I almost made a mistake the other day of opening the Bible with an agenda. I’d had an idea about a certain “Biblical principal” and I wanted to check a text to see if I was right. Then I realized that’s a slippery slope. There’s not a lot you can’t use the Bible to support. And besides that, if the Bible is designed to be a constitution, it’s horribly organized. I had to put myself in check.
This isn’t an easy thing to do. If you drop your preconceived grid when you go to the Bible, you may in fact find out that the grid you had been filtering the Bible through isn’t as concrete as you previously thought, and you may then have to admit that you were wrong. I wonder if our grids aren’t so solid for this reason, rather than as supposed guardrails to keep us from straying from the truth. What I mean is, a grid can help you understand the truth as much as it can cause you to reject the truth. When I hear a pastor or theologian speak in concrete terms about their grid, and especially when they defend that grid with emotion, I trust them less, not more. I trust them less because their paradigm is fixed, and they simply aren’t open to Biblical interpretations that contend with the ideas upon which they’ve stated and defend, ideas associated with their identities and even their financial security.
In my opinion, it is dangerous for seminaries to teach students a fixed grid that is not open to change or evolution. I trust an academic institution much less when they have only one interpretation of scripture rather than multiple interpretations that contend with one another. If the search is for truth, we can’t reject debate. This is not to say there is no truth, it’s only to say all of heaven hardly fits inside a mans head. And any man who says it does has made something small of heaven and something rather large of his head.