Friday, September 30, 2005

Interpretation Based on Fantasy

I originally wanted to call this post Exegetical Fantasy but then I thought I better not. The people I am trying to reach probably do not even know that the word exegesis exists never mind what it means!
Yesterday, while driving home after work, I was listening to a local regional Christian radio station. The subject of the falling of the walls of Jericho came up. The afternoon home drive show host then asked the rhetorical question he was going to supply the answer to: "Why did the walls of Jericho come down?" Then, based on his expert exegetically based research, he answered the question: "It was because of noise!" Well, there you go! The next time you have a wall in front of you, simply make a lot of noise! The wall will come down!
I don't know about you, but this kind of comment from radio show hosts is ridiculous! This is not even close to the truth! It was not the level of the noise that brought those walls down. Then the Israelites could have done it on the first day of their march around the city and not wait till the seventh!
This is one thing that I find quite frustrating, and it is not just a problem on Christian radio stations, it is found in our pulpits too! The reason things like these are trumpeted over the airwaves and from our pulpits is because the beautiful and thought provoking art of exegesis has been lost to the church. It is so much easier to come up with all kinds of whimsical ideas based on personal preferences than actually doing the hard work of instructional Bible study based on true and tested principles of hermeneutics and exegesis.
The modern philosophy of Biblical interpretation aims for the easy way out of Bible study. The notion is that rigorous study of the most important Book in the universe just cannot be true, because then we are not being led by the Spirit, as if the two are mutually exclusive. The minds of many modern Christians have become Biblically soft to the point that Christian thinking is void of true Biblical thinking and worldview. When Christians become lazy in their uncompromising study of the Bible, then their views of God and His actions in time and space will be skewed. To claim that the Spirit gave the interpretation of a certain Biblical passage is not only presumptuous, but when that interpretation is obviously a concoction of a lazy and untrained mind, then we have allowed the enemy to blind us to the real value of the very words God has spoken and to lead us into real error and perhaps into actual heresy!
I believe it is time for the church, the people of the Book, to become actual students of the Bible and not simply opinion vendors of the contents of the Bible. So many preachers (and radio show hosts) simply bring their opinions--that they probably heard second hand anyway--to the Bible and make the Bible fit their own contrivances based on an artificial understanding of the Bible.
Modern Christians simply do not know how to study the Bible anymore! This problem I lay squarely at the feet of pastors. Please understand that I do not blame all pastors! Just those who are to blame. The ones to blame are those who: (1) no longer prepare their sermons based on correct principled exegesis of the Bible; (2) no longer inform their congregants of the fact that personal Bible study is phenomenally important to the spiritual health of all believers; (3) no longer train their people in the great, awesome and wonderfully beautiful art of Biblical exegesis; (4) place Holy Spirit claimed hodgepodge as higher than the actual revealed and definitely inspired Scriptures; (5) accept obvious heretics as great men of God (see my series Heresies in the church and Jonathan Moor's articles on T.D. Jakes, Tommy Tenney, Modalism and Trinitarian Heresies) and allowing these heresies to be disseminated via their bookstores and radio stations; and many more. Pastors are not blamed when they are in violation of all these points. One of these points is enough to put the blame on them.
I believe it is time for a new reformation. This reformation must be against all the obvious heresies and heretics that infiltrate our churches, turning them into high speed fellow-Ships into hell! Truth and the study of that truth must once again become foremost in our minds as Biblical Christians.
Let's raise a banner for Biblical exegesis and Biblically based preaching from our pulpits and even radio shows!
Just thinking...

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