How are other pastors and church leaders responding to Greg’s proposal for interpreting the violence of God in the Old Testament? In this sermon, we get to hear from the perspective of Bruxy Cavey, pastor of The Meeting House in Toronto, Canada. He summarizes his interpretation of Greg’s writings, and offers his take.
In this sermon, Bruxy Cavey shares his response to Greg’s proposal regarding how to interpret the violent portraits of God found in the Old Testament. He began by sharing how Greg is modeling the right way to do theology, by submitting his ideas with trust and humility. In contrast, usually theology is handled with aggressive certainty.
Bruxy followed this with a creative explanation of the danger of bibliolatry. After telling a story of someone who murdered because he followed the Bible literally, he demonstrates how we must take a deeper look beyond the literal meaning of isolated Scriptures. This served as an introduction to his understanding of Greg’s thesis, which he summarizes in five points:
- By creating beings in his own image and likeness, God was committing himself to relational partnership in the unfolding of history, salvation, and revelation.
- God has inspired a book that incorporates the frailty, faults, and flaws of his human authors in order to point to the perfection of Christ.
- When we read the Bible, we can see both our own human imperfection and the perfection of Christ shining through, which should engender humility and encourage worship.
- Greg is applying the principle of accommodation not only to certain events recorded in Scripture, but to the inspiration and writing of Scripture itself.
- In other words, just as Jesus on the cross is made to appear like a criminal by his own people, so God in the Old Testament is made to appear like a criminal by his own people. In both cases, God accepts, accommodates, and redeems this misunderstanding.
To illustrate how this view of the Scriptures is played out, Bruxy cites specific passages where the fallibility of the human authors are visible. While Scripture is “God-breathed” (inspired by God), it is so in a way that includes the perspective of the human author. This is meant to point the reader to Jesus, because we follow the living Christ. We believe in the infallible, inerrant, authoritative Word of God—and his name is Jesus.
This is made clear in John 1:18, where it is confessed that Jesus “explained” or “exegetes” the Father. From the very “bosom” or “heart” of God comes forth Jesus who demonstrates what God is like in his being.
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