The Scandal of Reason—Part II A Response to Post-Modern Evangelicalism -- By: Scott Newman

Journal: Conservative Theological Journal
Volume: CTJ 002:4 (Mar 1998)
Article: The Scandal of Reason—Part II A Response to Post-Modern Evangelicalism
Author: Scott Newman

The Scandal of Reason—Part II
A Response to Post-Modern Evangelicalism

Scott Newman

Senior Pastor
Mountain Home Bible Church, Mountain Home, AR

Redrawing the Line of Subjectivism Versus Objective Interpretation

If it is true that the line of demarcation between subjective reasoning and objective interpretation has been blurred, and if that blurring is a bad thing, then it only follows that someone should redraw the line. Recovery of historical Christian orthodoxy may just be as simple as that. Understanding, of course, that what is simple is not necessarily easy.

A little boy who wishes to demonstrate his “toughness” may very well draw a line in the dirt daring his soon-to-be enemy not to cross it. But, in order for that line of demarcation to mean something, two things must happen. First, the boy must be willing to back up his promised threat to stand his ground. Second, as he is in the process of making good on his word to pounce, he must carry his promise through to the end. There will probably be nothing easy about either necessity.

If Christian theologians, teachers and pastors alike, are to redraw that line then they must be willing to do two things. First, if a particular teaching or method of interpretation crosses the line, evangelicalism must be willing to consider that errant philosophy as declaring itself to be an enemy, and treat it as such (within the Biblical parameters of gentleness and kindness described in Ephesians 4:15–32). Second, true recovery will not take place without a commitment to endurance—that is seeing the “fight” to the end. To fall short on either of these steps would be to demonstrate a lack of resolve far too common in contemporary Christendom.

To resolve something is “to draw a line…to distinguish into two parts.”1 The two parts that are on opposite sides of the line could not be more contradictory. On the one side is subjectivism (the subjective interpretation of God’s absolute truth). It takes on many shapes and various forms, because it is subjective. It is void of an absolute structure.

The other side is occupied by orthodox hermeneutics (consistent grammatical-historical-normal rules of interpretation). It does not take on various forms and many shapes because it is absolute. The result of its proper

exercise is the presentation of God’s absolute truth. Any poor results are predominantly precipitated by the lack of diligence of the exegete and the inherent fallibility of man, not a faulty method.


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