Why a Re-examination?
Author: Michael, Whitney
Date: Nov 20,2007
Is this Post-Modern?
Is this Emerging Doctrine?
Is this New Perspective of Paul?
Romans was the first book re-examined and then presented on this website. The writings for reexamination of scripture in this collection were written, at least in the initial efforts, without an investigation or study of writings on Romans, emergent doctrine or the New Perspective of Paul.
The need for re-examination did not form out of any movement or fad. Maybe such re-examination occurs out of a natural or common tendency of the day but the study at this site was with no intent to adhere to a trend. A need developed from the simple problem of discrepancies that appeared between the practices and culture of Christians and the content of the Bible. Something had to yield, but certainly it was not the Bible that would yield. Further description of the tensions are mentioned in a short moment.
Writings about Romans were started here simply as a result of the discovery of the issue Paul was addressing in his writing. Such discovery then led to some research to find that many people had various other interpretations of Paul's purpose for sending a letter to Rome. Despite the controversies or because of the controversies, it seemed important and useful to document the purpose or intent of Paul as derived only from scripture. But this wasn't to denigrate those who have learned from research of Romans commentaries. Yet the testimony here is that the intent of Paul was revealed by scriptural evidence alone, since the author of this website didn't read the various Roman commentaries so as to be influenced by those commentaries.
The Eschatology articles stem from a search to find the perspective on Eschatology as presented by scriptures. The effort largely began in the parables of Matthew 13 since such parables had many end times type words and phrases. From there many impressions on the judgments were developed. The main point learned about judgment was that it was a middle of time event according to the parables, instead of the original unstudied thought that these judgments were were the finality of everything. Next, there were many ideas forming about the nature of the kingdom of God. From these subjects then the area of analysis started to expand into other areas of Eschatology including the study of “the comings” as presented first by the New Testament and then also within the Old Testament.
From the beginning of my Christian walk in college, I was taught and I concurred with the idea of scripture as being authoritative. The church group sought to a be a New Testament full gospel church but even from that perspective scripture never quite seemed to match with what the church group did. That started a long term quest to understand what scripture reveals.
With the many years of study and teaching, the desire always was to teach what scripture says and not just what the Christian culture imparts. Indeed it has be worthwhile to be free from an oath to any creeds, yet this is only the opportunity to study the Bible without breaking the duties taken on among men. The desire has been to search scripture for what scripture reveals. Yet I think that no violation has been made of the most basic of creeds. Nor is there any effort or goal to break away from the center of Christian doctrine.
So doctrines concerning church meetings or music or heaven and hell are subject to the scrutiny of Biblical investigation. The traditional view of Romans also must yield to the context of Romans.
In other writings, even of theologians with decent viewpoints, there have been those moments where the accumulated Bible verses came to focus in my mind on the topic presented to which I have made corrections. But this is past events and the analyses may be lost or buried. But this was sort of a beginning of the need to re-examine the Bible.
And another issue that has arisen is that of subjective doctrines. Going to the topic of music, there is a typical liturgy that consists of a half hour of music followed by a half hour message. Such liturgy is not doctrinal. Yet a music minister position is established purely subjectively since the New Testament speaks of no such position. After designating the need for a music minister, then subjective qualifications –spiritual, musical, vivacious – are developed. Each step is further from scripture and more subjective.
The approach here is to rely on the general theological framework which has been the basis for many a Christian's walk. Indeed no one truly is capable to search all their foundations of theology. And without any evidence of a problem there would be no reason to do such work.
From this foundation, interest has developed on certain issues to investigate. Sometimes the study of the Bible has led to new ideas. Actually the ideas would possibly be the original ideas but are just new to people today. Other ideas have brewed from contradictions between scripture and the church practices. Often there have been problems that occurred which reveal that the typical views of Christians likely were flawed. This last point follows the idea of “learning what pleases God” in the sense that when believers follow non-godly wisdom they will likely stumble in that path.
The book of Romans became of strong interest when trying to figure out the context of Romans 10:8-10. The search for the context led to a backwards motion through the book until the secret was revealed by the tension caused by Romans 2:1. The discovery described elsewhere led to an intense study of the context of Romans as unraveled from the enigmatic writing of Paul.
The focus then of the studies has been to search either a topic or a book with great detail and analysis of the context along with the connection to other Bible passages. From such studies the logical meaning is being ascertained. An acute sensitivity to words and phrases has developed almost to the point of absurdity. Yet this may be by God's design, a design not to be emulated by all believers but something only undertaken by a few, just as it is a rare person that would write a concordance for the whole Bible. From such study, many people can benefit from a clearer framework.
The re-examination utilizes somewhat of a forensical, anthropological, psychological reconstruction of the content and purpose and culture of the original audience and the book of the Bible.
The review of letters may include certain probing questions:
a) If Paul is rebuking some people, what was the error among those people?
b) What background knowledge did the audience have about the Jewish basis behind the movement called “The Way”?
c) How is such awareness of the Jewish culture revealed by the letter written to the church?
The current efforts have focused mainly on documenting the contextual framework of some of these books of the Bible. Not much effort was made to obtain inspirational morsels to share with people. Except that many wonderful views of the Christian blessings have been seen in the path, but the blessings may not always stand out through the excruciating details of the writings herein. Most effort and focus has gone toward developing a strong and detailed argument for the ideas presented in order that the proof may be evident or that the flaws of any arguments might stand out.
With all this said, may Christ richly bless you in your life and your study.
Common Law Copyright 2007 by Michael, Whitney.