Newsletter – June 2009

27 May

     Just yesterday President Obama named Sonia Sotomayor as his nominee to the Supreme Court. Because of this, talk for the past week or more all over our country has focused on the different ways people have interpret the Constitution. Though it may not seem like a conversation that affects Christians, the way one interprets the Constitution sheds much light on the way one interprets the Bible.

Ten Commandments on Supreme Court Doors

    Many have cloaked an agenda behind calling for a more compassionate reading of an ancient document like the Bible or a historic document, like the Constitution. A compassionate reading of either document has at least two effects.

  • First such a reading discredits the original writers by denying that we can know what the original writers thought as they wrote. This point is ridiculous since the writers wrote in order that people would know what they thought. Even so this point is crucial because it allows the reader to determine what the author meant.
  • So secondly a compassionate reading allows all readers to presume what the author means. This however is disastrous as each person can come up with a different interpretation of the document conforming to their agenda. A war ensues over the “right” interpretation” if such a thing exists with this mindset.



Ten Commandments in Supreme Court Chamber

     What is called a strict constructionist approach for the Constitution is called a literary-historical approach to the Bible. It rejects both of the points of a compassionate reading favoring instead what the author meant. Thus the reader is driven by the author’s agenda, and the parts of his own agenda that do not comply are subjected to the author’s intent. In truth this is the only way to really read an authoritative text, since such a text is meant to be a guide and an objective standard to practice. So the question that must be answered before taking either approach asks whether you consider the text in question to be authoritative.

     I see both texts as authoritative and think both should be strictly interpreted. There is one important difference between the two. The Bible has no amendment process. Where it speaks I must listen. Where it is silent, I need to be careful not to speak for it. Where I have questions, I must endeavor to apply principles drawn from its rich reserve. The Bible is God’s Word to man and as such when I read; I seek to hear His Voice.

 Letting the Shepherd Lead,

Pastor Steven


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3 responses to “Newsletter – June 2009

  1. Chris Honeycutt

    May 27, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    To piggyback on your thoughts, what’s even more disturbing is how some view both the Bible and the Constitution as “living breathing documents” in the wrong sense… as in they’re not static and are up for changing, much less how they’re interpreted.

    An example would be the 2nd amendment right to “bear arms”. The classic interpretation would say this gives us the right to own guns for our self defense, etc. Someone else might say that didn’t mean for us to store up armaments. Or, they would claim it was “just for that historical period” and should no longer apply in today’s “safe modern world” taking it out completely.

    Same with the Bible, in the sense that what it says about homosexuality, adultery, alcohol/drugs, or other sinful ways of life has no bearing on today and are “changed” by simply being ignored in the sense that “well, Jesus never spoke out directly against it” and so the degenerate downward spiral begins. Even some newer “translations” of the Bible reword things to mean something else, or God forbid, remove “His”, “He”, “Father”, for the sake of political correctness.

    But the good news in all of this is that at some point, a lot of people wake up and realize that at some level there have to be semblances of truth, and there should be pillars in place to build foundations upon… whether that is articles of our faith or the articles of this nation. Jesus’ reference in Matthew 7 of the fool building houses on sand is certainly applicable here.

    However, it’s up to us to fight against the tide of relativism (a tactic used by satan since the dawn of man), because the media, the schools, and quite a bit of parents are knowingly (or unknowingly) setting us up for collective failure.

    • pastorsro

      May 27, 2009 at 3:58 pm

      I think the appeal of a “living breathing doccument” tempts many people who have no political agenda to speak of, but desire a Source of Truth to apply to their everyday life. In doing so they forfeight the very thing that allows their doccument to be a Source of Truth. A much better model comes to us from Hebrews 4:12. God’s Word is as tough and piercing as a blade of steel against flesh. When the ideological and attitudinal cancers attack mankind only God’s firm and fortified Word can cut them out. People may want a doccumnet that appeals to their everday struggles, but such a doccument only exists when it is forged from unchanging, objective truths. From such a doccument one can hone his understanding to slice through the less important parts of life and focus on the most important things. I learned in my hermenuetics training that there is one interpretation for any text, but many applications. People need to hear this as an answer for their desire. A blade has many applications both for peacetime and war but is still a blade; so too does God’s Word have many applications with one central truth. To God be all glory, great things He always does!

  2. Chris Honeycutt

    May 28, 2009 at 12:59 am

    I agree re: interpretation/applicaton. Good stuff!


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