As of late, and this is not a new phenomenon for me, I have been getting this kind of, what I would call, Holy Spirit induced sense of “criticality.” It isn’t a sense that I would think is foreign for any Protestant Christian; it is a sense, really, of who cares?! In other words, as I am reading the voluminous amounts of creative and imaginative machinations on how I should read Scripture, how I should understand God, how I should understand the Incarnation, how I should understand salvation, how I should understand election-reprobation, how I should understand the eschaton and eschatology, etc. etc.; I have this kind of guttural movement inside of me that asks, well, who really cares what so and so thinks? If said theologian or biblical exegete comes to this or that conclusion, and argues for it as the most fiduciary to the reality of God in Christ, and he or she does so in the most elegant and seductive of ways; who’s to say that it isn’t just that: i.e. elegant and seductive? And so I am obviously dealing with a situation where being ‘critical’ is of utmost import, but more than that; I am dealing with an issue of fidelity to the truth, and the canon or measure by which I adjudicate whether or not something is actually the case or not. What I am coming to, as a Protestant Christian, is indeed back to the authority of Scripture. But my struggle here is that it isn’t all that simple. Given the reality that sociologist, Christian Smith has identified as Pervasive Interpretive Pluralism, and just the fact that there are multiple subjectivities engaging with what the Text means; and given the fact that this array of agents come to various conclusions on the same passage of Scripture, or the same locus of theological consideration, it becomes a very tenuous thing to attempt to even believe that I can have the kind of gusto I feel I ought to have in regard to even caring what anyone thinks about Scripture and its attendant theological consequents.
But, even with the above in view, I am operating with this kind of ‘critical’ mode in place. I really don’t care what you think (I say lovingly), unless you can demonstrate for me how it fits with the categories provided by Scripture itself (which right here I am even admitting a prior commitment to a certain theological, and dare I say, imaginative conception of how Scripture functions), and with how Scripture functions as an aspect of God’s Triune speech-act for us brought first through the humanity of Christ for us, which hasn’t come for us, or for Christ (I should say), without the Holy Spirit’s recreative work through resurrection (ha, and here I lay my cards on the table, demonstrating how impossible it is to even come to Scripture without a prior commitment to a theological grammar, or at least a burgeoning grammar, and one that should be dialectically or spirally related to engagement with Scripture and the reality it flows from and at the same time attests to by the Spirit’s breath, and through his illuminating work).
I just want you to know that I have a high view of Scripture: meaning that I see it as the norming norm for how I think. And unless you can convince me from Scripture that the creative grammar or neat biblical exegetical conclusions that you are offering are indeed consonant with the categories of Scripture (paying attention to all of its literary expectations, etc.); then all you’re going to hear from me is: Who cares! And I would expect nothing less of you towards me. peace and grace.
PS. Just be aware though: I do believe something and not nothing. So if you choose to test the mettle of what I believe by trying to argue with me about some view that I apparently hold (as maybe communicated through some past blog post of mine), by dropping some proof text on me; just know that I will be questioning the background behind your particular usage of said Scripture. I am more concerned with how things work in Scripture in their broad canonical flow (inter and intratextual), rather than simply reducing things down to proof-texting through a kind of locus (i.e. Ramist) methodology.