Reta's Reflections

Sliding Down the Slippery Slope—or Climbing Upward?

“But this complementarian position can only be held if the Bible is read ‘on the flat,’ as if it were written for contemporary people and contained no scientific or historical errors. In Lesson 5 on ‘gender disputes in Bible translation,’ I referred to the book co-written by Wayne Grudem and Vern Poythress called The Gender-Neutral Bible Controversy: Muting the Masculinity of God’s Words. A light bulb went on for me at that point. These authors really believe God is masculine and, further, that the male leadership and patriarchy pervading the biblical texts is not simply a reflection of these ancient cultures but is part of God’s plan for humankind.” Continue reading

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The Bible and Same-Sex Relationships: Some Resources

“My concern in this series of lessons is this: how do we discuss this issue with people who hold a traditional view and see that view as more biblically-based than ours? Can we adequately interact with the so-called “clobber-texts” used to condemn same-sex sexual expression (i.e., Genesis 19:1-11; Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13; Romans 1: 24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10)? How do we respond to traditional views of the creation of male and female in Genesis 1 and 2 and to Jesus’s references to heterosexual marriage? Or do we just ignore these texts and assume that no real dialogue is possible?”
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Can You Read the Signs? Principles of Interpretation

“Biblical texts come alive through archeological discoveries, as well as sociology and anthropology, which help modern people understand the different traditions and habits of ancient peoples. For example, male honor was more important than female honor. Read the stories of attempted rape at Sodom in Genesis 19:1-11 and the actual rape of the Levite’s concubine in Judges 19. In each case, men offered their women to the rapists while preserving the honor of the men within the house.”
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Different Interpretations—Different Missions

“It is small wonder that Christians assuming different biblical hermeneutics often talk past each other. As one who deeply loves and respects the Bible, I will not try to protect it. It may be God-breathed, but it is also a human product with perspectives limited by time and culture. “ Continue reading

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Gender Disputes in Bible Translation

“In 1997, when our household was subscribing to the evangelical magazine, Christianity Today, nearly every issue entertained and enraged me by reporting on the fight over a Bible translation. The translation was called Today’s New International Version of the Bible (TNIV), an updated edition of the New International Version (NIV), a favorite of conservative Christians. And many of them were not happy with the new edition. Why the unhappiness? Because the TNIV was the first NIV updating to use gender-inclusive people language.” Continue reading

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Problems with Biblical Inerrancy

“As someone who has loved the Bible since childhood and has devoted her life and career to better understanding it, I find this view of strict verbal inspiration incomprehensible. I suppose it can be held in the mind as theory, but not in practice. When even laypeople read the Bible carefully, they will run into impossible contradictions. First of all, our Bible is not a book; it is a library of 66 books written in three different languages over a period of more than a thousand years. And the early chapters of Genesis tell stories set in time periods centuries before writing itself was developed.” Continue reading

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A Brief History of Biblical Inspiration

“Bereft of their promised land, their temple, and their priesthood, the Judeans confronted searching questions about why their God had let this [their forced exile into Babylon] happen. Relying on oral memory and various texts they had brought with them, they then began shaping the material into a coherent history and theology. Through worship and study, the written word became divine revelation to them. By the time some of them returned to Jerusalem from exile (permitted by the Persian ruler, Cyrus, beginning in 539 BCE), they had a collection of writings that became guides for their priests, prophets, and all the people of Yahweh (see Nehemiah 8:1-12).” Continue reading

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