Tag Archives: progressivism

The Quest For A Kataphatic Theology of Scripture

Kataphatic: positive, revealed.
Apophatic: negative, mystery.

English: Lectio Divina Português: Lectio Divina

English: Lectio Divina Português: Lectio Divina (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am just gonna lay this out there. I was trained in a seminary with liberal white mainline Protestant theology. With the historic criticism and different hermeneutic lens that I learned, came the price of prioritizing the human experience (as filtered and experience by white liberal Protestantism) over Scripture and tradition in several cases. Negative statements about the nature of Scripture and difficult texts and polemics were all too common, as if somehow we are so much more morally superior to these primitive Hebrews. Fortunately, there was no need to sign a doctrinal statement like some other place I know, so I was free to explore my beliefs and studies. As I got buried in my studies, somedays, I would not have time for personal devotion to spend time with God, and when I did, I would use the same Bible as I did my studies. Then the other day, I found this useful post from Amanda, Tips For Practicing Lectio Divina.

Perhaps I was too attached to the NRSV, so I decided to switch it up to the Common English Bible I have on my Kindle early one morning, and I felt some much better. It was like a burden had been lifted. But going back to a week before, I had been asking, after doing on some reading, what do I believe about the Bible. I know what I don’t think it is: a how-to manual or anything that fits with the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy.

What I do believe is that Jesus is God’s Word, and God’s Chosen Priest-King, and in that capacity, I must know the same book that Christ Jesus was familiar with and inspired. I don’t think there can be any Christian doctrine of Scripture without Jesus. Yeshua from Nazareth is my Rabbi, and my teacher who puts me in my Gentile, blerd male place. I look forward to reading Matt Emerson’s forthcoming book on theologies of the Bible, but you should check out his post on Method (Christian theology and the Bible) for linked here a preview.

I will probably post on this subject another time, about a Hermeneutic of Responsibility & Hope (using Bonhoeffer and others), and perhaps even talk about growing into affirming both the Free Church tradition and Creedal Christianity.

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Putting the Progress in Progressive?

Ben Meyers wrote an interesting piece on society’s worship of progress and reading as a subversive act to undermining the cult of progress. Anthony Paul Smith responded with a critique of the non-belief in progress.

For what it is worth, I am sick of hearing anti-progressive rants from the Glenn Becks of the world.  Child labor laws were an evil thing? Seriously? Such dualistic thinking, I believe, speaking as a principled libertarian, should really have no place in theology in the 21st century, but alas, it does. I suspect that the Christian “realism” of the mid-20th century still has his tight grip around American Protestantism’s throat. Thus, we have a war-mongering President who won the Nobel Peace Prize.  Seriously, I think that the Left is wrong when they claim that their victory is inevitable and the Right is wrong when they say that we are all doomed, inevitably.  I take my cues on the meaning of progress from two intellectuals who actually witnessed progress: Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr.  MLK Jr once said, “Nothing is inevitable,” meaning nothing is predetermined or left to fate. Let us not consign progress to some distant future in abstract notions of history, but in the current struggle, as Douglass suggested, that without struggle, there is no progress.

But you don’t have to take my word for it; according to some, I am actually a fundamentalist.