Kevin saith thus:
I read with some amusement the post over at Flame Throwers Anonymous praising the new version of BibleWorks 7. For the uninitiated, BibleWorks is a computer program that gives you thousands of different texts of the Bible in different languages that you can't even read or speak as well as the underlying Greek and Hebrew tools all in a Ginsu steak knife like package.Before we get to the fun part, let me admit something: I think Kevin is right about one thing here. BibleWorks is not for everybody. For example, if you couldn't write a decent expository essay on Keats or Yeats in college, BibleWorks is not going to help you write decent exposition on Paul or David or John or Isaiah or Moses, etc.
Neither, btw, will having a blog, or having MSWord instead of a quill, a pot of ink and a piece of parchment. That doesn't make MSWord or WordPress or Blogger the culprit for blogs like Kevin's.
However, it can lend itself to the idea that exegesis is really a matter of scientific computation more than anything else. After all, it's all right there on the screen for anyone to see.
One of the problems with this thesis is that it wasn't a very insightful or probing observation when Perry and Tim made it about 18 months ago, and Kevin here parroting it in order to taunt a fellow PyroManiac improves it about as much as opening a can of tuna improves the smell of your kitchen after frying chicken livers.
Pray, tell us Kevin: who exactly approaches the Bible text as if exegesis was a "scientific calculation"? I am sure there are a lot of guys who pass by this blog with "Dr." in front of their names, but among them I don't know any who try to determine how many ergs there are in a given passage of Scripture, or if Scripture has pharmacological properties heretofore only experienced in Assemblies of God congregations.
Don't have any names? OK: so what are you talking about?
Actually, the program is a great tool for those properly using the original languages-don't get me wrong. Used correctly it is an exceptional way for informed Christians to use many of the best sources available in studying the Scriptures especially in regards to the original languages.Unless, of course, they are reformed baptists. Kevin can correct me if he has an objection to my interpretation of his veiled disdain.
But, I think it would be very easy for people who live in a world that emphasizes the importance of original language exegetical work coupled with an overly scientific or systematic view of how to interpret the text to rely too heavily on the information BibleWorks can provide. It's also dangerously easy for the uninformed to spend the $349, load it up on their computer, and use the information now at their fingertips the way a medieval peasant farmer might have used his lord's broadsword. The term "reckless endangerment" comes to mind.That kills me. Again, Kevin: how about a short list of users of BibleWorks -- like 3 or 5 names -- who have done what you suggest here.
"reckless endangerment"? When you take the iPod off and hang up your cell phone and take the Rt 44 Slushie out from between your legs and put both hands on the steering wheel of your theology, Kevin, then I will be glad to listen to your lectures on who is endangering whom. Until then, bub, you keep weaving over the yellow line and you're making the guy driving the WAL*MART truck nervous.
And don't we see similar engagements regarding the text of Scripture in the blogosphere? There are the particular websites we all know about, usually in bold and bright colors, waxing eloquent about what the Bible says and how certain heretical types are most certainly wrong-"Thus Saith the Lord" is everywhere and anywhere against those of us who look to more careful and studied approaches to the text of Scripture and how it should be interpreted.Well, the jealousy over blog design looks uglier on you than your normal mode of open-nostril huffiness, but again: dude, name names. You think I can think less of you because you mustered the chutzpah to use my name in your blog to attract traffic? I would actually think more of you for trying to attract my readers. It would show that you finally wanted to hear what people wanted to say about your daffy views.
I'd also like you to search my blog for the word "heretic", and then "apostate". OK: now search it for the word "bullshit". Isn’t that amazing? I have used the word "bullshit" to describe bad theology, but I have not used the word "heresy" or "apostasy".
How can that be? Didn’t I use the right test tube to mix my expository brew?
However, one has to give Kevin credit for good form. His crescendo is well-placed and comes exactly at the moment we either need a payoff or will click "next blog":
Then there are of course the comment threads that worm their way all through the Internet where biblical interpretation becomes a matter of short snippets of "prove this and establish that" and "if you don't succumb to our demands requests in that regard you're not even engaging in proper Christian dialogue about a subject".As opposed to the blogs which close the comments threads when the blog owner is challenged and cannot back up his screed with the most remotely fact-like substantiation. Those other blogs -- fiendish! But the blogs which only foster agreement through anathema -- that's real ecclesiastical enlightenment. Those are the landmarks of universal brotherhood in Christ.
Go ahead, drop BibleWorks into the hands of those that type such things and watch the difference in discussion go from polite but uninformed dialogue to the sort of explosive but tragic silliness we see where the dogs bark and the fire never goes out.As a devoted user of the Libronix ESV which came with my ESV (for free), I'd like to point out that Kevin, of course, doesn't have any idea what he's talking about. One of the things that makes internet discussions explosive and tragic is when one injects a monumental amount of stupidity into any subject, and because Kevin has such a massive stash of the stuff, every discussion he enters into turns into, well, this.
Before we part ways with the Koffee King, there's a comment from his meta that deserves a little autopsy:
What is necessary for one to rightly interpret the Scriptures? In this day and age, I think the missing element is the witness and participation of the covenant community we know as the Church in the hermeneutical process as well as the use of Scripture in liturgical settings quite apart from our own polemic interests. That would propel us far along the road to rediscovering Scripture as it has been and should be received.I want to imagine something here. I am imagining Timothy, in Ephesus, with those plainly-Baptist miscreants he is trying to superintend for the sake of the Gospel. I say plainly-Baptist not because I think that Baptists predated the fellow in Rome but because only Baptists could behave like the folks in Ephesus -- you know, the panoply of warnings Paul issued in Eph 4 & 5 were not because they randomly occurred to Paul as he was blogging -- and call themselves Christians. But that aside, there is Timothy walking in Ephesus from the marketplace to the house where he is staying, and a messenger runs up to him. He hands the young man a scroll, and as Timothy turns the scroll over to the seal to open it, he sees the notation: "do not open until the Eucharist."
Because, you see, that letter can only be rightly understood in a covenant community in a liturgical setting. Timothy reading that letter as if Paul wrote it to him, for him, for the sake of his personal ministry and work, would be a tragedy. And, for example, for me to read it as if it was written to and for Timothy would of course be tantamount to drinking instant coffee. Perhaps if we had an abacus, we could work out the computations more formally ...