Thursday, February 22, 2007

Theological Humility

Every now and then I just have to get something off my chest. I just finished browsing a blog discussion about women in ministry on the Jesus Creed blog. There were about 150 comments! But in reading it I became more and more frustrated with a couple people promoting the traditionalist position on this issue. My frustration didn't stem from their position so much as an assumption that was driving their comments.

Stated simply--God gave me a better brain which is why I am 100% right and you're completely deluded!

They made comments that can be summarized as--"Why don't you go read the Bible?" Or "You just care about your position so much you read into the Bible whatever you want." I am so sick of theological arrogance like this. When people are seriously engaging the Scriptures to see what they're saying and then are told they're wrong without any reason other than, "I read the Bible right and you don't," it just drives me nuts! I am all for engaging each other's opinions and having debates about issues. And I don't believe that everyone's opinion is equally close to truth, but we still need some humility in how we engage each other.

Despite what people may say we cannot disregard the culture in which the Bible was written. We cannot disregard the assumptions we bring with us to our reading of the Scriptures today (we all have them!). We cannot disregard church history (though that doesn't mean it's always right). We cannot disregard the way the Holy Spirit works through the body of Christ as a whole (communal knowledge versus individual knowledge).

The reality we live with is that no one will ever have an exact grasp on truth. We do our best and continually strive to understand the revelation God has given us, but we're just too imperfect to flippantly tell others they're wrong.


David said...

Thanks for your thoughts Trevor. This topic always makes me think of a certain Denver Seminary professor who really likes being right and under the guise of his professorial status likes to use that platform to convey his beliefs which are TRUTH. I think this particularly bothers me because an educational place like that is suppose to be one where wrestling with difficulties is encouraged not denied by the intellectual arrogance of some.

I still really like Rob Bell's analogy from "Velvet Elvis" that so many of these issues are merely springs and when we confuse them for bricks there are huge inconsistencies in the our faith and the overarching work of Christ.

Trevor said...

You and Rob are best friends! Good luck on the comps!