Monday, June 22, 2009

Hermeneutical Hypocrisy

I am guilty of it; the selective ear that opens up all conduits for hearing the promises of God, the heart that savagely fights to defend the clear comforts of the Word, the mind that denies all reason to continue magnifying God in seasons of darkness. The selective ear that stems from a selective faith, the faith that avoids examining the side of God's wrath, the talk of Hell, the clear judgments of God throughout the whole counsel of scripture, the warnings, the threats and the decrees that knock all of our chateaus of peace and safety to the ground.

In a bout of temptation when the flesh and the foe entangle me with despair, I desperately quote psalm 121: "He will not let your foot slip, He who watches over you will not slumber!" And if the enemy calls into question the applicability of this promise, I defiantly boast," This is the eternal Word of God! Away with your historical-critical method! God didn't give us a stone age Sword that has become dull with time." I rush to defend the most antiquated of scriptures, the most hidden and forgotten portions of the text if they offer some shred of support or comfort. But if the text should say,"On the wicked he will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot" I am all to ready to start carbon dating the psalm and placing it amongst an assorted pile of things not-eternal and no longer applicable. Historical-critical method can really be just an intellectually swank way of avoiding the dire reality of God's anger. "Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel! (Isaiah 30:10-11)"

Why is it also that the blessed comforts of scriptures can be read and understood without commentary but the threats and warnings become "difficult passages", obscure, unclear, in need of a volume or two of patchwork and cover-up? Are we trying to push God out of the Bible? Jesus offers an apt diagnosis of the problem: "Why is my language unclear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your fathers desire. (John 8:43-44)"

Who will avoid this piercing word? I suspect that those who feel comfortable, out of the way of this statement have merely bought into the lie of self-righteousness. Hermeneutical hypocrisy, as in all forms of wickedness, comes from us because we belong to our father, the devil. It is hear that we must step up to the gospel once more and believe on Christ. He alone can heal us.