The Authority of Scripture: A Personal Pilgrimage

probably everyone who went to an adventist college, even yrs ago, can recall similar experiences…at AUC in the late 70’s/early 80’s i learned that the plagues on egypt, preceding the exodus, weren’t supernatural, after-all…instead they were a cascade of natural events, commencing with an overgrowth of red algae on the nile (who’da thunk it)…of course this is a step up from the historical-critical method outlined here, given that everyone in the original story, assuming it occurred, definitely believed they were witnessing supernatural events…

i think there’s a definite distinction between viewing the bible in terms of what this article calls the historical-biblical approach and any of the critical methods generally adopted by scholars…in terms of adventism, it’s undeniable that our prophet views the bible, and her own writings, in this way…this is quite aside from the fact that NT writers obviously viewed the OT in this way, as well…

can we handle this…can we really feel good about being in the company of so-called inspired writers from the past, while being so isolated from where the majority in the world is now…it’s probably impossible to be an adventist if we can’t…

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I find that this essay almost makes an idol of the biblical text. It portrays it as a book to be studied in a closed system, with suspension of much of what we would bring to the studies of other texts…ancient, or otherwise. It’s an a priori lens brought to the Bible from outside the Bible, that isn’t even logical.

This approach leaves people reading text such as Genesis 1 in a huge quandary when the realization comes that the ancient Hebrews believed that the universe was earth centric, that the sky was some type of dome with the heavenly bodies hung from it, that it was held up by pillars, that it served to separate the waters of chaos above from the waters below, thus protecting humans in the land, that somehow there were three literal twenty four hour days before the sun appeared in the sky dome, that the story has all the characteristics of a temple construction/inauguration narrative, etc.

Without the tools of some form of critical method to understand how an ancient text such as this worked within and communicated to its original audience within its own cultural river, we’re lost in a sea of confusion. This is where the religion/science debate breaks down, because the text isn’t dealt with in its original setting, within its own cultural matrix and assumptions. Thus, it is assumed that God was communicating scientific truth as we understand science about origins, when it is clear that this wasn’t the intention of the author, or the text at all.

The Bible was written for us, but not to us. I believe that this is a distinction that must be made if we are not to distort how it communicates truth. It is why even the handling of apocalyptic in a type of preterist fashion works. It preserves the integrity of the message to its original audience, it shows that God, through inspired writers, was communicating to the audience in ways they understood in their time and culture (otherwise, God was a poor communicator to them), and it still retains principles and its authority in the application of those principles to our lives today.

Finally, I don’t believe that one must reject critical methods because of conclusions drawn by practitioners such as the NT writers misinterpreted the OT in their application of texts messianically. The NT writers engaged in midrash, a Jewish interpretive method that was acceptable and common practice at the time. They experienced Jesus as messiah through the power of the spirit, came to view the OT in a brand new light, and reread the entire story of Israel in the light of Jesus, using midrash in their rereading of the story and the text. Such a conclusion is not necessarily an inevitable outcome of the method.

If one must articulate a hermeneutic through which to view the Bible, it would be through the lens of Jesus of Nazareth, and the gospel of the kingdom of God as seen in his life, death, resurrection, and reign. The NT writers said as much.



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It is written in Rom_8:7 “…The carnal mind…is not subject to the law of God…”

That is saying that rebels against God are in rebellion and not under His jurisdiction.

Thus, before a personal pilgrimage can begin, the carnal mind must yield to God. Once that is begun, God will lead that individual to new heights and victories beyond imagination.

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Can you share any personal new heights and victories in your experience?

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Thank you for asking, but if my pearls are of any value, I should treasure them enough to be mindful of how I share them lest in a generous spirit I turn them to nought.

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You’re welcome. I respect your decision to not cast your pearls before swine…if that is the implication of your comment.

My way of thinking was more along this line:
It is better to know and love people
and to be known and loved by them
before haphazardly sharing some things
and too late discovering an inconvenient truth.
It is like intimacy.
A life long commitment
vs a one night stand.
Pearls that will be treasured
and given a place of honor by the recipients
bring joy to the heart of the giver.


Thank you for the clarification…much appreciated. :slightly_smiling_face:

you are welcome.

A journey of sorrow and frustration.
How is it hat I can see some things so clearly,
while my beloved church has its head buried
deeply in 28 beliefs that blind it to the obvious?

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I’m afraid you gave the wrong answer to the right question.

This being the question:

Being a newbie here, perhaps the fear of my giving the wrong answer is formulated too hastily? The facts not yet introduced into evidence will have their place in the limelight in time.