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Theological Fragments – 01.27.2017


Theological Fragments – 01.27.2017

Post Script on No Little Women Review

Yesterday I posted a review of No Little Women by Aimee Byrd. This book is, in my estimation, a very important book for our time. This is because women have suffered significantly at the hand of the church. For many years the church has treated women as if they are a second class citizen of the kingdom by not taking their intellectual aptitude seriously. The result is a plethora of books written for women with very little theological rigor. It didn’t take long for disagreement to find its way into the comments and that is fine. If anything it served to illustrate the point well. There are still many out there who believe that a woman should not study theology; but is this a fair expectation? As I pointed out in one of the comments, we all have a theology — let us do what we can to make it a good theology. We still have a lot of work to do in understanding gender and a good place to start is in God’s revealed word. I pray Aimee Byrd does not grow weary in doing good. I can see how tempting that might be for her.

Fox Theater Q&A, Part 1 of 3

Today on Just Thinking, Ravi Zacharias and Michael Ramsden team up to answer questions regarding the nature of truth, the Christian’s struggle to trust God, and how to respond to critics who point out the horrible things done in the name of Christianity. Listen to Fox Theater Q&A, Part 1 of 3 (13:55)

Stranger in Paradise

This week on Radiolab, we examine the power of a nation’s love for its national symbol, and when a surprising truth was discovered about this symbol, how the people of Guadalupe responded. What’s telling about this is the conclusion the hosts come to (albeit reluctantly) at the end of the broadcast. As a Christian we must be committed to truth, but in a culture that trivializes the nature of truth we are forced to wrestle with the pursuit of truth when it conflicts with deeply held affections. How far are we willing to bend in order to be tolerant? Is it truly tolerant if we give in to relativism and allow others to posses “their own truth”? And is this “courtesy” extended to others whom they might disagree with or are religious beliefs in a different category and not to be tolerated? These are all questions that struck me as I was listening to the conclusion. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts. Set aside 45 minutes for this broadcast. If you do you will not be disappointed. The fellows over at Radiolab have done a great job as usual. Listen to, Stranger in Paradise (45:37)

When Bible Translations Disappoint

Finally, over at The Heidelblog, R. Scott Clark discusses the many translations we have and gives us a rapid fire tour of the history of Bible translations. In the end, he concludes that there are no perfect translations and this is true. The answer of course is to learn the original languages and make sure your pastor has the opportunity to stay on top of his learning of the languages. However, this also presents problems because language itself is interpreted by human beings, and we bring our baggage and presuppositions into the very definitions of words in our own language. I’m not a deconstructionist, but the fact is language does have an inherent problem– the problem of human subjectivity. We see this played out in the very fact that there are so many translations. Each translation has a body of experts in the original languages and when they all get together they don’t necessarily agree on what the original language is saying. When they do come to a consensus it isn’t always unanimous. Compare the results to other translations and we have even more disagreements, So even the best . . . the very best linguists disagree on the meaning and nuances of the text. We have to learn to be okay with this and then humbly thank God that he does not judge us for not fully understanding him. If we were judged upon our ability to “get it all right” none of us would stand. It is only when we see this through the lens of the gospel that we are freed to pursue rigorous study, pray for wisdom, and trust that though we may get some things wrong, God is pleased with us through his Son. Thank God that he does not judge us on our ability to fully grasp him. He truly is merciful. Read, When Bible Translations Disappoint then come back and let’s discuss



4 thoughts on “Theological Fragments – 01.27.2017

  1. Bradley M.

    Michael Ramsden was great in the RZIM podcast! His pool analogy had me in tears. I’ve been there torn between my fears and trust in God. Great segment!

  2. Ryan

    I see what yiu did there sly man. At first I couldn’t figure out the racoon. Then I checked out the Radiolab feed.

    Anyway good links as usual. The issue of language is a good point. And you are right, you kind of sound like a decpnstructionist or at a minimum a PoMo with a huge distrust of language issue. But on the other hand language is tricky. We speak the same linguistic language but understand the words in different ways. We can say something basic like ‘servant’ and immediately think of different things. This is compounded when the original text is in a dead language and we are working with a translation of servant. Arrrgh!

  3. Lawrence

    Aaron I’m not quite following your comments about language. Can you give me a concrete example? I think what your saying makes sense but I want to make sure I’m on the same page. Are you at all suspicious of language?

    • Hello Lawrence. A good example is the Greek δούλος which means slave. Or does it mean servant? Or bond servant? Here is a video that captures the issue very well. This is a glimpse into the translation process in which the worlds foremost Greek and Hebrew scholars were debating how to best translate δούλος. If the most renowned experts in biblical languages grapple with this then no amount of studying the original languages by pastors will solve the issue. It isn’t a easy as studying the languages more. We always have before us our own presuppositions that dictate what we understand when we read a text, This doesn’t mean that there is more than one meaning- there is only one true meaning — but the human mind cannot fully comprehend the depths of God’s revelation. Watch this clip then thank God that he doesn’t demand that we get the translation 100% accurate.

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