Meeting Times at 4th United Presbyterian Church

Cafe' Worship: 9:15 a.m. each Sunday in Gathering Hall (activities provided for children; coffee; snacks)
Adult Sunday School: 10 a.m.

Sunday Worship: 11 a.m.

Bible Study: each Thursday at 6 p.m.

Community Forum: last Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. with meal (no community forum in November, 2011)

About the 4th United Presbyterian Bible Blog

Posts on this blog are from me, Rev. George H. Waters, one of the two organizing co-pastors of 4th United Presbyterian Church. Our other organizing pastor was Rev. Sonya McAuley-Allen, who is now pastor of a church in Charlotte, N.C. Since June of 2011, Rev. Elizabeth Peterson has been our parish associate pastor for new church development. The earliest posts are sermon notes from the few I have typed the last two years. Then, there is a series of notes posted on the book of Romans. After that, it varies from week to week, sometimes church news, sometimes reflections on a happening, a passage of scripture, or even some pictures. This blog is meant to open the conversation we have going on in our church to others in our community.

The picture below is of our church's sanctuary, built in 1913.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Learning How to Read Scripture

John Calvin wrote his "Institutes of the Christian Religion," which is a very through two volume theological work, in order to instruct church members on how to read Holy Scripture. He felt the need to relate scripture to scripture, scripture to tradition, scripture to present life, in order to develop among believers the understanding necessary to read and understand the Holy Scriptures. Clearly, Luther engaged in a similar type of intensive writing for Christians to clarify for them the basic understanding needed to read and understand the Holy Scriptures as well.

This leads me to a couple of conclusions and criticisms of modern Protestantism. First, the common view of American Protestants that every individual is prepared to be an authoritative interpreter of scripture without any knowledge of tradition or any relationship with the wider Church was not the view of the Reformers: Luther, Calvin and Knox. Second, in modern mainline denominations who are more open to scientific, academic criticism,there has been a reactionary movement of believing that no one who has not engaged in historical-critical academic study of the Bible can possibly interpret it accurately. In contrast to these views, Calvin and Luther felt that they could actually teach people the basic theological understandings necessary to interpret Scripture. In contrast to Luther and Calvin, modern Protestants have either ignored the need of serious preliminary instruction (catechetical) or have not believed the clergy able to teach or the laity able to learn these theological lessons.

This leaves me with a question about whether I have defaulted on what may be the primary task of ministry. Just something I am thinking about this morning.

No comments:

Post a Comment