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Thursday, 31 October 2013

A Path Not A Fortress

I have said that I think theology is really important and that we all do theology, whether we recognise it or not. But I realise not everyone connects with it when it gets too 'studious'. Fair enough. But I do want to get into theology in more detail and some have expressed an interest in this. And so I have started a new blog to focus on my theological reflections and developments. It'll hopefully free this blog up to focus on more general reflections on our journey, thoughts on the spiritual life - individual and corporate - and on the practical outworking of the different kingdom values. If anyone is interested more in the theological journey then the blog is at Pentecostal Pilgrim 

But before the studious stuff moves off this blog, let me share  one extract from a book by an OT scholar which I have been reading recently. What he says about biblical interpretation I think also applies to the theological and all other aspects of the journey:
'Perhaps we should think of biblical interpretation more as a path to walk than a fortress to be defended. Of course, there are times when defence is necessary, but the church's task of biblical interpretation should not be defined by such...I would rather think of biblical interpretation as a path we walk, a pilgrimage we take, whereby the longer we walk and take in the surrounding scenes, the more people we stop and converse with along the way, and the richer our interpretation will be. Such a journey is not always smooth. At times what is involved is a certain degree of risk and creativity: we may need to leave the main path from time to time to explore less travelled but promising tracks…[it] always requires patience and humility lest we stumble...But as we attempt to understand Scripture, we move further along the path. At the end of the path is not simply the gaining of knowledge about the text, but God himself speaks to us therein. The goal toward which the path is leading is that which set us on the path to begin with: our having been claimed by God as coheirs with the crucified and risen Christ. The reality of the crucified and risen Christ is both the beginning and end of Christian biblical interpretation...again, this is why the metaphor of journey or pilgrimage is so appealing. The path we walk may contain risks, unexpected bumps, twists and turns. We do not always know what is coming around the corner...It is always an option I suppose, to halt the journey and stand still, or perhaps turn around and walk back a few hundred yards, so as to stand at a safe distance from what lies ahead. We should continue the journey, however, not because we are sure of our own footing, but because we have faith in God who placed us on the journey to begin with.'
(Peter Enns, Inspiration and Incarnation, 2005, BakerAcademic, pp.162-163,171).

4 comments:

  1. I just logged onto your blog to read over the scripture series and to ask if you had read the Enns, to find you have and you are quoting from it. That's good. I was thinking it might be a book you would appreciate.
    I think the scripture series has been fantastic, thank you.

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    1. Thanks, Kim. I really enjoyed the Enns book and often visit his blog. I will be using some of the insights from it with the Bible School students in Manchester, as I lecture on Understanding the Bible. Really enjoy reading your blog. I am going to be putting it on my recommended blogs down the side here.

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  2. Love the quote and look forward to sharing the journey, albeit, I may take a few different detours....

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    1. Great to hear from you, Ralph. As long as we keep talking to each other as we explore different paths, I think that's OK. Blessings.

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