Statements of faith, creeds and statements of belief are really presuppositions. Presuppositions in effect clouds and shades the view of what the message of a text is. There is no place where this is truer than with reading and interpreting the bible. Exegetics is the science of interpreting a text and hermeneutics is the body of presuppositions that are brought into the interpretation.. There are two terms that are applied to biblical interpretation. One is exegesis where we get the name for the science of exegetics and eisegesis which is an accusatory term used by those who want to devalue those who interpret text differently than themselves. In a perfect world exegesis would describe proper interpretation and eisegesis would describe biased interpretation but in reality this idea is a joke because of the presence of presuppositions in all of us.
The presuppositions reside in the doctrine or teaching that is passed on from generation to generation. This phenomenon is much older than Christianity. The Talmud is the written exegesis or eisegesis of the rabbis. It is the interpretation of the Law and the Prophets. I say exegesis or eisegesis because that call depends on which Rabbi you would listen to and which rabbi is evaluating the teaching. The rabbis at least allowed for dissenting views. The purpose of statements of faith and creeds is to eliminate dissenting or opposing views.
I was invited to attend a church on Easter Sunday with a family member. One of their rituals was to express their beliefs in a memorized statement of beliefs. As I listened to the list of things that they believed I realized that there was much that they believed as a group that did not resonate with what I believe the bible teaches. Of course, I would find this to be the case with almost all evangelical statements of faith. The interesting thing is that there seems to be no room for debate or dissention.
I plan to do a series that looks at the various presuppositions that people bring into their biblical interpretation. I hope to be able to show that the general doctrine of Evangelical Christianity does not really square all that well with what Jesus and his followers presupposed.
We’ll begin with one passage:
John NKJV 5:39-40 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. (40) But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
Certainly, Jesus did not believe in sola scriptura. Jesus said that the scripture existed to point to him so that people could seek him out and find life. Eternal life is not found in a book and definitely not found in someone’s interpretation of a book.