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Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Despair of Escape

Yesterday I mentioned four events that were nagging my thought.  Reading through Scalia’s introduction brought the other three into focus for me.  His book is about interpreting legal instruments; however the principles, canons, that he lists in the first section of the book particularly, apply directly to understanding and interpreting the Bible; even more so than legal texts because the ultimate author does not make errors in composition.
I think there may be a single reason for the challenges we face...  Thoughts at DTTB.
There was another quote from the introduction that crystallized my thinking on this.  Scalia is describing lawyers and judges who use an illegitimate interpretive structure, in his opinion, to escape what a statute plainly says.  In so doing he quotes an English noble, Lord Devlin:
Five judges are no more likely to agree than five philosophers upon the philosophy behind an Act of Parliament, and five different judges are likely to have five different ideas about the right escape route from the prison of the text. (emphasis added)
Many if not most of the heresy and difficulty we have in and with the Church and in our attempts to follow Christ can be attributed to groups’, teachers’, or individuals’ attempts to “escape the prison of the text.”

In the first instance I cited yesterday, both the individual and the organization invested enormous energy in escaping a clear prohibition in scripture that would have “limited” certain members of that organization from performing certain functions in that ministry.

In the second case teachers in Africa are leading many astray by teaching revelation that they alone have received or are misusing the Bible by reading and teaching it incorrectly.  They are again escaping the text.

In the third case the Church has escaped from what is expressed as the role of the pastor in Ephesians 4:11 – 16 as equipping the saints and replaced it with standing in front of an audience and giving a presentation which most in the room promptly forget.  But those in the room are not without skin in the game.  Many have escaped the clear exhortations of Christ in Matthew 6:25 – 34 when He told us to put His agenda before ours.

So despair, at least in this context, is that we continually figure out ways to escape what the One who created us, chose to send His Son while we were unrighteous sinners, aliens, enemies, and strangers to die in our place so that He might restore us to life tells us is necessary.  We don’t like it.  So we figure out ways around it.

It never works well.

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