Fundies and their decontextualizing

05Nov09

Here’s another great quote from the good Dr Jim West:

Jay [arguing for gay marriage] has, just like his opponents in the issue, politicized the Bible to his own ends. He has decontextualized it, accused it of being unjust (from an anachronistic, modern point of view alone), and then suggested its message needs to be abandoned. He has forgotten, as do the other fundamentalists (for all decontextualizers are fundamentalists be they liberal or conservative) that the message of the Bible is theological.

Anybody who takes passages of Scripture out of context to support their position is a fundamentalist, even if they’re politically liberal.

This makes me glad to go to a seminary where one of the hobbyhorses is “context, context, context.”

If you know of any verses that are particularly obtuse or even dangerous when taken out of context, do share in the comments.

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4 Responses to “Fundies and their decontextualizing”

  1. How about Heb. 13:5b? Sometimes I think we forget there’s a Heb. 13:5a!

  2. Adam, I can prove Scripturally that it’s wrong to split wood. “What God has brought together, let no one split asunder.”

  3. Greetings, Adam, I found you in Alan Knox’s blogroll. I’ve had a full Christian experience of fundamentalist decontextualizing that I’ve had to repent from. I can think of a few right off the top of my head. Rev. 3:20 is often taken out of its context of the letters to the seven churches to be used as a verse for evangelism of unbelievers. A couple of artificial chapter divisions also come to mind. Col. 3:1-2 taken out of its Col 2:20-23 context can give the opposite result and be used to promote neo-platonism and gnosticism. And probably the most dangerous of all is Romans 13 taken out of its Romans 12:17-19 context. A passage that limits the power of the state to punishment (revenge) for crimes against persons and property can be twisted to mean that governments have license to legislate on anything they want, and that somehow Christians must obey these laws, regardless of what the rest of the bible says!

    • 4 Adam

      Steve, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to post a comment. Hope to see you around more!


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