Thursday, February 16, 2012

Maybe we hate Calvinism because we don’t understand it.

Dan Barnes, promoting a view of soteriology he calls Wovenism, considers that non-Calvinists hate Calvinism becaue they don't understand it in this SBC Voices article. I speculate that it goes both ways and charge that we must try to understand the positions of people who disagree with us.

Jim Pemberton February 16, 2012 at 3:48 pm

That’s why it’s important to try to understand whoever you decide to oppose instead of assuming that you already understand. And it goes both ways. James White and Greg Koukl both always preach to learn what those who oppose you truly believe.

I think the reason we don’t is because the human intellect has a kind of inertia. We tend to think that the way we understand the world is the only way to understand the world and we resist trying. In terms of Bloom’s taxonomy, I believe this falls under the category of analysis. We each have established systems of categories in our minds for analyzing information. The difference between one level of intelligence and another is the number of different categories we have. The reason people “talk past each other” is because one person speaks out of one system of categories and the other person analyzes what was said using a wholly different system of categories.

Incidentally, this is an important hermeneutical principle. We often analyze what the Bible says based on categories established by our present-day culture and popular philosophies. However, we must learn to understand the Bible using the categories that were used by the human authors that God used to produce the scriptures. This principle shows up in all good hermeneutical systems using different verbiage to describe and label it. But the point is that this is a practice that we need to master in order to understand the Bible better. So why not apply it to help us understand each other better?

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