Mark Twain had become famous and was invited to dine with the emperor of Germany. His little daughter innocently said to him, “You’ll soon know everybody except God, won’t you, papa!”
Kavin Rowe in his work on Acts has complained that the massive lake of interpretative strategies has broken its banks and the text of the book of Acts has been drowned under scholarly glossolalia.
Scholars read and borrow from or argue with scholars.
Thank God for the historical and textual Jesus.
(Holy Father, the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, we’re overwhelmed and confused by the ‘wisdom’ of the scholars. We’re sometimes frightened by it because we don’t understand what they’re saying and the Holy Scriptures have become completely foreign to many of us—yes, even frightening. A growing number of us can no longer read the Holy Bible though we are urged: “Read the Bible for yourselves.” We hear of growing numbers of younger people who become atheists while studying at ‘Christian’ universities. When we voice our fears we’re out-talked, the scholars are too educated for us. Many of us, perhaps the greater number of us, are older, and what we get from the pulpits and behind the lecterns are hermeneutical strategies. The gap between us and the scholars or the wanna-be scholars or the obvious dabblers, who parrot scraps they pick up from scholars—that gap can only grow as congregations starve.
We’re too ignorant to know what to do. These people take our money and feed us confusion, doubt and consequent weariness. Some of them understand what they are saying but so many of us go through the motions of worship, wondering which Jesus it is that we’re to embrace, the textual/canonical Jesus of the Holy Scriptures or the one offered by the often conflicting interpretitive strategies. We are now unsure what ‘Holy Scriptures’ we are to feed on. The Bible that has been around for millennia or the one we’re now told is the ‘real’ Bible that ‘saves us from the Bible,’ as one smug writer has put it? Thank you for the ‘ignorant’ millions who have down the years kept your Word alive and needed. Thank you for scholars like Stanton who remind us that “scholars die but the Bible text lives on.”
Though saddened by so many questions we can’t answer because there are too many and we are so ignorant, yet we’re happy to be blessed with a faith created by You through your Holy Scriptures; a faith that doesn’t need to put You “in the dock” or engage in Pyrrhic victories against the Holy Bible and simple believers when they vainly protest.
We’re happy that that experience of being called in question by ‘reasonable’ questions is not new to you and that you are the GOD and LORD of the gods and lords that we the sinful human family continue to worship though we’ve dropped the names such as Hermes or Thoth. Keep us from idols and keep us near your heart and our hearts near you because idolatry is ever attractive to us. This we ask in the name of the Lord Jesus, the Lord over every name named in this ‘world’ or any other.)
It’s so sweet to trust in Jesus
Just to take Him at His word
Just to rest upon His promise
Just to say, ‘Thus saith the Lord.’