For years now I’ve been getting more and more fed up with the way weird sects, and Christians who have become nearly as weird, get away with making the Bible mean whatever they like. It is no wonder that less and less Christians (in the West) bother to read the Bible, if it means half the things that people have told me with a straight face that it says, then it is not worth reading.
So, many readers make the Bible out to teach oppression of one sort or another, women subservient to men, children to adults, anyone who enjoys life to the killjoys and their dumb rules… And it is not just the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the raving loony fundamentalists, or the nutty Neo-Athiests, sadly there are loads of people in ordinary churches who love the Bible, yet abuse it terribly.
Then I taught a course at Carey “Understanding and Interpreting the Bible”, which I mentioned in a post on the old blog. Nothing fancy, a beginner’s class, using a slim paperback as its textbook : Duvall, J Scott, and J Daniel Hays Journey into God’s word : your guide to understanding and applying the Bible. Grand Rapids Mich.: Zondervan, 2008. Yet several times during the semester students said things like “Why don’t they teach us this in church?”.
So I’m trying. A series of sermons at Blockhouse Bay that finbished a few weeks ago, and now a seminar at Easter camp. A screencast using the audio from that seminar is below, and below that a link to the audio of some of the question and answer session (sadly my recorder ran out before the end :(
PS: I should note that this project began before I heard about Manfred Brauch’s book, and though I now have a copy I have not yet read it. For more on that book see Karyn’s Using and Abusing Scripture and the post of the same title on Jesus Creed from the end of last year.