I mentioned earlier that I was going to write something about the “Scripture interprets Scripture” school of hermeneutics. I may not succeed, but I'm going to try to see if I can explain some of the problems I have with it.
I've just had a nice few days holiday. I'm relaxed. But just before I went, I got an email that really annoyed me.
As I wrote this morning, we had our second Maibara Revive meeting today. I arrived at church this morning to listen to a litany of people who couldn't make it. Takahashi-sensei said, “Well, it could be just the four of us…”
I got a copy of Simon Ponsonby's new book on eschatology, And The Lamb Wins, on Thursday. And I read it on Thursday, in one sitting. It's a very, very good book. One of the things that I don't like about most theological books is that they don't tend to take seriously both sides of an argument - they fall victim to the temptation to straw-man the side they don't like. But when reading Lamb, I very often found myself thinking “Yes, I understand point X, but what about point Y?” only to turn the page and find a thorough explanation of point Y. And in the end, I didn't find myself disagreeing with many of Simon's conclusions, mostly because of the way he hunted for a middle way between the various theological positions out there. For a very (and pointlessly) controversial area of theology, Simon treads appropriately carefully.
There is a hierarchy of sexiness for mission work. There shouldn't be, but there is, and it goes like this:
A while back Gervase asked me a very astute question about the role of doctrine. I am still thinking about this, and I don't have a good answer yet. So in seeking to come up with an answer, I want to throw out a few ideas.
Yes, it's a heavy blogging day, but it's the only day of late I've had enough time and energy to put fingers to keyboard and get this stuff out of my head. So anyway, the other day I said:
Oh yeah, this one occurred to me a few years ago but I was reminded by a particularly muddle-headed sermon recently: (Any sermon which contends that God chose the Jewish people as His own Special Chosen People to work with for a few thousand years, just so that He could cynically use them to demonstrate to the rest of the world that they completely let Him down, and therefore they should all go to Hell for being unable to keep his utterly impossible Law, is going to end up in a big bucket of Fail as far as I'm concerned. Unfortunately, such a view is not so much widespread as omnipresent.)
I’m finding myself getting very busy and very tired these days; I have a lot of things I want to write about but I’m finding it hard to catch up. This entry has been sitting in my editor window for four days. Let’s see if I can finish it today…
Saturday was fantastic. I mean, fantastic. In the morning we headed into Kyoto’s Tofukuji, to join a meeting of a Kyoto deaf church. Henrietta and I both independently had an interest in deaf evangelism for a while now, and we’ve both come across more deaf people in the past year than one would expect. H took a course in sign language while she was at university; I always wanted to but never got to it. And last week, at the house church conference, we met an American couple who are working as evangelists to the deaf here in Japan, and they gave us an introduction to a church in Kyoto, and volunteered kindly to interpret for us. Read more about Say what?