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May 25, 2012

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Good article for 'professional' clergy; not so applicable for laity, since applying Step 1 requires a knowledge-base most 'average' Christians don't have.

Laity are not so powerless these days Nate. Any half-decent commentary should give that information.

I agree with Nate, and I would include the second bullet point as well. Most American Protestant Evangelical Fundamentalists do not have a firm grasp of hermeneutics. When they read the pronoun "you" in any book of the Bible, they tend to think the "you" is "us" when in fact the "you" is the original audience (in most cases).

Furthermore, I find that many Christians, when they encounter the phrase "the Word of God" in a book of the Bible, assume it applies to the leather-bound volume in their hands, an item that did not exist (and was centuries away from existing) at the time the phrase was written in that particular epistle or gospel.

A good example is Revelation 22:18-19. "This book" in that context means the Book of Revelation only, not the entire Bible since the entire Bible did not exist at the time of its writing. I am certain John did not know that one day his letter would appear at the end of a volume of letters by different authors.

The Word of God has existed forever. Funny how people can sometimes educate themselves to the point that they become confused. Romans 3:4 is how we should approach understanding scripture (here is where the context objections usually arise). The Law has not passed away or been made obsolete. God continually shows people that they cannot live by the standard, but the standard remains valid. Intercession is the Good News. Romans 7 has a lot to say about the Law. If we use the reasoning method of, " that was meant for them, but not us", then we're all doomed because I don't think our names appear in the Bible (unless you are Mark or Matthew......you get my point). Yes times and customs have changed, but there is nothing new under the sun. If God is hoping we get it right then that would be a misguided understanding of the sovereignty of God. I ain't no educated man, but hopefully God is powerful and faithful enough to give me understanding just as He did Saul. Peace!

Nice post, Melinda!

One of the problems is that many pulpits take a dumbed down, pragmatic preaching, "church growth" approach that uses the text as a pretext for launching into something other than the text. "A mist in the pulpit is a fog in the pew" applies in those cases.

There are many encouraging exceptions though. As just one example, in our church about half the congregation is competent or very competent in the Biblical languages, and the grammar, historical, archaeological and cultural backgrounds are continually taught from the pulpit, and everyone knows that "you" means the original readers and that there is a difference between meaning and applications.

We think that, in general, too much sophistry and distance is placed between the pulpit and the congregation and that the process of hermeneutics should be at least somewhat evident during the sermon time, not brushing over textual and doctrinal difficulties.

iPads with Logos software, Bible background and grammar books are scattered amongst the members during the sermon. We also encourage questions, challenges and thoughts from the congregation during and after the teaching time, as long as the attitude is respectful to all concerned. I pity the visiting pastor or speaker that would come and try to spew the kind of pablum that passes for "preaching" in some pulpits. He'd be gently but firmly instructed and his tail tucked nicely for him.

What would be an example of "pablum that passes for preaching"? Just curious.

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