Sunday, October 12, 2014

Guess and Check in Theology

In elementary math when solving for a variable, if a student is supposed to solve for a variable and is stumped, they can often find the answer simply by guessing numbers until one solves the equation.  Even if they cannot figure out the problem simply by trail and error, the solution may be found.

Surprisingly a similar approach is helpful in scriptural interpretation.  If we hear an interpretation of scripture with strong claims of a certain absolute type all we need to see if the claims are true or not true is to see if scripture supports or denies the claims.  Narrative is extremely helpful in this case, especially narrative which is commented upon by God or the biblical writer as inspired by the Spirit of God.

You see many positions which are easily shown to be erroneous by simply comparing them to the very plain commentary on narrative in scripture.  The story of Job shows any strong form of health and wealth gospel to be in error.

The success and failure of many of the prophets shows that it is God who brings success and not man.  Jonah was not the faithful prophet/voice of God that many other figures were and yet he had more success, because ultimately God brings victory and not men.

The Old Testament frequently teaches that God is with us even when we feel he is not.  It shows us that often we object to our ability to do a task.  In a sense we may be right.  We may not be an eloquent speaker but God may call us to speak.  You see we often misunderstand the true qualifications for tasks.

Always in theology comparing theology to scripture and matching the claims of theology to the claims of scripture is of great importance.

Equally important is looking for what is missing in our theology.  If our theology does not cover what scripture covers then we have a hole in our theology.  If we wish to be faithful to God, omissions in theology are equally as serious at times as outright errors.
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