a problem: interpretation

keep_your_mouth_shut.jpgMy contention is not unlike Stanley Hauerwas’s: that Biblical interpretation should be kept out of certain hands. It is vastly too important for the layman to cope with, and the resulting errors of the agenda-driven are visible in the myriad “denominations” and rapidly multiplying heresies we see all around us. Hauerwas has famously said “No task is more important than for the Church to take the Bible out of the hands of individual Christians in North America…. I certainly believe that God uses the Scripture to help keep the Church faithful, but I do not believe, in the Church’s current circumstance, that each person in the Church thereby is given the right to interpret the Scripture. Such a presumption derives from the corrupt egalitarian politics of democratic regimes, not from the politics of the Church. The latter, as I will try to show, knows that the ‘right’ reading of Scripture depends on having spiritual masters who can help the whole Church stand under the authority of God’s Word.” Stanley Hauerwas, Unleashing the Scripture: Freeing the Bible from Captivity to America (Nashville, Abingdon, 1993)

So, what do we do with the plethora of faulty hermeneutics?

I have several thoughts that are entirely unworkable and would ultimately cause riots. I’m open to suggestions…

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9 Responses to “a problem: interpretation”

  1. FrGregACCA Says:

    Back sometime between 1970 and 1975 (you know the story, Father, I’m sure), a group of Evangelical-cum-charismatic former Campus Crusade for Christ staffers, possibly subverted by a couple of Campbellites among them, started looking for the true Church. Their primary guidebook, alongside tomes of Church history, was, of course, the Bible. By 1987, these same men had led some 2,000 people, scattered in small communities across the country, into the Antiochian Orthodox Church. These men, for the most part, are still around, now priests in said AOC, and you can hear many of them on Ancient Faith radio. One of them, Fr. Peter Gillquist, is fond of saying, “We found all of Orthodoxy in the Bible, but much of it in passages we had not underlined when we were Evangelicals.”

    I can totally relate to that. My point is that, regardless of whether we are Byzantine Orthodox, Orthodox Anglican, Roman Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, Old Catholic, or what-have-you, we must not cease to proclaim this hermeneutic of Tradition and to show that it, and it alone, is adequate to provide an accurate understanding of Scripture.

  2. dpc+ Says:

    Weeeeeell, Fr. Greg, It just so happens that the first of my totally unworkable and riot-producing suggestions was to remove from the pastorate anyone not conversant with and with no desire to preach from the perspective of The Tradition (the paradosis) of the Church. Great minds… [That’s about us thinking like the Fathers; not about you and me! 😉 ]

  3. FrGregACCA Says:

    Uh, yeah, good luck with that, Father, especially in those arenas in which it is most needed…

  4. dpc+ Says:

    As I said: unworkable and riot-producing!

    I can hear them screaming now: “What, ME!?!?!? I know the faith and I am anointed by God Herself to straighten you folks out!!!” (sounds just like Joe Smith and Muhammad doesn’t it? I actually heard it from some semitarians I studied with…)

  5. dpc+ Says:

    BTW, I’ve met Fr. Peter and read his book and purchased a dozen copies and gave them away to parishioners of mine…

  6. FrGregACCA Says:

    I, too, have met Fr. Peter, back in the early seventies, when I was a kid and he was something of an independent Charismatic Evangelist. When I learned, many years later, that he had become an Orthodox priest, I about dropped my teeth!

    Speaking of Smith (and the Apostolic Tradition), you may find this post of mine to be of interest:

    http://vagantepriest.blogspot.com/2008/04/what-hath-rome-to-do-with-salt-lake.html

  7. dpc+ Says:

    Great article: I’ve responded there. Thanks Fr Greg.
    Also, I’m going to look and see what there might be in cyberspace from “the Pontificator” that would contribute to this.

  8. Robert Easter Says:

    So the plan is that we need to hit {reset}, go back to Trent I and invite the whole Church, East, West, North, South, and probably the Americans, to an all day singing, dinner on the ground, and an intensive study in Historical Theology. OK, sounds good to me! 🙂

  9. dpc+ Says:

    I love it: “the whole Church… and probably the Americans”!!!! I’ve often wondered whether or not those pesky ‘mericans should be considered part of the whole Church or not. Many of the problems we encounter (especially in ecclesiology) are from them… don’t you think?

    As to which Council we should reset to, I think Rome lost out wholesale when they prevailed at Whitby: until then the Church in England was undeniably Orthodox… Bede got it wrong: (ODCC: “from 664 the trend is towards unity and orthodoxy…” ) No Whitby was about conformity and allegiance to Rome.
    I believe the 7 Ecumenical Councils (concluding with the Second Council of Nicaea, 787). There haven’t been any Ecumenical Councils since then. But if I could I’d get everyone to sign on to the 5th Council of Constantinople (1341–1351) which affirmed hesychastic theology according to St. Gregory Palamas that’d be great.

    But you probably knew I’d say that… 😉


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