Value of experience?

Apr 10, 2017 by

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I agree with Harold N. Miller (“Scripture Overrules Experience,” March 27) that we need to take Scripture most seriously in times of ethical discernment. But I wonder what he would have done had he been resting comfortably in the Confession of Faith (Deut. 23:1) and been confronted with the situation described in Isaiah 56:3-5. And it seems to me that in Acts 8:36-38 Philip must have been following Isaiah 56 instead of Deuteronomy 23.

Daniel Hertzler
Scottdale, Pa.

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  • Harold Miller

    I understand Hertzler (who guided our church media with a sure hand) as pointing out a genuine difficulty when we try to follow our Confession and let our discernment “be tested and corrected by the light of Holy Scripture.” Which Scripture do we use? Because we don’t have a flat Bible; texts disagree, say different things. There’s movement: for instance, from no eunuchs in the sanctuary (Deut 23:1) to eunuchs being given a memorial and a name within the temple (Isa 56:3-5) to a eunuch being the first Gentile convert to Christ (Acts 8:36-38).

    My answer to “which Scripture?” is that we must look at the movement. The movement is what has meaning: it helps us discern the ethic that is God’s goal for us.

    Hertzler is noting the movement toward us valuing all people (like the eunuchs, Moabites, women, slaves, enemies…). In the Age to Come we see gathered around the throne and before the Lamb a multitude “from every nation, tribe, people and language” (Rev 7:9).

    He and all of us must also not neglect the other movements in Scripture. For instance, a deepening and tightening of us keeping the moral law. Sexuality is a core part of this moral law: every NT list of sins includes immorality. On sex the NT church was consistently more restrictive than the culture around it. In the Age to Come we see a City where no one who does what is impure or shameful or deceitful will enter (Rev 21:27). Does our church let this theme or movement shape our faith and life?

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