Monday, February 11, 2008

A Matter of Method

I've been asked by a specific Orthodox friend (may or may not be a scholarly argument), "whose system would best preserve God's truth?" "Can a system where individuals are encouraged to interpret the Scriptures themselves stand up against a system where God is using a living breathing Church to guide His people into all truth?"

I find many things wrong with the way the two system's are often portrayed, but for now, I am going to stick to discovering which questions Christians ought to be asking in order to discover how God preserved His truth. This will be done given the common Christian assumption that the apostles are where we get our authority, whether it be through apostolic succession, oral tradition or from their very words.

When speaking about such things to others within the Church (broadly speaking), I often hear the question, "which would best preserve God's truth?" The Orthodox give their shpeal on the infallibility of the Church, the canon and the mass chaos that supposedly overwhelms the Protestant churches and Protestants give theirs on the corruption of the church (mostly speaking form their experience with the old Catholic Church) and taking man's authority over God's...ect. The whole mess turns into a "my church is better than your church" argument that belongs in the sandbox.

A different approach is in order. Instead of dealing in the realm of what would be best and whose system would better preserve God's truth, I think it best to explore the reasons we have for thinking it is the case that our system does in fact, preserve God's truth.

A: Which would best preserve God’s truth?
B: What reasons do we have for thinking “X” best preserves God’s truth?

Issue: Each is approaching with different methods for trusting in the preservation of truth.

Common Ground: 1)Each believes the Scriptures within the Protestant canon are the infallible word of God (though some might include other books as well). 2) Each believes God has preserved what is necessary for our faith and growth in Him.

My Assumption: Our common goal is to understand the way God preserved His truth.

Our first step should be to establish a common method. To begin, we ought to critique each the other’s method and think about whether or not there is a better method that neither has thought of yet. This should be done without thinking too far ahead to what the consequences would be for our particular view.

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