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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0 thoughts on “The Quest For A Kataphatic Theology of Scripture

  1. Matt Emerson

    I like this, although in my view a Christocentric view of inspiration entails an acknowledgement of innerancy. In other words, I don’t get your seeming bifurcation between the two. Still, though, I do appreciate the Christological emphasis.

    1. RodtRDH Post author

      I prefer fully trustworthy, since that’s how Scripture should function, something worthy of our trust. It’s not inerrancy I have a problem with, it’s many inerrantists and their politics, that inerrancy means they are inerrant in their interpretation. But I see how your view can counter that, with its focus on communal readings. 🙂

      1. Matt Emerson

        That’s true, although I doubt those who hold to inerrancy are the only ones guilty of arguing for their own inerrant interpretation. I can think of quite a few liberals, post-liberals, moderates, and everything in between that think their own historical reconstruction or semiotics or linguistic philosophical analysis or whatever gives them THE right interpretation.


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