Neo Pharisaicalism

Roger E Olsen is an Arminian Evangelical who wrote an article defending his position against seemingly unfair criticism from a fellow, Calvinist theologian ( tweeted by @AJWThoelogy – Andrew Wilson; 5:53 PM – 21 Sep 13). The positioning of Arminians and Calvinists seems so quaint these days but their differences and disputes are interesting mines for wisdom.

What is interesting about this dispute and rebuttal is its revealing of a truth we all need to hold on to; Scripture rightly informs and moulds tradition not the other way round. What many Church streams do is put their interpretation of Scripture (Tradition) on an equal footing with Scripture. In effect, to question their Tradition is to question Scripture. Of course this would be anathema to them but in practice this is what is evident.

To me this results in the scriptures becoming a prison and a death sentence. Instead of the truth setting me free I experience a distancing from God when subjected to interpretation as fact. I feel that in our presenting of scripture we ought to inform and suggest to the hearer so that the Spirit can bring the truth. This isn’t relativism as the scripture applied correctly , teaches, admonishes and transforms.

It is so easy for practice and confessions of belief to substitute for deep encounter and transformation so that people are sold short. We can teach people to say, Lord, Lord! but only a life lived close to God can produce the fruits that reveal God in our reading of scripture.

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