Hi, everyone! This is going to be another one of those personal posts. I hope you have enjoyed the Christmas season and have a prosperous New Year!
As many of you know, my first few posts were about theology. They were my attempt at doing theology for myself and by myself. I quickly realized just how dangerous it was, interpreting Scripture by myself.
I am recanting. Not my faith, but my pride. I was very foolish, and I apologize to you all. You see, I learn by writing. The natural side effect of reading is writing, and I read a lot. I learned so many things in the process, and I would like to share the most important one with you all.
When I began blogging in April, I wanted to make a splash with new exciting theology. I thought that I could somehow find something new in Scripture and share it with the masses. The problem is that “there is nothing new under the sun.” I was continuously frustrated because I could not come up with any new ideas. Some patristic writer already said it, and in searching for evidence for my claims, I found their ancient writings. This is comforting now, but I hated it then. I was torn between two thoughts: I could either find something new and risk being a heretic or I could agree with the Fathers and risk being a bore.
Now, I am a happy bore! A bore that has learned to listen to the interpretations of the earliest Christians instead of warping Scripture to fit my own needs. Lord, have mercy on me if I led anyone astray. I am so thankful that I learned this lesson early in life.
Please be careful when interpreting Scripture. Remember the long history of the Bible, and take into account that the Bible would not be in existence without the people who put it together. The Church didn’t create the Bible, and the Bible didn’t create the Church. “They grew up together.”
You may have heard of Sola Scriptura. It is the product of the Reformation (16th century) along with its partners, sola fide and sola gratia. For the first time in the history of the Church, people started interpreting Scripture for themselves. From looking at “scripture alone” (and of course their own life experiences and bias as a filter), they came up with many many new doctrines, most of them contradictory to one another and the historical interpretations. Sola fide and sola gratia are contradictory. Faith alone and Grace alone. Faith alone leads to a completely works based salvation that doesn’t involve much of God. Grace alone leads to predestination and election, which denies the role of faith. But salvation is “by grace through faith.” Removing one or the other creates serious issues. (A topic for another day.) Scripture alone does the same thing. By removing the trusted (and fought for) interpretation of the past, Holy Scripture is put in jeopardy. There must be a standard. I violated this standard, but now I have learned my place. I would much rather trust the word of the very first interpreters of Scripture, the apostles and church fathers. They knew the culture it was written to and they knew the philosophy it was in conversation with. I don’t need to find some new fantastical interpretation of Scripture! I am content to share the unchanging truths of Scripture.
Once again I caution you. If you are in a Bible study and five different people share five different interpretations of the same verse of Scripture, beware! I certainly don’t care what Scripture “means” to five different people. It MEANS something, and I don’t think true meanings are relative.
If you compromise one, you can compromise all.
Again, I am truly sorry. I pray you can forgive me.
In Christ’s love,