27 June 2010

How to pastorally deal with the default setting...

updated July 2012

Fourth post concerning Nominalism

Nominalism and the modern Presbyter…pastoring the sheep to submit to the Pastor.

If you've read these posts you will understand that I'm arguing:

We, as Westerners think a certain way without realizing we're doing it and it profoundly affects how we read the Scriptures. By default, we (especially in our fallen state) utterly reject many of the categories the Bible teaches. This extends not only to theology but even to structure.

To even get someone to grasp these concepts can be difficult. I don't declare that to sound pompous…they are difficult for me as well. I say it merely to acknowledge the reality of our current cultural situation.

T. David Gordon has written many excellent papers and included in his thought is the sobering assessment of our present cultural situation. Education was on the increase in the years prior to the Reformation and a variety of other cultural factors made the time ripe. Today, despite the proliferation of technological intelligence, we are in an intellectual dark age… and it would not seem God is preparing our culture for the new wave of Reformation so sorely needed.

Anything is possible. God's will be done.

So from a pastoral sense, how can presbyters help the common person who has not given a lot of time or energy toward thinking about some of these things…and may not be capable, minus a lot of study, and may not have the time?

A certain presbyter I know has had some success in this. He and I completely disagree on a host of issues, but he at least does see this two-sided principle. He's Mono-covenantal and Kuyperian etc.. but as far as understanding the tensions between the visible and invisible and how these things play out in Ecclesiology and Soteriology…he's quite good.

So when he's sitting down with a 75 year old woman, a 22 year old single man, or a 40 year old father, the message is the same.

Submit to the Scriptures. If you believe this is the Word of God, even though you may not fully understand something, even though you may not think very highly of something…submit to it. And then….only then, try to work it out.

I don't like 'Lording' it over people. That's not what he's doing, but some might take it that way. Instead he's trying to teach them how to follow God in action…and perhaps that will in time, help them begin to understand what it looks like in conceptual and theoretical thought.

I would rather see people to come to the principle first and then work it out….but that is often not the world we live in.

In the end it's about submitting to the Word of God and not allowing alien tools to subvert or negate portions of the message.

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