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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Face it Michael, such stuff is literalistic nonsense

On a recent piece of tortured, evasive prose by the Archbishop's son, the chief whip for the SADs, wrote, “The word ‘literal’ refers to the Protestant preference for a way of reading the texts of Scripture on their own terms. The ‘literal’ - or better ‘plain’ - reading is an attempt to read the text in terms of its original context and genre and so on, and by recognising metaphor, symbolism and other literary devices in the text. For the literal or plain reader, a text may describe historical events in a variety of ways and still be validly historical. It is not interested in pursuing the kind of allegorical readings that were popular in the Middle Ages.

"Put simply: a literal reading of a metaphor reads it as a metaphor.

"On the hand, a ‘literalistic’ reader reads without (or with a deficient) awareness of metaphor, symbolism, genre, literary style, inexact numbers, and so on, and in fact may deny the presence of these things entirely. The literalistic reader sees the relation of the text to historical events as necessarily very exact."

One reader, Andrew Mackinnon, quite rightly asks, “Does a literal reading of Genesis 5:29-32 interpret Noah as being a real, historical man who lived on the earth?”

The Son of the Archbishop responds in his inimitable manner, one characteristic of a cerebrally extended personality, “It might do. It would depend what kind of literature we were talking about and what kind of relationship the ancient people understood to pertain between their texts and history.”

Andrew, seeking clarification from such noble blood as the Archbishop's son, reiterates his sensible question, “Michael, in reference to your comment, the kind of literature I'm talking about is the book of Genesis in the Bible. I'm interested in your response to the following question:

"Does a literal reading of Genesis 5:29-32 interpret Noah as being a real, historical man who lived on the earth?

"Your response of, "it might do", is, in my opinion, a non-response.”

HRH Jensen, son of, replies with ever-expanding perspicuity: “it isn't a non-answer. It's a refusal to be drawn into a rather petty either-or. And a refusal to avoid the actual work of listening to the text itself. That isn't the end point of hermeneutics mind you; there's still more to do to put the text in the context of the whole Bible, too.”

Get that folks: It isn't a non-answer when you refuse to be drawn into self-assessed pettiness and simultaneously throw an implicit ad hominem at your inquirer by claiming that he's refused to examine the text the way that Moore academics properly and responsibly examine it. Holy deja vu: the priestly caste doing their Gnostic thing once again i.e. Maybe we understand, maybe we don't - but we aren't going to tell you in any case. How unevangelical! How Romanist!

Luke Stevens, in an ephemeral moment of self-parody, experiences a flash of enlightenment by sensing the transparent vacuity of the SADs' attempt to extricate themselves from their pseudo-intellectualism (“highsounding nonsense”, as Paul labels it!): “Ah, the old literal-but-not-literalistic is a bit ironic that we try and redefine "literal" to say "We don't mean 'literal' (in a popular sense)"! Only Sydney Anglicanism could use a non-literal meaning of 'literal' to mean 'not literal'...Nevertheless, I guess the device is useful to describe a difference between more fundamentalist readings, but it does seem a bit self-serving. 'We read it in the correct sense, yay for us...', as though avoiding fundamentalism and basic errors of comprehension deserves a gold star. This is unfortunate as it masks the big problems with how we read the bible.”

I think I got that, mate. However, sorry to be a pedant Luke, but the problem lies with you guys, and you guys well as your bedfellow Spong and his gang of liberals

For the whole useless navel-gazing flakery see

Yep, see all the familiar faces: Dave in all his inter-galatic cosmic rayness, Martin Shields, who can't even begin to see the forest for the trees (or maybe because of his alter-ego Enkidu can't even see the trees for the Mesopotamian forest) and a reference to a thread by Mark "Badass" Badeley who presents a straw man regarding the creationist position on death before the fall.

My last words on Noah and Flood are these: “Jesus began his ministry at about 30 years of age being....the son of Shem, the son of Noah...the son of Adam, the son of God.” (Luke 3); and “People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.” (Luke 17:27) [Is that literal-but-not-literalistic drink and food Michael?]; and “For God spared not the ancient world, but preserved Noah with seven others, a preacher of righteousness, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly.” (2 Peter 2:5); and lastly “Beloved... that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts... For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.” (2 Peter 3)


sam drucker said...

Just another of thousands of stories in a naked diocese.

It all paints a grim picture for the future state of the Church as represented by the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney. It is a new Church order and it is far removed from the Reformers who were blessed by God and a blessing to the Church.

There are many sources to defer to but Graeme Goldsworthy's "Gospel & Kingdom" was nearby so I will quote from it to better reflect the evangelical position urged by the Reformers. An excerpt follows:

"It was the Protestant reformers who helped the Christian church see again the importance of the historical and natural meaning of Scripture, so that the Old Testament could be regarded as
having value in itself. When the reformers recovered the authority of the Bible they not only reaffirmed a biblical doctrine of the church and salvation, but also a biblical doctrine of Scripture. Protestant interpretation was based upon the concept of the perspicuous (clear and self-interpreting) nature of the Bible. By removing an authority for interpretation from outside of the Bible - the infallible Church - the reformers were free to accept and use the principles of interpretation that are contained
within the Bible itself.

So the self-interpreting scriptures became the sole rule of faith Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone) was a rallying-cry of the
Reformation. The right of interpretation was restored to every believer, but this did not mean that the principles of interpretation found within the Bible could be overlooked and every Christian follow his own whim. The allegorical method became far less popular, because the historical meaning of the Old Testament was found to be significant on its own, within the unity of the Bible.

A mentality is at work, wittingly or unwittingly, to drag the Church back to its dark pre-Reformation period.

Sam Drucker

neil moore said...

Thanks for bringing Rev Jensen's comments to our attention.

An appalling decline in how to read the Bible.


Critias said...

All I can say is "these guys are crazy".

If that's the best they can do at interpreting texts: a method that amounts to anti-interpretation, then we all may as well just be social workers, not proclaimers of the gospel, because after the SADs have been through it, there is no gospel left!

neil moore said...

It will be Popery ... Anglican Style!