The slavery disaster that arose in the churches in the 1830s has a thought-provoking posture on the human error of reading Scripture. Southern supporters of slavery fortified the idea that slave-holding was biblically necessary and numerous in the North saw it as completely unjustified and conflicting with the Bible. Yet others in the North saw the Bible as backing up slavery, and declined to treat it as literally true on those matters.
Yet, they all respected and read the same book. Seemingly the implicit norms about how we know and what we truthfully know are formed by previous, undisputed insights. Inappropriately, the significance is that we innocently at times cloud cultural and lucid truths with Scripture.
When a novel set of expectations appear that depict the wayward Biblical interpretations of our molds, the rational inference may be that the Bible is incorrect, not us (this is surely the circumstance in the nineteenth century science-versus-the-Bible disagreements). What is required in each generation are robust Bible interpreters!
Might it be we transmit cultural blinders as we come to the Scriptures?
Where would you say we are sightless and culturally conceding today?
We absolutely carry cultural blinders as we come to the Scriptures. We do not live in a Biblical culture today. So for most people, for perhaps most of our lives, we’ve heard, observed and learned things from culture that are not necessarily in agreement with the Scriptures. I think in most contexts, culture is louder and more dominant than the Scriptures. Seminary students and ministry workers may be the exception. Even then, I’m willing to assume most of us didn’t grow up in a seminary or ministry setting. Culture penetrated our lives through school, sports, extracurricular activities, books, television, media, teachers, friends, etc. Perhaps at a certain point, we have been able to focus on other things because we are busy studying, reading, and surrounding ourselves with the Scriptures, and people and media that agree with the Scriptures. But most of the population today does not live in a world like that, or in that kind of bubble. So it’s very natural to take what they/we have learned and know and apply it to the Scriptures. As a result, we already have a presupposition for what the Scripture is going to tell us or how it’s going to apply.
There are a few examples that come to mind where we are blind and culturally concessive today. For starters, in today’s culture, it seems more acceptable to fight for animal rights than for human rights. Animals might even have more rights than humans! Where is that in the Scriptures? That’s not what I see. Furthermore, why are animal rights more accepted and propagated than the rights of the unborn? Why is abortion even an argument? This also tells me culture believes choice is more valuable than life. Where is that in the Bible? If the majority of the country still claims to identify as Christians, why are these even arguments unless a significant amount of people are blind and culturally concessive?
Other examples are sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, and even evangelism. A recent Barna study reads, “Almost half of Millennials (47%) agree at least somewhat that it is wrong to share one’s personal beliefs with someone of a different faith in hopes that they will one day share the same faith.” I’m not sure how the study was done and how many of those polled were professed Christians, but that is obviously contrary to the Scriptures. There’s no explanation for how this could be unless we (I’m a Millennial) are blind and culturally consessive to the “truth” and claim that “there is no absolute truth”.
What do you think? Leave me a reply below.