Pastor 5 – Scripture & Modernity

More highlights from my reading of Willimon’s book on pastoral ministry:

“Reading Scripture in the context of modernity has proved to be particularly challenging for us pastors.  The Bible is old; the newest parts of it were written about nineteen hundred years ago. Because modernity believes in the notion of progress, it tends to be arrogant, taking a superior position toward all things that preceded modernity.  Here we stand in sovereign judgment on everyone and everything that got here before us. Our entertainment culture renders all of us into “neophiles,” lovers of the new. . . .

Once we allowed the likes of Immanuel Kant to divide the world into the phenomenal and the noumenal, the natural and the supernatural, the Bible was on its way to becoming incomprehensible. The Bible had been pushed out of the world and into some ethereal realm where nothing could be declared or proved with any conviction. The events of the Bible became supernatural, miraculous, episodic intrusions into the fixed laws of nature.

Jews and Christians ought not to believe in “nature.” We know the world as Creation — gift and possession of a Creator. In a sense, after Genesis 1 and 2, it is all miracle as far as we are concerned, all miraculous creation of a God who continues to be involved in the world and refuses to be relegated to “supernatural,” ahistorical irrelevancy. Any God who would create a world out of formless void is just the sort of God who would enter a virgin’s womb or raise the dead.”

p. 115-116


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