Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Playing with Fire...

I just finished teaching an Adult class at church on Sunday mornings on the topic of How to Interpret the Bible. It was based on Walt Russell's book, Playing With Fire. Russell is a professor at Biola University in southern California. Essentially, Russell posits that in order to best understand the Bible we need to understand the literary genres that it is comprised of and to understand the fact that the meaning of text is static. With these two components we can best appreciate what the intent of Scripture is and, therefore, best grow in our spiritual formation. You would think that people would be lining up to hear about that wouldn't you? But, alas, our average attendance was dismal. Dismissing the possibility, for the moment, that the low attendance was not due to the instructor's capabilities, why aren't more Christians interested in learning how to better interpret God's Word? I suspect that it has to do with the thinking that seems to be so prevalent in Evangelical circles these days... namely, what I like to call experientialism. Are we so caught up in experiencing God, and thereby using that as our measure of spiritual growth, that we ignore using our minds? It certainly appears so.

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