Saturday, August 6, 2016

What do Christians do? What do they think?

In a recent discussion of Frost's book at home group we were prompted to think about how being Christian led to certain demonstrative actions.

I added that it is not only acting Christianly, but thinking Christianly that is at issue, recalling Romans 12:2 and Colossians 2:8.

The spring point for this comment was a review of Gombis' book on Ephesians by Bob on Books where we are told:
First, the book doesn’t merely situate the letter within a first century cultural context, examining its meaning within that setting.
Situate. I don't know if this is a conscious use of the word in its post-modern meaning, but if so, it is dislocating a central concept of the world as set out in the Bible: a world set in concrete meaningful actions (this central concept is easily dislodge with most Christians having an anaemic theology of creation that lets materialism and its discontents slide in).

To quote from the Internet Encyclopaedia of Personal Construct Psychology:

Fragmentariness refers to the postmodern emphasis on the local and situated, instead of the general and totalizing. According to Polkinghorne (1992, p. 149), "knowledge should be concerned with these local and specific occurrences, not with the search for context-free general laws". This point is also visible in PCP’s interest in personal meanings instead of general and disembodied notions.
Yet, Ephesians is about themes that apply to all people at all times: 'totalizing' as the PM-ers like to disparage, to further their ideology, of course.

A commentary, or expository essay on a biblical book does not 'situate' the book within a particular time. It studies the influence of the circumstances of writing to be able to understand the context of the writer and his readers to be able to identify what it teaches for all of us.

If we allow the highly politicised marxist fantasies of post modernism and the Frankfurt school to steer our thinking as Christians, we have submerged the gospel beneath its futile constructs.

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