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Friday, March 16, 2012

How do you spot a liberal wolf in conservative clothing?

You ask them something pertaining to the historicity of the first 12 chapters of Genesis.

Here's an excerpt from a thread on the real Sydney Anglican Heretic Blog over yonder at the SAD. For the full comedic story, see here

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

Michael Jensen: “ 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: “Michael, in reference to your comment at #5, 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.”

Michael Jensen: “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.

Andrew: “Either Genesis 5:29-32 is indicating that Noah was a real person like you or I, or it's indicating that he wasn't a real person like you or I. Or are there other options that I've overlooked on account of my lack of sophistication? I don't take you seriously, Michael.”

Michael: “As you wish Andrew. But this is indicative of precisely the problem of the literalist.

Genesis may be indicating the Noah was a real person, but that not be the main point of the text.

Job is perhaps a better example. I think a good case can be made for the claim that the plain reading of the book of Job is that he is a literary figure rather than a 'historical' one. Even if he was a historical figure, his historical existence is not really the point of the story. Saying 'There was a man named Job' is neither a claim to his existence (it could hardly be a claim for his non-existence) nor is not such a claim.”

Michael: “Well there's no 'one-size-fits-all' answer. Rather, to change the metaphor: you have to play each ball on its merits.

The person saying that about the Devil is making a theological mistake about accountability as much as a textual mistake. It seems to me that the Scriptural testimony over a number of books in different contexts about Satan is that he does exist.”

Andrew: “This article and this thread absolutely encapsulates why I left the Anglican church twelve years ago. One weekend, I realised that I couldn't listen to another academic sermon painted in different shades of grey. Alot of Anglican ministers preach with no power because half of you don't even believe what the Bible says.

Michael, I couldn't be bothered pitching any more questions to you. Your answers are equivocating and ridiculous.

On the positive side, this thread has exposed the foundational problem with the Sydney Anglican church (which has to do with the interpretation of the Bible) and I can guarantee you guys that until you fix this problem, your church is going nowhere. Certainly I won't join the Anglican church again until you guys fix this problem.”

Michael: “Thanks for Andrew.”

Andrew: “You guys want to invite people to church and tell them the gospel. Then, when they start to grow in their faith and start asking questions about the Bible, such as, "Did God speak to Moses in an audible voice?", "Was Noah a real person?", "Was there a real flood?", "Was Adam a real person?", you leave them hanging out to dry. It's a tragedy.

The Anglican church left me hanging out to dry but I was right and the Anglican church was and is WRONG. It's time to fix the problem so that you're not in this same position ANOTHER twenty years from now.”

Michael: “ I never said Noah wasn't a historical figure. What I am trying to do is to ask us to think about the nature of the text so we can read it better. That is: more 'literally' in the strict sense!

[And] Andrew - do you always shout louder when you don't like what you are hearing? I don't like have guns pointed at my head.”

And now we pause to meditate upon the inner, abstruse meaning of an interjection (and general suck up to the heir apparent) from our old-time SAD favourite, Intergalactic mutational gamma ray Dave Lankshear: “ [Hey] Andrew, sadly I think it is meaningless. Taunting someone as not believing the bible because you cannot comprehend their interpretation of it is meaningless: you are attacking something that may not exist, a shallow straw-man of your own construction. Slow down, breathe a little, and try and think about what Michael is actually saying.”

Michael: “The statement that Moore lecturers think Genesis is poetry (as opposed to describing in literary form events that actually took place) is not correct.”

Roll forward a year or so and here we have an example of Michael's evolution: "This meshes with the idea I have had for a project on theological anthropology which would engage with the great literary genres as alterative or overlapping mythoi in comparison and contrast to the Biblical mythos."

Got that guys? I know I haven't. And I guess, even if I could understand what he's saying, will it help me evangelise?


sam drucker said...

Yes!, helpful to be reminded of the rhetoric used.

Three cheers for Andrew for exposing the liberalism unfolding in people in key positions within the Diocese.

Add the matter of a doubting faith and a real problem is at hand.

Sam Drucker

Eric said...

Michael is hilarious, thinking that he can look behind a question about the text when the text is about what it says: so if Noah was an historical figure, this changes the way we read the text; and the text does seem to be predicated on Noah's real existance; otherwise, all references to the flood allow no greater insight than do Greek myths. The point of the Bible, is that this stuff happened, and in the world we are in; and so it speaks directly to us. If it didn't happen; well, then, anyone can write stories. Why should a story affect my views of my life and my understanding of God? No real reason, of course; as against God saying what happened and what he did and what people did. Did is much more powerful than ", imagine if this happened..." Reminds me of a bank robber who waves a picture of a gun, asking for money; cop comes in with real gun: contest over!