Two Important Notes

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I realized that the post below about how NOT to read scripture implied that I would deliberately misuse scripture, and that is not quite the truth. I elided the essential elements to get on with the post, but let me fill in the background. When I first discovered the quote from Romans I was delighted to find yet another scriptural source that resoundingly defended the point of view I held (or so it seemed.) But I thought about it for a while, and knew that Romans is one of those books that everyone in the world comments on--it is a basic doctrinal source for all sorts of things. Perhaps I should consider what other leading exegetes have to say about this. Consulting a number of them, including Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, and William Barclay, I discovered that my interepretation was never really central to understanding the intent of the entire chapter.

It would be intellectually dishonest to hide this (one of the advantages of not bothering to check) and it would not be the best use of scripture. While I do believe that it [forbidding judgment] is a valid and challenging interpretation of the passage for modern times, I also must admit that almost no one heretofore has thought so. So, perhaps this is just a gift of the Holy Spirit to me. By that I mean that perhaps this understanding underlines a certain sense of mission or direction that is tailored for my path alone. God will do those kinds of things. Perhaps I am to call more attention to this element so that we may begin to focus study on the issue of what really constitutes righteous judgment--a point that I do not know has been carefully considered in times past.

However, if I gave the misapprehension that I would ever deliberately consider warping scripture to suit my purposes, that was not the intent. As a former Baptist and a devout Catholic, such a thought is absolute Anathema. The Scriptures are sacred--both as the Word of God and His presence. To so use scripture would be to damn myself and to harm those who would come afterward, and it cannot be countenanced under any circumstances. And for this very reason I felt the need to be truthful and to say that it was a momentary temptation to be intellectually dishonest and to pervert scripture to my own end. I am grateful to God for preserving me from this path.

Item 2--On a much more serious note--I cannot fail to have noticed that many of you have not considered with all due gravity the Sanskrit puns in John Gay. Shame on you! Certainly this must be one of the burning issues of the day. How could you think to hide yourselves away in ignorance of these tremendously important facts? Now, hie thee to the article and study the Sanskrit etymology of Sukie Tawdry.

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Greetings Steven!

I've been reading with great interest your grappling with the Romans passage. A couple of posts down you said something I consider pure gold:

To use scripture as a weapon, a bludgeon, or even as support for a good argument in defiance of the revelation of the Holy Spirit is a work of the devil. We must be honest and careful about how we use Scripture. It isn't ever licit to use it as a trump card or as "the winning hand" in an argument. On the other hand, it is perfectly appropriate to present scriptural support for an argument.

I wholeheartedly agree with this statement, and in the context of other things you have said (such as holding that your own private interpretation may be for you alone, and deferring to the Church on the more universal and timeless meaning), I think you hit the nail on the head.

Even when we chose to present Scripture as a supporting argument to our own point of view, which we can legitimately do, I think we should have the humility to admit that the passage we're using can have alternate interpretations (as you demonstrate with the way you acknowledge that Aquinas and Luther have viewed the romans passage differently than you).

Quoting Scripture does not end the discussion. Rather, it helps illuminate how any one person's view fits into a Christian world-view, and becomes a springboard for two disagreeing Christians to find some sort of common ground and common language. It's not the end of an argument, but the beginning of a dialogue.

And I also tend to agree with your views on the meaning of judgmentalism, so don't feel alone.




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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on July 28, 2004 1:14 PM.

More on Judging Others was the previous entry in this blog.

Prayer Requests--29 July 2004-- Memorial of St. Martha is the next entry in this blog.

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