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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Babies and Bathwater

Babies and Bathwater
In a study I was in recently one of my friends made a couple of statements about the Bible that were not sourced in the text but in reactions to what people had done to him.  He was filtering what he saw in the text with his appropriate reaction to those situations.  The problem was the filters caused him to overlook, miss, or ignore some seemingly clear statements in the text.  Essentially, he let someone else's bad behavior color what he sees in the text.  By denying or forcing the text to counter the bad behavior of those people to the extent that he discounted the meaning of the text, he essentially threw the baby out with the bathwater.

I have done that.  It is wrong.

Anytime we allow something other than the text to inform what we see in the text it is an error.  But we do it.

It may be that we have a favorite doctrine that a passage seems to contradict.  Rather than deal with the passage honestly, we tend to try to make it fit our doctrine.  That is an error.  I live in an area in which several people emphasize speaking in tongues.  1 Corinthians 12:28 - 31, says that not all people are going to have tongues as a gift.  Regardless, there are many who will insist that particular gift is available to all people.

D. A. Carson has dealt with this in Showing the Spirit: A Theological Exposition of 1 Corinthians, 12-14.  This is an excellent example of both a good Bible study as well as a superb example of theological method done well.

As apprentices of Christ we cannot allow other's bad behavior, or our pet theological positions to cloud our observation of what the text says.  To do so limits our understanding of God and His thought to what others force us to see or what we chose to see.

The world is doing that for us.  We do not need to help them.

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