Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem - This post is part of my year-long journey through Dr. Wayne Grudem's world-renowned Systematic Theology. I welcome and hope for your interaction.
Interpretation of Scripture (Part 1 of 7)
I wasn't in Dr. Grudem's class back in 2005. But, for some reason he jumped out of his text and spent seven weeks instructing his class on how to properly interpret Scripture.
Dr. Grudem spent four years going through his Systematic Theology in his Scottsdale Bible Church Sunday school class.
I hope to accomplish this task in this calendar year. Therefore, rather than ignore his seven week out of text teaching on this subject, I am going to pick up my pace over the next few days on these seven lectures.
When it comes to matters of faith, our post-modern culture seems to be completely satisfied with a relativistic philosophy. This viewpoint would contend that there is no absolute truth. Truth, this viewpoint contends, is relative and subjective to each individual.
This is how a post-modern culture can contend that a Buddhist and a Christian, both holding completely different worldviews, can both be right. Our society tends to believe that truth is whatever you believe it to be, and at the same time, truth is whatever I believe it to be.
Although this seems preposterous, I have often seen this relativism brought into the church as a group of people are seeking to understand a particular passage of scripture.
Sitting around a table you might hear, "this is what this passage means to me", and then someone else will chime in, "nice, and this is what it means to me". These two views might be completely contradictory, but the group will generally go away giving no heed to where the actual truth might lie, but were pleased to hear the contradictory truths all in the spirit of sharing.
Now, don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the healthy sharing of thoughts and ideas. The danger lies in allowing a sneaky relativism into our belief system.
The Buddhist and the Christian cannot both be right. One of them is wrong. Let's be honest and have a healthy disagreement instead of the nonsense that both can be right.
The writers of the Westminster Confession of Faith dealt with this very issue back in the 17th century. They wrote:
"The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly."
In other words, there is only one meaning for each text.
Therefore, we should amend our understanding, and our subsequent speech to, "I wonder if this is what God is saying to us", rather than reporting our individual, many times spur of the moment beliefs.
What are your thoughts on this subject?
Here's the audio and notes from Dr. Wayne Grudem's class:
Note: hover your mouse over the above audio player to find the start button.