Ben has just posted a very interesting piece on why missionaries and Biblical scholars often seem to have ‘messed up’ theology.
Two things throw a monkey wrench in “good theology”
1. Reading the whole Bible carefully in light its original historical, social, and cultural contexts.
2. Trying to translate and to apply the Good News of Jesus in a totally different language and cultural way of thinking.
The first helps us come to grips with the fact that God has always revealed himself in ways that speak relevantly to a specific language and cultural way of thinking; God is contextual. The second helps us come to grips with how culturally bound our own ways of thinking about God are – even when we think we are being faithful to the Scriptures. (read more)
I have to admit (with a degree of embarassment, perhaps) that I agree wholeheartedly with Ben. The scientific certainty of some of my understanding of the Bible has been stretched to breaking point by exposure to the text of the Bible and to the way people of other languages and cultures read the Bible. I am more than ever convinced of the value of Scripture, but I am much less convinced that my own understanding is the only way to approach it. We have much to learn from the world church.