Sunday, October 26, 2008

How about a break from the political?

Some thoughts from Vanhoozer on how we are to approach the Scriptures, and how our failure to do so appropriately results in a failure to participate rightly in the Christian life. What he calls for is not more "application questions" at the end of a bible study, but rather an approach to the Scriptures that recognizes how the wisdom of God is embodied therein and that is prompted by, as well as feeds, a desire to deeply engage in the drama of God.

Doctrines solicit not simply our intellectual assent but our integral participation in the drama they describe and serve . . . The biblical script asks not to be admired but performed . . .

The ancient practice of baptismal catechesis was a kind of 'dramatic journey' that sought to train new believers to participate fittingly in the Christian life. The instruction that early catechumens received involved learning Scripture and 'educating desire': "The homilies and other instruction in Scripture were designed to entice people into the dramatic narrative of God with God's people." The process of instruction typically culminated in the catechumen's baptism, a dramatic entry into the theo-drama-into the very life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The contrast with the contemporary church, at least in North America, could hardly be more striking. We may here recall Alan Wolfe's thesis that doctrinal instruction has largely disappeared from the church in North America, both mainstream and evangelical. The tragic irony is that more people profess Christian doctrine than know how to practice it. The result: a church that replaces the religious affections with religious affectation . . .

The "mind of Christ" refers not merely to Jesus' intellectual quotient or his stock of knowledge but to his habitus: the distinctive pattern of all his intentional acts--desires, hopes, beliefs, volitions, emotions, as well as thoughts. The mind of Christ, refers, in a word, to the characteristic pattern of Jesus' judgments--to the way that Jesus processes information and to the product of that process: the embodied wisdom of God. The mind of Christ is the set of moral, intellectual, and spiritual habits or virtues that serve as the mainspring for all the particular things that Jesus does and says.

-Vanhoozer, The Drama of Doctrine, p.252-256

1 comment:

Tammy said...

I appreciate the insight into the necessity of teaching doctrine...not just as an outline on the church website. I remember you and Jillian learning catechism from the Westminister Confession of Faith while we were at Heritage...we had some teaching at Bent Tree, but not like what is being called for here...this is so true, how many of us know our doctrine, much less practice it?