Thursday, September 18, 2014

Theology Thursday: Why the days of "Proof-Texting" are Over, and Why They Should Be!

When it comes to the discussion of homosexuality, our culture has rejected a flat, plain reading of Leviticus 18:22 for sometime now. And even Bible-believing followers of Jesus who reject homosexual behavior as sinful should agree with that rejection!  The fact that most don't actually says more about the maturity of our theological method than it does culture's rejection of the Word of God.

To be sure, those who hold a high view of Scripture will simply find it impossible to reconcile its teachings with the belief that sexual activity of any sort outside the Biblical boundaries of permanent, heterosexual marriage is OK.  The problem isn't our firm belief in our authority source.  Its in our approach to our authority source.

In light of this observation, I was delighted to read this post yesterday, penned by the President of my alma mater.  Entitled "Biblical Theology and the Sexuality Crisis," the article rightly points to an immaturity of approach where our interpretation of the Scriptures are concerned.  Though there are many examples of how such "proof-texting" takes place, Dr. Mohler uses the most clear example from our recent discussions on sexuality, and in particular, gay relationships.

I appreciate Mohler's approach in calling believers back to an understanding of Scripture as encased in a clear narrative, and how that narrative can be employed to interpret particular passages, separate culturally and covenantally-bound commands from their eternal principles, and arrive at a much more robust description and defense of Biblical teaching.

The simple fact is that if I'm still eating pork BBQ, or sporting a tattoo anywhere on my body, I look more than a little ridiculous to the gay community if my entire case against their behavior is limited to quoting an obviously covenantally-bound text within an obviously temporary covenant.  On the other hand, when this particular command is compared with similar statements in Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 6, and all are understood in a consistent fashion within the over-arching meta-narrative of the Gospel as clearly told in Scripture, it takes an incredible amount of interpretive acrobatics to arrive at any other conclusion than the sexual ethic which has been held by the Christian church for the past 2000 years.

The same principle holds true when we move beyond the discussion of sexual ethics to cover any number of other issues where the church has, until very recently in the west, had long-settled opinions.  Quoting single "chapter and verse" texts not only doesn't help our message, in many cases it presents an incomplete and therefore inaccurate message.  We must, as Mohler contents, tell the "whole story."

I greatly appreciate this post, and pray it will be widely read by the body of Christ in the west.  And again, it can be found here. 

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