Slippery Slope

It’s my nature to be inquisitive. Yes, I’m keenly aware that, as Malcolm Gladwell warns, “In the act of tearing something apart, you lose its meaning.” But I’m not so much interested in de-constructing life as in gaining a clearer perspective on it.

Think of perspective as Point Of View (POV). When we watch a movie we see what the director wants us to. The “reality” is bordered by the screen. But when we see a documentary on the making of the movie, our POV moves back to a broader frame of reference. We see the story in a larger context.

So it is with spiritual stories. The Bible can now be studied from a twentieth-first century POV, which can help us better understand its historical narratives and theological concepts.

Such re-vision is fraught with danger and I’ve often been warned about the slippery slope of questioning Scripture. But slopes don’t only run downward; they’re also the routes to higher vistas and more breathtaking panoramas.

Slippery Slope (Photo: Harriet Lee)
Slippery Slope (Photo: Harriet Lee)

To a cautious climber, the reward is not worth the risk. To a compulsive climber, the challenge is irresistible.


3 thoughts on “Slippery Slope

  1. “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” (Col. 2:8)
    Beginning with DesCartes around 1650 and coming forward to our time, Modern (and Postmodern) man has found himself “enlightened” to the point of being able to pass judgment on all other ages. What will ages yet to come make of us? In what ways will we seem backwater and provincial in our thinking? Is there anything that one might cling to as an unchanging rock of reliability in the shifting and changing stream of wisdom from one age to the next?
    Well,… there’s… the Bible… 🙂

    1. The Bible has led to more than 38,000 “Christian” denominations. Interpretations vary widely, which is where knowledge about non-bi8blical subjects comes in handy, e.g. languages, history, archeology, etc.

      1. I don’t think I follow your logic. Perhaps it’s a bit too enthymemic for me. I can’t tell whether I’m missing a key premise or the conclusion itself. Can you fill in the gaps for me?
        Does it go like this?:
        Premise 1 — The Bible has led to 38,000 different denominations.
        Premise 2 — The Bible is interpreted in many different ways.
        Premise 3 — [implied enthymemic premise: No literature which leads to many denominations and has many interpretations can be trusted in all its parts to communicate God’s truth.]
        Conclusion: Therefore, the Bible, in all its parts cannot be trusted to be giving us God’s truth.

        I’m not one who thinks that Logic is king (like our brothers ad sisters in the Reformed tradition seem to believe). But I do think it is important at times to bring it in. And this seems like a good occasion. 😉
        For one thing, I think I’m a little thrown by your use of the term “led.”
        I’m not sure how knowledge about non-biblical subjects works into the over argument. Nor is it clear to me, to look back at what you said in the post proper, how “a twentieth-first century POV… can help us better understand [the Bible’s] historical narratives and theological concepts.” What’s so special about our particular vantage point here and now. Obviously, we now know more about the flow of electrons and other such things, but has our knowledge of God and His ways increased with the advent of the microscope, telescope, internal combustion engine, or computer?
        Are you familiar with C.S. Lewis’ term “chronological snobbery”?

        More provocative stuff, Mike! Thanks again for the stimuli! 🙂

        This post has prompted me to dig out an old paper and put it on my “Papers” page. I’m sure you’re a busy man. But I would love it, if you found the time to give it a look-see. I wonder what you would think of my view of the Bible.
        Here’s a link to the relevant page:
        It’s the third one down; it’s called “Textworld Inerrancy.”

        Shalom, my brother!

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