my guiding theologies: scripture

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Friday, December 5th, 2008

my guiding theologies: scripture

alright, here’s part 2 (or 3 if you count the intro…) of my blog series, my guiding theologies. enjoy. (and feel free to comment)

statement: scripture: the bible is the foremost guidebook from which flows my understanding of the  way i engage others, relate to my wife, raise my children, lead others, interact with christ and inform every other aspect of my life.

what: as stated, i view the bible as a guidebook, as opposed to a rule book or law book. the bible serves primarily as god’s written mode of pointing toward truth and the way of christ. the bible lives and breaths and therefore, deserves to be approached as a guide to all aspects of life, rather than a stale and dead book of “do’s” and “don’ts.” when we engage in scripture with an ear toward the holy spirit, we discover what it means to live in the way of christ as created beings in the image of god.
further, another important distinction is the lens in which we read scripture. my hermeneutical key is jesus. in other words, jesus is the lens through which i view the entire metanarrative that weaves throughout both the old and new testament. naturally, when i read the gospels, it’s filtered through the life and message of christ. further, though, when i read the story of creation or the mystery of revelation or the poetry of the song of songs or the love story of hosea, i read it through the lens of jesus. without a jesus perspective, scripture is disjointed and lacks proper meaning.
one final point of importance about scripture being a guiding theology is the tension that is held between scripture, tradition, reason and experience. one of the contributions of my time spent in a master’s program in the wesleyan tradition is the discovery of what’s commonly referred to as the wesleyan quadrilateral. it’s the concept of the four aforementioned guides to theological discernment being held in a constant tension. now, hear me loud and clear (for all those who like to pick apart my words): scripture is my foremost guide, but in matters of theological reflection, these four things need to be in a constant tension that equally informs each other. so, in reading and interpreting scripture, we must take into account 2,000 years of church history (although, admittedly, i do struggle with this one…probably more of a semantic problem for me, though), a sense of rational thought and our own sense of communal and personal experience with christ and others. the three other parts of the quadrilateral don’t trump scripture, but rather, they work in accord to help us to interpret and “make sense” of scripture.
why: scripture as paramount in my life is a guiding theology because it is the most complete and “physical” mode of “seeing” god. while we are led and informed by the holy spirit, scripture provides a tangible guide to a living in the light of a mysterious god. when we divorce ourselves and our lives from scripture, we divorce ourselves from god himself.