Sunday, March 27, 2011

D.A. Carson: How Could a Good God Allow Suffering?

D.A. Carson recently gave an excellent lecture/sermon (sermon-lecture?) on what the bible has to say on evil, suffering and God's goodness. If you have an hour, or even an hour and a half to watch the whole thing, it can be found here. He is definitely first-class when it comes to expositing the bible to old-Christians, young-Christians and non-Christians alike ... at the same time ... in my opinion.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hermeneutical Commitments

John Walton, in his commentary on Genesis, lays down some “commitments” he feels are necessary in approaching the bible, especially when concerns a dicey or heated topic – in this case the topic of gender roles.  He writes:

First, we must make some methodological commitments (italics his) lest we be guilty of dressing up our own desires so that they look like the Bible’s teaching (italics mine).

1.     We must allow the text to pursue its own agenda, not force it to pursue ours.
2.     We must be committed to the intention of the author rather than getting whatever mileage we can out of the words he used.
3.     We must resist overinterpreting the text in order to derive the angle we are seeking.
4.     We must be willing to have our minds changed by the text—that is at least part of the definition of submitting ourselves to the authority of the text (italics mine again).
5.     We must be willing to accept the inevitable disappointment if the text does not address or solve the questions we would like answers to.
Second, we must make some personal commitments (italics his) to one another as members of God’s family.

1.     We must be willing to preserve a godly perspective on the issue and accord Christian respect to those we disagree with, refusing to belittle, degrade, accuse, or insult them. Ad hominem arguments and other varieties of “negative campaigning” should be set aside.
2.     We must not allow our differences of opinion to overshadow and disrupt the effectiveness of ministry and our Christian witness.
3.     We must decry the arrogance that accompanies a feeling of self-righteousness and portrays others as somehow less godly because of the position they hold.
Third, we must be willing to make some values commitments (italics his) to take a stand against the distorted values of our society that often fuel the debate.

1.     We must determine that individual “rights” and the pursuit of them will not take precedence over more important values, as they have in our society at large.
2.     We must resist any desire to hoard or attain power, though our society and our fallenness drive us to pursue it above all else.
3.     We must constantly strive to divest ourselves of self, though we live in a “What about me?” world.
4.     We must accept that ministry is not to be considered a route to self-fulfillment; it is a service to God and his people.
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