Friday, June 19, 2009

Interpretation rather than instinctive insight

Oliver O' Donovan is a very influential British and Anglican theologian, especially with respect to Christian ethics. He has recently written a book on 'the controversy', A Conversation Waiting to Begin. A must read, I suggest, for all readers of this blog, but I have yet to obtain my own copy.

More than a Via Media reflects on the book. I share a couple of paragraphs but, as usual, take time to read the whole post.

"Reading the book as a supporter of 1.10, however, I found myself challenged. The challenges were 3-fold.

Firstly, O'Donovan reminds us that any view on the part of those of us who are traditionalists/conservatives/anti-revisionists that we instinctively ‘know’ that Scripture condemns same-sex activity – what O'Donovan terms “a confidence in the immediacy of moral judgments” - actually undermines the practice of the Church faithfully attending to Scripture as the Word of God. As O'Donovan puts it:

“The immediacy of the insight tends to make the interpretation of Scripture seem superfluous”.

To authentically wrestle with Scripture and be challenged by Scripture, requires us not to become merely a right-wing image of the revisionist case. In other words, we should not approach Scripture with questions already containing the answer."


"Finally, O'Donovan refers to the “interesting, if teasing analogy” of “the rather careful hermeneutic of scriptural teaching on divorce and remarriage”. A Conversation Waiting to Begin closes with a reference to the diversity of teaching and practice on this issue:

“That disagreement has not gone away; but if today it bulks less threateningly than it once did, that is because we are so much more clear about the extent of the agreed ground all around it – God's intentions for marriage, the pastoral desiderata in dealing with broken marriage and the like. It no longer evokes threatening resonances. It is a problem reduced to its true shape and size”."

No comments:

Post a Comment