I’ve been involved in several conversations as of late about the hermeneutical influences that often shape our reading, understanding, and application of Scripture. As I’ve stated before, it’s quite helpful if we’re aware of the types of ideas shaping the way that we understand Scripture.
Scholars tend to spend a lot of time analyzing the influences upon certain theologies and interpretive methods. I’ll never be found suggesting that this aspect of scholarship is a waste of time. Understanding how Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, or Barth has shaped one’s theology can be helpful in evaluating it’s truthfulness, etc. This can be true about every area of theological reflection.
In the past few weeks there has been a lot of talk about Katharine Jefferts Schori’s somewhat recent sermon (here and here). Schori is the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church and her sermon suggested a radically different interpretation for Acts 16:16-34. I’ll let you read the links to find the details of the story. For my part, I find her interpretation to be in conflict with both the intention of Luke, the apostle Paul, and the Holy Spirit… which brings me to my point.