How not to read the Bible
An absolutely blinding post by my twin brother, showing how KJS has no idea how to interpret Scripture. Go here to read it – I’ve highlighted some of the best bits below.
Schori, however, is not interested in Gen 15. She has far more important things to teach than the key text on Justification by Faith Alone. After speaking about the changes she has seen in Portland, in particular the matter of wheelchair access, she begins her lesson in poor reading.
As the Philippians writer says, a body of humiliation has been transformed into a body of glory. The city has taken the needs of a part of its population so seriously that it has moved beyond mere words of welcome to deeds of welcome.
First, let’s note that it’s not “the Philippians writer”. It’s Paul. He says so at the beginning of the letter. But the sermon writer has more for us. The city “taking the needs of it’s population so seriously” and “moving beyond mere words of welcome to deeds of welcome” is an example of Paul writing of “a body of humiliation being transformed”. Well, here’s what Paul actually wrote:
Philippians 3:20-21 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Note how starkly removed this is from what Schori wants to speak about. First, the event being spoken of is quite obviously the return of Jesus Christ when everyone who is “in a wheelchair” (and the lowliness that Paul is speaking of is obviously not so much physical disability but spiritual) will be transformed. Second, this is something that Jesus Himself will do to us, not something that we do. It is so unlike the self-actualised, this-worldly change that Schori speaks of. Paul’s point, of course, is that he has long given up trying to do things for himself. Instead he has realised that all that needs to be done is done for him by Christ:
Philippians 3:7-9 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith-
It’s vastly different. Schori speaks of what people can do, Paul speaks of what God can do in Christ that we should trust in.
So what would you have done David?
How would I have preached it?
Well, I’d have started with Gen 15. There we see the classic text on Justification by Faith alone – Gen 15:6. I would have explained how Abraham simply trusted God, despite his prior disobedience, and that simply trust was reckoned as righteousness. I would have then moved to Phil. 3 to show how Paul demonstrates exactly the same point – he used to trust himself but now he simply trusts Christ.
I would have explained how that simple trusting faith is the heart of Christian religion. “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to your Cross I cling”.
Then I would have turned to Luke 13 and shown Jesus dealing with those who oppose His death and His mission – that same death that Paul (and, implicitly, Abraham) trust in – and how He laments over such false teaching.
That is, I trust, good exegesis – reading out of the text. Schori, however, has given us a classic example of eisegesis, reading into the text. In that method you decide in advance what things mean and abuse the text to meet your agenda. When it comes from someone realtively uneducted in these matters then it’s excusable. When it comes from a “Presiding Bishop” it’s slightly more worrying.