Stay Tuned

I’ve had a couple of requests for the J.A.O. Preus essay “The Interpretation of Scripture.” It’s a great essay. And it’s on paper. Paper that is older than I am.

The nice thing about technology is that some of those old paper resources can easily be turned into quickly-sharable electronic resources. Because of much more persnickety copyright laws at the time, this particular essay appears to be in the public domain. That means that, Deo volunte, the Preus essay will soon be available for download. I even know someone who can host the file for me, so this may all work out.

The funny thing is, I’ve had this essay since before my children were born. On the shelf it has sat for many years. And I would occasionally look at it and think, “Glad we’re past all that nonsense.” There truly is nothing new under the sun. And hard-fought gains in the “Battle for the Bible” are now again in contention. I have heard – from those considered otherwise “Confessional” Lutherans – that we really can’t use the Bible as a Science book; it was never designed for that. And yet, the Preus essay makes quick work of such a foolish argument. We can not ignore that scripture deals in matters historical (and yet is more than mere history) and scientific (and yet is not a science textbook). We must remember that the Creator ordered the creation. Real science (historically until Darwin) is nothing more than an attempt to discern that order, and utilize it for our benefit and the benefit of our neighbor, to the glory of God.

So, the time has come to crack open long-disused books on the library shelf. Preus, Preus, Surburg, Klug, Scaer, Marquardt, (along with many others) and occasionally even Bohlman (like Melanchthon, he was better early than late),  had important things to teach the church in these matters. They already picked apart the arguments against Scripture. If we go back to them, we will find the heavy theological lifting already done. And it can stand as a corrective to our own laziness and lackadaisical attitude toward these things.

I don’t think we are facing a renewed “Battle for the bible” like we had during Seminex. But we’ve gotten lazy about how we consider scripture. We assume fidelity in short phrases that summarize long arguments. But we no longer understand the arguments, or the heresies they were written to refute. We have the shorthand of faithfulness without knowledge of the issues. And we have allowed in a lot of dangerous ideas that should be  considered false teaching, “not to be tolerated in the churches”. Battle? More like a skirmish. Satan is testing around the edges, at battlements that have been left to decay somewhat. Time to rebuild and reinforce. We will be better for it. And the church will be better able to confess the entire truth regarding the Holy Scriptures.

“Let’s Go!” (Mark 1:38)


PS. In a different vein, “Evolution: A Defense Against” is now at the copy-editor. I should be receiving it in the next few weeks, and will have it to press soon afterwards. It doesn’t address these issues directly (Not really the same topic) but it does stand as a help against the crumbling culture and the constant indoctrination we receive from our culture regarding the origin of the creation. It should make a lovely valentine’s day gift!


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