August 31, 2005

american individualism and the Church

Today in class, we're talking about the influence of individualism on ministry. The most fascinating point that Dr. Lowe made was in regards to its effect on Biblical interpretation.

He used the example of Ephesians 6:10-18, where Paul tells us to put on the full armor of God. Now take a moment and think back to every sermon, Sunday school lesson, and VBS paint-by-number that you've seen on this passage. What comes to mind? "I have to put on my armor so I can go out and wage war with the forces of evil" is what I thought of, and perhaps it is your thought.

Now, what is the main thrust of the book of Ephesians? Paul is writing the church at Ephesus in regards to the unity of Jewish and Gentile Christians, about the unity of the whole church, the body of Christ. The first half of the letter talks about the need for unity, the second half about its implications. Would Paul be writing this exhortation to unity of the whole, and then, just before his closing remarks, encourage us to be rugged individuals in the battle against Satan? Probably not.

After realizing this, I was floored. How could I have been deceived all these years? More over, how did I think I could do it on my own anyways?

Well, this has definitely opened up a lot more thinking about how I approach Scripture with my own presuppositions, and more often than not they're flawed.

No comments: