Hermeneutics and Theological Cockelburs

Cockelbur. Not fun, especially once dry and stuck in your clothes!!

Not long ago, an old friend from seminary visited.  Unlike most friends in ministry who jettisoned us after we began this Messianic journey, they have remained close, though we rarely have a Scriptural discussion of real substance.  This visit was different as we enjoyed a spirited discussion that they closed with the simple statement, “Well, you’ve given me a lot to think about.”

During that discussion, we talked briefly about the Sabbath and upon reflection, I noticed something fascinating that will prove beneficial in future conversations.

When we attended seminary at Columbia International University (class of ’02), one of the annual requirements was signing and submitting to the policies of the Standards Handbook.  Because the Christian college and seminary are Biblically very conservative, one of the standards we were required to agree to was Continue reading “Hermeneutics and Theological Cockelburs”

Hermeneutics: How to Break the Law

I was pondering a little Christian theological conundrum this morning.

Oxygen Volume 11Every seminary student is taught sometime early in his Masters program how to interpret Scripture according to the rules of hermeneutics.

[As an aside, my son is over my shoulder asking about the origin of the word ‘hermeneutics.’  Well, I explain it comes from the Greek ‘messenger god’ Hermes to which he reminds me that Hermes was also the god of deception, thieves, the conductor of souls to the underworld, trickster, etc…  Hmmmm.  Seminarians ought to get a clue here, but, I digress.]

Continuing, hermeneutic rules have to do with how to interpret the text.  While the list of rules can vary depending on the teacher/text and denominational/religious division, almost always, on every list, near the top is a rule that says obscure or unclear passages must be interpreted by or through the lens of clear passages.  Further, all Scripture leads to harmony and therefore, a clear passage or two that contradicts an obscure or unclear interpretation should immediately override the misunderstood unclear passage.

So, I was pondering this hermeneutic rule, or shall we say, law and the multiple Christian doctrines that violate the law in order to Continue reading “Hermeneutics: How to Break the Law”