Where I stand
by Steve Douglas
I get a lot of hits on my About page, probably from people trying to understand where this nut’s coming from. So I thought I’d compile a page to give visitors some idea of where I currentlystand. Here’s a snapshot take on a few of the topics that I discuss the most.
I believe God is the sovereign creator and sustainer of the universe. As author of all the natural laws governing the physical universe, He is no less responsible for the universe than if He manually directed each subatomic particle. However, as this was not necessary nor His chosen method of management, and because He meant the universe to testify to Himself as the author of nature, the universe is orderly and able to be understood by deciphering the laws of nature; we may make analysis of nature without wondering if the data is intentionally misleading. In the same way, while He is responsible for creating and sustaining man and endowing him with a will capable of and bent toward disregarding His place as sovereign, He does not govern our every thought nor the paths we choose in life; I believe He can be relied upon to weave purpose into each of them.
God didn’t personally write the Bible; nor did He dictate it. In fact, although Scripture contains revelation from God, it is not as a whole composed of successive revelations strung together and compiled by the authors, all with a flourish of personal authorial style and manner but retaining the authority of the Source. Rather, God’s role in the Bible as it was eventually canonized was consistent with His manner in creating the universe: in revealing Himself to the people of Israel, He purposefully set into motion the writing of the Scriptures, which He knew would serve as a timeless testimony to Him and His ways. This fore-ordination was far less “hands-on” than Protestants typically believe. Many Christians would agree that God doesn’t personally inflict individuals with a genetic disorder inherited from their ancestral lines, although it’s undeniable that He is responsible for creating a universe in which genetic disorders arise and are passed on. Similarly, in choosing not to exercise editorial micromanagement over the content of Scripture, He is not guilty of deception simply because He did not purge it from all misconceptions on the parts of the authors. Those misconceptions, coming through to us as “errors”, are found throughout Scripture. All this is to say that I am not an inerrantist.
Because in general, we have no reason to believe each passage of Scripture was intended by its author to be read some two or three millennia later within the context of the Biblical canon or that it was intended to be unlocked by special esoteric interpretive keys, the only valid way to interpret the Scripture is the same way we should endeavor to interpret any passage of literature: in the way it was originally intended by the author. As with all literature, among the factors that must chiefly inform our interpretation (hermeneutics) are the recovery of the author’s intent and a recognition of the culture and audience of each author’s contemporaries (audience relevance). We have no reason to believe that the very context in which the authors of Scripture lived and which they sought to address in their writings are in any way excisable from, or in fact anything less than central to, the meaning of any given passage.
Are there other topics I need to put on this page? Be sure to let me know!