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Shadows of Divine Things

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Location: Texas, United States

This site is devoted to theological and philosophical investigations of the spiritual meanings of life, current events, music, spiritual growth, nature, and learning to be attuned to listening to the 'language of God.' The name of this blog comes from one of Jonathan Edwards's journals which he called 'Shadows of Divine Things,' and later renamed 'Images of Divine Things.' As a Christian I am continously on a spiritual journey to grow more into the image of Christ, to understand what it means to be crucified with Christ. To seek the truths of the Christian Faith is of upmost importance, and to know that any truths that are found outside of Christianity are present there because they ultimately point to God. I have an M.A. in theology and apologetics and I completed one year of graduate studies in Philosophy at Marquette University.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The (Mis) Use of the Bible

Recently I have been grappling over several issues that have actually disturbed me for the better part of ten years. Since my wife and I have been visiting so many different churches in various denominations in our search for a church home (which by the way has now moved beyond the year mark) this issue has surfaced time and again. What issue is that?

Well, the issue of using the Bible to serve an end or purpose with which the Bible was not written. For instance, lately I have heard the Bible being used or quoted from in order to debunk certain practices, either within society at some level, or within certain denominations. It is as if the Bible is being used to debunk something that, in all reality, the Bible was never intended to debunk. If this occurs within a particular denomination, often times the end result is division, splintering, sometimes to such a degree that several groups are formulated from what once was a larger whole. Each group now has its own Biblical view or interpretation that believes the other group, from which it broke off, is in error. This is certainly a misuse of the texts of Scripture. Nonetheless, it happens all too often.

Certainly the texts of the Bible, which were written thousands of years ago, were never intended to be used to demonstrate the personal preferences, or personal woes one may have with a group of contemporary believers (i.e. a certain church practices, etc.) Often the cry, “The Bible says such and such . . . therefore, you should do such and such” is a distorted and forceful misreading (usually done so quite anachronistically) of the texts. Moreover, these “militant” uses of the texts to “warn” a church (or group of Christians) in the 21st century are done so in an attempt to control the environment and not to get at the heart of what the text is truly communicating. Authority of the Bible, in this sense or use, has become an equivocation of the term authority. The “authority” is actually the attempt to use the Bible to express protest against a certain disagreement which misses the point of the text altogether.

Do you see this occurring or am I way off?


Blogger Chris Tilling said...

Hi Todd,
Yes, I know what you mean very much with this one. I find part of the problem is the very few attempts to contextualise the text (in the world that produced it), before the process of recontextualising starts. Had they done so, they may have provide a helpful boundary to stop flights of fantasy.

2:58 AM, May 11, 2006  
Blogger T.B. Vick said...

Hey Chris,
Its been awhile since I have seen you around here. Hope you are well.

Very good point on the lact of contextualising. I have come to the conclusion that in certain circumstance, the text is actually just being used to "proof-text" a theology or belief, which actually ignores altogether, in a quite deliberate sense, context. Thanks for the feedback.

6:32 PM, May 11, 2006  

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