Out of Context

My Mom and I were talking this morning about the Bible, of which I am proud to say she has become quite the student. We got on about how people interpret it and the necessity of knowing the context of Scripture in order to truly understand it. We also spoke ruefully how people will refuse to do that homework, esp. if it might threaten their understanding of Scripture. I found it is ironic that my Mom learned this from a converted Catholic biblical scholar.
I related to her how that argument plays out among my Protestant friends: not well. I’m frequently told that because I take the time to understand its socio-historical context, I might know about the Word but I don’t know the Word. In other words, don’t let the context change the “true meaning,” i.e. their understanding of its meaning of Scripture. My challenge to that is this: how can you understand anything written or said when it is taken out of context? If you are incredulous, just look at the healthcare “debate” and those infamous death panels.

Technorati Tags:
, ,

The Truth about Santa Claus

Today I was inspired by remembering a personal story that I think does justice to explaining where I’m coming from. It shows how I can disagree with my fellow Christians about the Bible’s ontological nature vis-á-vis the Word of God, yet agree to its Truth.

Over the years, I’ve been given to expressing an increasingly strong conviction of mine about the Bible as it relates to the Word of God. I’ve often expressed it as simply that the two are not one and the same, specifically that the former is a reflection of the latter. Simply said (perhaps overly so), “The Bible is not the Word of God,” any more than I am Jesus Christ. The Bible being faulted, limited, human while the Word of God is Truth transcendant and divine. This has gotten me in no little trouble with my fellow Christian brothers and sisters, esp. of those given to more fundamentalist leanings.

In trying to explain my point of view, I’ve noticed that I’ve had trouble conveying my thoughts, beliefs, and convictions because when I speak with my brothers and sisters in Christ we often use the same words to name very different perspectives on things. Today I was inspired by remembering a personal story that I think does justice to explaining where I’m coming from. It shows how I can disagree with my fellow Christians about the Bible’s ontological nature vis-á-vis the Word of God, yet agree to its Truth.

Continue reading “The Truth about Santa Claus”

The “Rule of Faith”

My personal Christian faith has been evolving for years now as I try to clarify the “rule of faith” by which I live. Fellow Christians often asked me, “What is your standard?” Here I give a brief discussion to answer this important question.

**UPDATE 4/12** *Fixed some typos and language errors.*

My personal Christian faith has been an evolving one over the space of years, as I try to clarify the “rule of faith” by which I live. Fellow Christians often asked me, “What is your standard?” Here I give a brief discussion to answer this important question.
All of my understanding of the Early Church Fathers stems from the role of the “primitive,” “catholic,” and “apostolic” tradition that was seen to be the “rule of faith” for orthodoxy and how it developed. It mightily influenced the Canon of the New Testament and other Christian doctrines. In fact, the central authority claim of the Roman Catholic Church that raised me is centered on an unbroken succession of apostolic authority in the church. It’s even in its creed: “…we believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church…” This tradition locates genuine Christian authority in Peter and the Apostles whom Christ charged with authority in the Gospel of John.

Continue reading “The “Rule of Faith””