Monday, October 25, 2010

Intellectualizing

Our church uses the KJV as the standard translation for all public preaching and teaching. However, they are not KJVO, and other translations are brought into the mix from time to time. This takes the form of a member of the congregation being asked to read a verse, and reading it from another translation, or the pastor or teacher making reference to another translation to bring out a point.
Last night (Sunday night) the teacher read a passage from the NASB. Others in the congregation read from the NASB and ESV. It was a lot more than normal, which I don't have a problem with personally.
The problem is, my mother-in-law was with us, and she is very strongly KJVO. She, of course, was not happy with any of it. That's fine with me too. She has her convictions.
I bring all this up because she made a statement on the way home that seemed odd. She said something to the effect that it was possible to "intellectualize" yourself out of the truth. Which was all the more odd since she wondered if our church had ever looked at the evidence against modern Bible versions. But if they did, wouldn't that count as "intellectualizing" yourself INTO the truth?
"Rightly dividing the word of truth" is an intellectual exercise that begins with God's revelation and neither adds to nor takes away from it. It determines what is correct or not by identifying and analyzing Scripture. It engages in proper exegesis continually. What better use for the Christian mind than applying it to the Scripture?
Of course the Holy Spirit informs the mind and conscience of the Christian. But He will never tell you that 2+2=5, or that a square is round.
What ends up happening amongst anti-intellectual Christians is that peripheral issues such as versions, dress standards, etc. get held with the same a priori status as Scripture itself. When the rest of us use evidence and even Scripture to argue against these things, we are accused of sophistry and "intellectualizing." The a priori status of these external shibboleths by definition requires human authority to teach and enforce. It is why in these groups you find extreme emphasis on pastoral authority and position, as well as a smattering of pseudo-popes in their circles (big name preachers such as the late Jack Hyles). It is why everything is "preaching" and not "teaching." It is why "exposition" of the Bible is out and "topical" sermons are in.

No comments: