Through the past week, several members of my church approached me and wanted me to respond to the message Perry Noble preached at New Spring on Christmas Eve. For most the three concerns they expressed revolved around 1) changing the word commandment to promise, 2) rewriting the commandments as promises, and 3) Noble’s attitude concerning those who see these as commandments. So let me answer these one at a time after a few opening comments.
By his own admission Noble says that he believes that Scripture is “infallible and inerrant, that all Scripture is God breathed” and later he states that Scripture is true. He also believes that “God’s Word is living and active” presumably referring to how God the Holy Spirit illumines specific Scriptures at the right times for them to impact our living. I bring this up, because even if God’s Word is living and active as Noble says, illumination does not change interpretation. The reason that Noble’s view of commandments as promises matters has everything to do with interpreting the Bible.
Each Bible text only has one right INTERPRETATION, inspired by the Holy Spirit and affirmed by those whom the Spirit converts. A text may have several IMPLICATIONS, or statements that must be true if the text is true. For instance when Noble talks about God’s Word being living and active, would be that God wants to use words to communicate with his creatures. Finally illumination really speaks to the concept of APPLICATION. For some of us at certain times, a Bible text can in Noble’s words “slam us to the ground” because it applies so directly to us. The same text, with the same interpretation may not “slam others to the ground” because it does not apply in the same way to their lives. Think of a parenting passage like Ephesians 6:4. It will apply most powerfully to a father who knows he has provoked his children to wrath.
So to our congregation’s concerns, Read the rest of this entry »