Theology for the Masses

November 16, 2006

An Honest Question

Filed under: Doctrine,Hypotheticals — Henry Imler @ 12:11 am

Augustine, in The Confessions talks about ways to interpret Genesis. He seems to be ok with about any interpretation in which the interpretor is honestly trying to seek the truth and understand the meaning of the text. When you look at this through his neo-platonic worldview, you see that his major concern was that the individual turned towards God. Since God was rational, and humans, as images of God were also rational, if a person turned inwards and sought God through reason, that person would begin on the path towards God. Look back at his stance on Genesis, a person honestly trying to seek the meaning of Genesis is much more likely to find God there than a person who dogmatically asserts that there is one and only one real meaning of Genesis and all others are to be completely rejected. The one who approaches openly and honestly with only regard to finding God can ask any question they want, providing that it is asked with the intention of finding God.

With this in mind, I ask you all how you deal with the discrepancies in the Gospels. This is in regard to arguments of authority and inerrancy. What exactly do these words mean to you, and how far does their meaning imply? Do they pose problems for you? That is to say, do the conclusions that you make from them pit you into any uncomfortable corners?

For instance, if I hold that the Bible as we have it is 100% factually and historically true, then was Peter’s mother in law healed before or after he was called to be a disciple? Is it the case that she was healed twice? Do I have to resort to her being healed twice, once right before Peter was called and then once right after Pater was called, in order to maintain that everything in the Gospels is factually and historically true? If that is the case, why did Jesus not do it right the first time?

My point is that I am not making any point. What I am seeking here is not apologetics, but how other Christians deal with these issues. My fear for the Church is that in not addressing these claims openly and tenderly with those that bring them up, we loose sight of Jesus, his mission, and his charge to us, by our rejection of those questioning. I am not trying to engage in finger-pointing, nor trying to invalidate any system of belief. This is more a call to ask people about what is hard to deal with their faith and how they do in fact deal with it. The purpose of which is to build community with other believers and to actually strengthen the bonds of belief.

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