I’m tardy getting the latest installment of my Green Room series up here on Hang Together. This time I wrap up how fortification paradigm churches (those with fundamentalist tendencies) can grow their way out of “cultural puritanism” and into a bigger vision of God’s kingdom:
Real moral goodness is revealed by the Bible but it is not only known by the Bible. We must know nature first before the Bible can speak to us – including human nature as expressed in culture. The Bible itself constantly assumes that we come to the Bible as creatures who are already moral agents. In I Corinthians 11:14, Paul refers to culturally contingent rules of permissible hair length for men as a form of moral knowledge, knowledge gained not from the Bible but from – his word – “nature.” There are great depths to be plumbed in that; we need not assume it implies long hair on men is morally wrong in every cultural context. But at minimum it means the Bible presupposes we come to scripture already possessing valid moral knowledge taught to us by our cultures.
As always, your thoughts, comments, objections and rotten vegetables are welcome!