Tuesday, May 30, 2017

CWG (Chapter 12)

Chapter 12: Interpreting Scripture as God's Word

Boyd is arguing against the exclusive use of the historical-critical method of interpretation (which considers the 'right' interpretation to be the derived from the original/surface-level meaning of the text). Not only does he point out that this method is relatively new, he considers it an affront to the way the church has read and interpreted Scripture throughout history. In contrast, Greg endorses the theological interpretation of Scripture (the TIS movement).

TIS recognizes the uniqueness of the Bible as the God-breathed book and posits that this should affect the way we read and interpret it (taking our cues from the early church). While the original meaning of a text is worth knowing, we should always interpret a text through the lens of the cross. This will involve finding deeper meanings (beyond the surface-level reading) with texts that seem to conflict with the revelation of Christ. It also involves recognizing that God (as the ultimate author) is free to say something through Scripture which is other-than what the original human authors intended. The primary meaning of Scripture must always be cruciform. Greg's version of TIS also believes in the unity of Scripture (not in the sense that Scripture contains no contradictions or differing perspectives, but in the sense that every passage of Scripture bears witness to the cross of Christ). Jesus completes the narrative of the Old Testament and causes us to read it in a revolutionary way.

The cruciform hermeneutic has allowed Boyd to no longer be embarrassed by troubling Old Testament texts. Instead, seen in the light of Christ, these texts have become inspiring to him as God-breathed, cross-shaped texts. As a practical benefit, the cruciform hermeneutic also equips us to reach a world which is turned off by religious violence. The world doesn't like the idea of a warrior God... and this work aims to show that, in Jesus, such portraits of god have been crucified once and for all.

Like chapter 11, these pages laid some necessary (even if repetitive) groundwork for what will be fleshed-out in volume 2. Greg is going out of his way, here, to be open and up-front about the nature of his hermeneutic. It seems to me he has expressed his position well. Though much of it goes against the grain of how I've been taught to read Scripture, I find myself open (and even agreeable) to reading Scripture with this hermeneutical method. I look forward to chapter 2.

No comments: