Sunday, January 31, 2010

More Hermeneutical Failures of Classical Theology

Healing today.

Classical theology has been sovereignty-fixated. Hence, when they pray AND leave everything to God's will, so to speak, they are really praying but believing nothing other that God knows what is best for them. Although, their submission to God's will is commendable, it is no different than a Muslim's submission to God's will. They are both sincere, they both believe in the absolute sovereignty of God. They both believe that God or Allah knows what is best from the foundation of the world. Hence, a Muslim would not be won to Christ by a classicist!

Whereas, the above premises are correct and incontestable, note that in this aspect, there seems to be no remarkable difference between a Muslim and a classical Christian. What seems to be missing?

Well, utterly missing is the Biblical concept of God's love and and shepherding of the people who are called by His name and are leaving in a vine-branch abiding relationship with in a Kingdom covenant-relationship context. Missing is the belief that God loves MORE than He exercises his wisdom. If you do not believe this, then you do not read God's dealings with His people in the Old Testament! You have only half of the Bible! Also, how about Romans 8:32???

Although the classicist has complete faith in God's wisdom and sovereignty, he is NEVER sure of anything because he just CANNOT exercise real faith in God's unfailing love because of His own version of theology. He plays safe by just not believing practically anything although he will publicly deny that. Remember, "Be it done to you according to your faith" will always be the eternal, solid-rock promise of Christ! I will discuss this on a blog which shows why Classical Theology has virtually and practically destroyed the exercise of faith in Christians who subscribe to their system of thinking.

I have to admit that coming from a classical background myself, there has been a lot that I had to and still have to unlearn.

Female leadership in church.

This is where classical theologians and pastors seem to stumble over. They completely miss out on progressive revelation and miss out on the heart of God when he appointed ONLY Levites to be His priests in the theocracy. On this I have only two things to say.

Pastors and teachers are mentioned as gifts of the Spirit in Ephesian 4:11. Now those who insist that these are the gifts of Christ and not the gifts of the Spirit are folks who are too "word-oriented" and not "context-oriented".

Also, the apostle Peter declared that "we are a royal priesthood" in 1 Peter 2:5-9.

So I ask the classical interpreter, "Are the gifts of the Spirit gender specific?"; "Does the royal priesthood ONLY apply to men?". Again, context, context, context. Do not just look at the words or traditions but the heart of God, i.e., synthesize the whole Bible!

Pauline epistle interpretations of predestination

Hermeneutics should use the rules of Preponderance of Evidence to determine rules vs. exceptions instead of concluding that there is a contradiction that will just be reconciled in eternity. The latter rule is almost an oxy-moron. Even evolutionists believe that given "enough time", evolution actually occurs!?? Now, if the classicist has eternity to figure things out....????? where is the logic here?

The other things to remember is that Paul NEVER in his wisest moment considered his epistles as the Word of God. In his mind, he was only giving advise and explaining principles that were mysteries in the Old Testament but now revealed.

He did NOT even explain predestination but assumed that it was a concept that was easily understood by any Christian.

This has been over-discussed ad nauseaum so I give the straight answer here. Predestination is another way of Paul to explained "God's natural law" or God's "foreordination by rules". Note that I did not say "foreordination of things" but rather, "foreordained rules". God made it a natural law that a Christian gets conformed to the image of Christ, for example. He made it a natural law that a Christian is created unto good works that he should "naturally" walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).

So when Paul mentions all this predestination in Ephesians 1, the only unconfusing way to interpret them is under this obvious context.
  • v.4 - "He chose us in him to be holy and blameless". We emphasize too much on "before the creation of the world" but that is only how Paul passionately emphasizes the glory of his point.
  • v.4 - "He predestined us to be adopted". God simply ordained the rule that we become His children by adoption, can't extend it any farther than that. This concept alone is already a glorious thought!
  • v.11 - "having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will". The next phrase reveals the point of predestination - "in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory". Classicists emphasize too much in the first phrase,"In him we were also chosen" and lose track of the whole point by being fixated on limited and erroneous concepts of predestination.
Now, don't you think that the points above DO NOT contradict any bigger doctrine in Scripture?
The classical concept of predestination espoused especially by Hyper-Calvinist virtually makes the rest of Scripture irrelevant. I know this from experience.

We cannot leave our brains behind when we face Scripture by assuming that God does not speak our language nor believing that we can never understand God (a contradiction of Jeremiah 9:23, 24)

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