FNB WIRe 3.30.09

April 6, 2009 at 6:53 pm (Biblei-Octopi) (, , )

Flesh & Blud :: Week In Review :: 3.30.09

::Items That Grabbed My Attention This Week

Looking back, the topics of this week had a lot to do with the Emergent Church, which is something that I have been discussing with others to some degree, but the points that grabbed my attention this week were those that addressed the nature of how we view and treat the Bible.

>>Redemptive Movement Hermeneutic (RMH) – From what I can tell this was officially coined and launched with the release of Willam J. Webb’s book Slaves, Women and Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis.

I found Wayne Grudem’s review of this publication to be very helpful. Here’s an excerpt:

At the heart of Webb’s system is what he calls a “redemptive-movement hermeneutic.” He says that some may prefer calling his approach a “progressive” or “developmental” or “trajectory” hermeneutic and he says “that is fine” (p. 31). Webb explains his hermeneutic by what he calls “the X→Y→Z Principle.” The letter Y indicates what the Bible says about a topic. Webb says, “The central position (Y) stands for where the isolated words of the Bible are in their development of a subject” (p. 31). The letter X represents “the perspective of the original culture,” and the letter Z represents “an ultimate ethic,” that is, God’s final ideal that the Bible is moving toward.

Therefore in Webb’s system, what evangelicals have ordinarily understood to be “the teaching of the Bible” on particular subjects is in fact only a point along the way (indicated by the letter Y) toward the development of a final or ultimate ethic (Z). Webb says,

The X→Y→Z Principle illustrates how numerous aspects of the biblical text were not written to establish a utopian society with complete justice and equity. They were written within a cultural framework with limited moves toward an ultimate ethic (p. 31).

In addition to this new paradigm for looking at the Bible, Webb also proposes 18 hermeneutical criterion for understanding Biblical passages. From what I can discern, the underlying themes leading to these conclusions are:

1) A problem with Sola Scriptura (readily admitted by many emergents, though probably not by my definition) – a fundamental shift, rather than starting with Scripture as the guide for how we understand the culture(s) and engage people with the gospel, Scripture becomes a part of the equation, often verbally esteemed, but in reality culture has more of an effect on interpretation than does God’s own revelation of Himself.
2) An incorrect understanding of the flow and nature of the relationship between the Old and New Testaments.
3) A problem with the perpescuity (basically the clarity) of the Scriptures, Webb’s work improperly complicates a clear understanding of The Bible and has at its roots a belief that Scripture is insufficient to answer all of our questions relating to life and practice (which is the heart of Sola Scriptura).

>>A panel discussion on the topic of The Emerging Church with Kevin DeYoung, Tony Jones, Scot McKnight, Alex and Brett Harris.

One of the most encouraging things that came from the discussion was a comment from one of the Harris brothers where he states that if on the one hand you are arguing for an orthodox faith that is grounded in Scripture and on the other side you are calling for an active faith, grounded in love and engaging social issues, the youth we are meeting with are asking, “Why do I have to choose between the two?” He commented that they youth they are meeting want to dig into the truths of Scripture (mentions them leaving conferences with Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology in one hand and their book Do Hard Things in the other), want an active and loving faith as well as being involved in social issues.

>Resources to discover more about the The Emergent and/or Emerging Church:

::Kevin DeYoung’s book Why Were Not Emergent by Two Guys Who Should Be, as well as his blog (clever title)

::Scot McKnight’s blog; he mentions in the panel discussion that he has been writing articles in Christianity Today for the last 3 years to help explain and answer the critics of the Emergent Church

::Mark Driscoll would be another voice in the conversation, Driscoll has said that he is not Emergent but Emerging. I’ve referenced his church’s blog (Mars Hill in Seattle, WA) The Resurgence earlier; and he wrote a book Confessions of a Reformission Rev.: Hard Lessons from an Emerging Missional Church (which I recently ordered, so perhaps there will be more on that later)

Out of this, I didn’t realize that younger Harris brothers (you may remember Josh Harris from his most popular book Why I Kissed Dating Goodbye, he has continued writing on other topics since) existed or were having such an impact. Their book Do Hard Things is basically young authors speaking to their generation about battling the low expectations society/church has placed upon them, inspiring a movement that lives out the heart of 1 Timothy 4:12.

>>Reformed Theological Seminary has made available through iTunes an extensive course on Systematic Theology. Technology meets theology, it’s like a theological drive thru.

>>Started reading through Hebrews and found that James White is preaching through Hebrews, he’s posted his sermons on youtube.

>>Some great details on the heart and effects of Calvin’s teachings in Geneva (quick read).

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