One of the very first lectures I heard at King’s Evangelical Divinity School was to ditch my presuppositions, both biblical and denominational. The goal of course is for us to learn to approach the bible in an objective manner rather than a subjective way. Why? So that we can allow the bible to speak for itself, even if it means that we let go of some of our long-held views. I think that is one of the many reason the New Perspective on Paul has gained much interest, if for nothing else it has challenged us to rethink what the bible meant to its original intended audience.
Take some time and reflect on the following words from Gordon D. Fee.
Mention “salvation by grace alone” and immediately most people think, “the Apostle Paul”; but mention “speaking in tongues” and most people think “Pentecostals” or “charismatics.”
And this, despite the fact that Paul claims to have spoken in tongues more than even the Corinthians themselves. This little exercise merely illustrates how much most of read the New Testament through the filters of our own experience of the church. Moreover, this instinctive way of hearing the word “glossolalia” is probably unfair both to Paul and to those who currently experience this (very biblical) expression of Spirituality.
– Listening to the Spirit in the Text, by Gordon D. Fee, (Eerdmans 2000), p105
Great start! Fee is so right. We need to test our presuppositions and preunderstandings – afresh.
TC, indeed we do.
I am an editor for Christian.com which is a social network dedicated to the christian community. As I look through your web site I feel a collaboration is at hand. I would be inclined to acknowledge your website offering it to our users as I’m sure our Pentecostal audience would benefit from what your site has to offer. I look forward to your thoughts or questions regarding the matter.
Thanks for the offer. I will email you.
This is a great quote. It is so true, esp. with Paul, that we pick and choose our favorite aspects of his doctrine. Often it seems Paul was 3D and we can only function in 2D!
Brian, I totally agree that we pick and choose, love the 3D analogy. I think that is why we have so much trouble with Paul, I totally relate to Peter when he said:
…just as our dear brother Paul has written to you according to the wisdom given to him. He speaks about these things in all his letters in which there are some matters that are hard to understand… 2 Peter 3:15-16 HCSB
Yes they are hard to understand! God did not give me enough wisdom 😦
this is a good quote and one to think about. it’s true that tongues is immediately associated with the wackos in current denominations and not the Bible or Paul himself.
Brian, that is sad but true. Just to be clear my point was not about tounges, but our presuppositions that we all bring when we read and study the bible.
Robert, of course. We all bring different sets of presuppositions to the text that we all have to learn to set aside to some degree or another – sorry if I drew the focus away from your main point.
Brian, I’m obviously in agreement with Fee’s position here 😉
Man I don’t think I’ll ever find something to disagree with Fee about. And if I do I’m obviously wrong! : )
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