholars have made their careers by approaching the Bible as something written by men that can be wholly understood by textual and literary criticism. We call this higher criticism because it stands above Scripture and looks down at it from the vantage of modern scholarship.

If we understand the passage from Isaiah correctly, this would seem to be a flawed perspective. Instead, we have a work that stands over us as the Word of God, and that makes some people uncomfortable. Sometimes, it makes me uncomfortable.

In any relationship, there are bound to be disagreements. Ruth Graham, world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham’s wife, often quipped that "if two people agree on everything, one of them is unnecessary."

Certainly, then, there will be times when God and human will fail to see eye-to-eye in their own relationship. We can depend on it, particularly since we are deeply flawed — even to the point of evil — and He is inexpressibly perfect.

This is why so much of Scripture clashes so uncomfortably with the human heart. We can know that the god we serve is the real and living God because He is different from us and His Word is challenging and uncomfortable. If there were no disagreement, we would have a god of our own manufacture that serves us. Instead of a robot we made, there is a God in Heaven that made us.

In my own reflection, I have found that neither liberal nor conservative theologians escape occasional disagreement with the God that made them. Often, they will set up a logical system that serves as a framework for their biblical interpretation and, though not bad in itself, will tend to lead theologians to either ignore or misinterpret parts of the Bible that fail to fit inside their limited system.

Pastor and author Tim Keller notes in his book, "Counterfeit Gods," that this sort of doctrinal system can even rise to a level of idolatry. Liberal and conservative theologians alike will tend to love and worship the doctrine we can understand over the God we can never fully comprehend.

Instead, the approach I propose to take to the various topics this column will cover is this: "read and explain." It’s not my idea. Another author/pastor, Alistair Begg, proposes that the best biblical interpretation is in those three simple words. Instead of catering to a "conservative voice," or even a liberal voice, I will endeavor to approach issues by trying simply to be honest with the whole content of God’s Word, recorded in the Bible, and to avoid going beyond what is written.

This may make you uncomfortable. In one paragraph, I may seem intolerably conservative and obnoxiously liberal in the next. God fits in neither camp, and I would prefer to seem biblical throughout.

I don’t want to assume a high critical position or limit my interpretation to a narrow logical construct. Instead, I would rather stand in my own finite place in the world and simply look up from below at what God has revealed and seek to know Him better.

What do you think?

Posted by Dona on
Fair enough.
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