Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Modern Fear or At Least Repulsion of Applying Scripture

Jesus and the Apostles, the New Testament authors, treat the Old Testament with authority and as having one meaning.  They do not treat scripture with any degree of interpretative latitude.  They also make certain application, applying the Bible with complete certitude.  God means one thing.  Then He doesn't deny Himself.

The interpretation and application of scripture fits the reality of the world.  There is only one version of what has occurred from the beginning of creation until now, not two.  You don't get to have reality be whatever you want it.  It really is what it is.  Only what it is.

People can have their own reality, their own interpretation, and their own application.  It's all very flexible.  What's certain is that people don't want to be certain.  Uncertainty is the enemy of authority.  "I'm not sure" is a convenient excuse.

From the date of the founding of the Jamestown colony until now, there was a point in at least United States history where philosophy or belief and practice took a turn toward diminished confidence in applying the Bible to life and culture.  I'm not saying that nothing was unsettled in people's minds.  That characterizes a sin-cursed world.  There will be doubt in a sin-cursed world.

Premodern thinking, however, saw truth, goodness, and beauty as certain.  The standard was an unwavering, single-minded, solid, stable vision.  God created a world, breathed a Word for that world, and fashioned a man to live in it.  Man could understand the world through the Word which He inspired for faith and practice.  It could be understood, known, believed, applied, lived, and practiced by faith.

Fear and repulsion of applying scripture always existed, but greatly multiplied with modernism.  The world opposes God's Word.  With application comes scorn and persecution.  The nature of the flesh is to do what it wants to do.

We arrive today at music, dress, entertainment, and recreation, and believers can't or better won't apply the Bible like days past.  They don't have the confidence, which starts with their uneasiness with scripture itself.  Rock music, as an example, could never have been contemplated for worship.  Now the Bible can't be applied there.  If you do, you're now considered adding to scripture or reading into it something it doesn't say.  You can't apply the Bible to music.  You can't give any objective standard for dress.

God is not being honored because scripture is not being applied.  It isn't being lived.  When it isn't applied, it is being disobeyed.  God isn't being loved.

11 comments:

Bill Hardecker said...

Pastor Brandenburg, your thoughts please on single meaning vs. double meanings. For example, Ps. 78:2 "I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:" A strict single-meaning referent view assigns this passage only to Asaph. In Matt. 13:35, Matthew applies Ps. 78:12 to Christ. The strict single meaning view advocate (for ex. Robert L. Thomas) would limit Ps. 78:12 to Asaph since the Psalmist, nor the original hearers could have used the meaning assigned to it by the New Testament. A strict single meaning view would say that the only referent to Ps. 78:12 is Asaph, and the only referent to Matt. 13:35 is Christ, but Ps. 78:12 on it's own cannot apply to both.

Other historical-grammatical proponents are for a single meaning but argue for a doulble-referent (for ex. Roy Zuck). To Zuck, Ps. 78:12 has a "related submeaning" to Christ.

Is Robert L. Thomas too strict? or is he on point? Is Roy Zuck's "submeaning" correct? Would Ps. 78:12 on it's own have one single referent (Asaph) and is given further meaning upon Matthew's application to Christ, or was that meaning "hidden" in the text revealed by the New Testament. Is it proper to think that Ps. 78:12 on it's own has a double reference to both Asaph and The Lord Jesus.

How far would you go "hermeneutically" speaking? I don't know if I have expressed my question properly.

Craig Kuha said...

Hi Kent,
This is heavy haul here. I haul 140,000 pounds back and forth from HaMilton Ont to Porter In.
Sound exciting? I met a driver ,who drives for my company last night, who was reading his Bible .We talked some about the Lord.
I appreciate your post today.I have a question for you. Aren't people just as important to God as the Bible? It seems to me that if God didn't create people ,salvation would be irrelevant.
Application of Gods word is directly related to relationships with people.
Example: suppose your church wants to have a meal after the morning service and then preach the evening service. Everybody says ok. This then becomes the new codeword. Visitors come and say no way. You could use this example with projectors, guitars, testimonials, etc. I realize we can't please everyone, but alot of churches have their pet programs. This then becomes more important then people.
Thanks for listening, needed to say this . Thanks Craig

Anonymous said...

Excellent points. I am from a church that pushes its members to work hard and to work fast. So much of the so-called messages in today's churches are about how to be successful. For example, in Genesis 24:12 it emphases "good speed" and not "success." Our pastor is emphasizing this for the new year. We should be busy and have good speed in our work and not be slow and lazy. So many perversions of the bible have made this verse out to be "success" when that is not what it says. No wonder we have so many health and wealth and prosperity teachings in this day and age when people use these odd versions that actually teach "success"!

Anonymous said...

My pastor is really emphasizing that people actually get into the bible and study it so they know it and can weed out silly, odd errors and false teachings. For example, a lot of fundamentalists refer to the book of "Song of Solomon." What is that all about?! It is the book of "Song of Songs" not the "Song of Solomon". Come on people, let's try to start by at least getting the names of the books correct!

Kent Brandenburg said...

Craig,

God magnifies His Word above His own name (Ps 138:2). If men do not conform to His Word, God's Word will break them. They are not better off not doing what He said. There isn't any division about people and the Word of God. If people want to do something in disobedience to God, that's not OK.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Bill,

This wasn't too much about single meaning. I used the terminology and knew what I was doing, but only to make a large point, not to go off on that hermeneutic trail. I don't want to miss the point. We can know what scripture says because it means only one thing. We can apply it with confidence.

I don't think there should be a debate between the human author and God, dividing them into two meanings. Scripture has human and divine authorship, so two things being true, like that, are within the context of a single meaning.

Craig Kuha said...

Thanks, I needed that! Craig

Kent Brandenburg said...

Anonymous #1,

"Good speed" versus "success." I don't think the KJV translators were thinking about speed like you are describing it with their translation. "Good speed" actually means "success." "Speed" was understood like "prosperity." That is a sub-meaning of the word, it comes from the Latin spede, which means "success." The 1832 Websters says, "To have success; to prosper; to succeed; that is, to advance in one's enterprise." The Hebrew word is qarah, which means, "to allow to meet, allow to happen, ordain" The servant wanted to succeed at what Abraham wanted him to do.

Doing work quickly is not what that word is about.

If he said something like that or preached that, I would wonder what church you come from.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Anonymous #2,

"The song of songs, which is Solomon's." Song of songs o Song of Solomon. That is the title to the book, the very first verse. If someone calls it the Song of Solomon he isn't wrong.

Craig Kuha said...

Thanks, I needed that! Craig

Bill Hardecker said...

Thank you for your reply. I know that it was not on topic. But I do appreciate your reply. Didn't someone say something to the effect that when we make applications to life and base it on the Bible that we are "lying" to people. I don't remember if it was in this blog forum that discussion came up, but amen to your article. Application is where it is at. Someone said, the sermon actually begins when the application(s) is made. Your blog has connected a lot of dots from the Biblical text to practical living. God bless.