Disagreeing less than I anticipated

Disagreeing less than I anticipated June 24, 2005

There seems to be an outbreak of grace hitting the blogosphere. An example of this that struck me earlier this month came from David Warnock. More recently, I have opened two cans of worms in two days and in neither case has the row that I feared developped. On gender and bible translations I decided not to comment myself in a rare moment of wisdom overcoming valour, and as requested there has been a gracious discussion in my comment box.

Earlier today, I criticised the pyromaniac’s interpretation of a particular bible verse and wrongly assumed that his view of the atonement must have been heading towards hypercalvinism. It turns out that despite our differences over 2 John 2:2 ( it turns out he feels I am guilty of exegetical gymnasitics myself!), his view of the extent of the atonement really is very similar to my own. Phil cites a book available online which supports the need to freely offer the gospel to all, which I really must read someday.

My little interaction with Phil highlights that actually not only is it rare for doctrinal error to spring from a wrong translation of a bible verse, provided we try to allow the entire bible to speak to us, it is unlikely that differences over the interpretation of an individual verse will dramatically effect ones doctrinal beliefs either.

The bible is written in such a way that it confounds our attempts to fully explain it in logical terms and yet it draws us ever closer to similar views if we will allow it to speak to us. I must never allow myself to substitute a system for the bible, and I must always be willing to learn about the bible from those who hold to different systems to me. We must honestly handle every verse in the bible and allow ourselves to constantly be held to account if we are guilty of trying to explain away any part of Gods revealed word. Because it brings together people who may never speak in the real world the Blogosphere may have a part to play in this process.

I still believe that Gods words in Ephesians 4 will come to pass. There are clearly two aspects to these words- the diversity of the Ephesians 4 ministries and the potential for diversity of doctrine. This notion of growing closer to Christ and thereby closer to each other is vital to any truly Christian notion of church unity.

Ephesians 4: 11-16 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

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