Well, I was not expecting to find baptism and communion to be important hermeneutical principles, but as I read Paul’s arguments in particular, I am struck at how many times he refers to baptism or the Lord’s Supper as instructive for our behavior in other contexts. Paul argues from these while we argue about these. Surely this fact alone tells us how far removed we are from the apostolic mindset.
An obvious example of Paul’s use of baptism and the Lord’s Supper as instructive in other contexts relates to the division among the Christians in Corinth – Continue reading
What do we learn from this narrative approach to the scriptures? Well, I don’t think the Story answers all the questions, but it answers more questions than any other one principle of hermeneutics. We could go another quarter working through the implications in countless areas of Bible study.
But I want to make sure that we don’t miss some conclusions. This is from Michael F. Bird, “Re-Thinking a Sacramental View of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper for the Post-Christendom Baptist Church,” in Baptist Sacramentalism 2 [Paternoster Studies in Baptist History and Thought], which I reviewed earlier.
I suggest that we conceive of the church as a missional and displaced community that does not really fit into contemporary society rather than comprising the religious wing of modernity. … [W]e should see ourselves as heralding the good news that God was in Christ reconcliing the world to himself. The church must become a menace to our pluralistic society and threaten to undermine the philosophical premises that the pax postmoderna is built on. The scandalous message and perplexing praxis of Christians should invoke umbrage and curiousity. Why don’t you abort foetuses? Why don’t you approve of gay marriages? Why do you believe that only your religion is true? The answer is not a programme, not four spiritual laws, and not seeker sensitive services; rather, the answer is a story and community. … Let me show you what renewed and redeemed humanity really looks like: justified and Spirit-led new creations, abounding in love for one another, where there is neither Jew nor Gentile, male nor female, slave nor free, but all are one in Christ Jesus. And what tools do we have that tell the story and display the community: baptism and eucharist. That is where the postmodern pagans may come and hear, see, taste, and experience the good of God in word, symbol and presence among his people. Continue reading
Well, we’ve spent the last 12 weeks covering various aspects of this Blue Parakeet idea. Let me try to boil them down a bit.
When we run across a blue parakeet passage — a blue bird amidst the sparrows — we need to rethink that passage in light of the Story, the overarching, great themes of the Bible. Sometimes we’ll find that the passage immediately makes better sense when we think of it this way. Sometimes, bringing the Story into the analysis is just the beginning of some serious study and wrestling with the text.
We’re not done with our study until we’ve interpreted the passage in such a way that it fits the Story as well as the words of the passage. We just have to work and study and pray until we get there. But there’s plenty of help available from other Christians and from the scholars of today and the past — and the Spirit. Continue reading
Genesis 1 and 2 give the model for a Godly marriage and Godly sexual conduct. Hence, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and homosexuality are all wrong because they violate Genesis 1 and 2 — which define sinless sex — even if the heterosexual or homosexual sex is a very loving relationship.
Of course, Genesis 1 and 2 occurred in a sinless world and so set the pattern for husbands and wives. Hence, when the Scriptures discuss divorce, they refer to Genesis 1 and 2. And we’ve often missed the point because we’ve so often misread these important passages.
To have truly healthy marriages (and churches), we have to return to the sinless ideal of Genesis 1 and 2 and stop defending what we do and teach from Genesis 3. You see, our foolish assertion that Genesis 3:16 — giving husbands “rule” over their wives — has led to many dysfunctional marriages, to spousal abuse, and worse.
The ideal is found in Genesis 1 and 2 — both are in the image of God, both are to be united to each other, both are to be one flesh, the wife is the husband’s “bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.” Continue reading
The application should be obvious by now. Love and faith are the “interstitial doctrines,” that is, they fill in all the gaps. There are no gaps. No silences. No missing authority. It’s all there in two words.
Maybe a reminder of some fundamentals will help us hang some meat on the bones.
What is it that a congregation of the Lord Jesus is supposed to do? Believe and love. And so, how do they do this? Well, first they love each other (John 13:35), but they must also love those outside the congregation.
The gospel tells us that God loves us all and made us his adopted children, and so we must love one another as brothers and sisters in the same family. And just as is true in our earthly families, we may not much like each other, but we still love each other and we stand up for each other. Continue reading