Saturday, July 5, 2008

Propositional Policy

Okay, I don't really know if those two words go together appropriately, but it sounds cool, right? ;)

I recently received this daily devotional email from Ransomed Heart, which can further the discussion about policy. There is a lot that could be discussed from the email, I'm going to stick with the topic from yesterday: policy.

I believe policy is derived from a propositional approach to life. Make enough propositions and water down life to those propositions, and morality and life can be easily dictated by policy. I'm not going to say that the propositions are necessarily wrong. However, focusing only on them reduces life (and the Gospel) to something too simplistic. It doesn't allow the mystery and journey of life. That's where we find God.

A “Propositional” Christianity

We have lived for so long with a “propositional” approach to Christianity, we have nearly lost its true meaning. As Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen says,

Much of it hinges on your view of scripture. Are you playing proof-text poker with Genesis plus the Gospels and Paul’s epistles, with everything else just sort of a big mystery in between—except maybe Psalms and Proverbs, which you use devotionally? Or do you see scripture as being a cosmic drama—creation, fall, redemption, future hope—dramatic narratives that you can apply to all areas of life? (Prism interview)

For centuries prior to our Modern Era, the church viewed the gospel as a Romance, a cosmic drama whose themes permeated our own stories and drew together all the random scenes in a redemptive wholeness. But our rationalistic approach to life, which has dominated Western culture for hundreds of years, has stripped us of that, leaving a faith that is barely more than mere fact-telling. Modern evangelicalism reads like an IRS 1040 form: It’s true, all the data is there, but it doesn’t take your breath away. As British theologian Alister McGrath warns, the Bible is not primarily a doctrinal sourcebook: “To reduce revelation to principles or concepts is to suppress the element of mystery, holiness and wonder to God’s self-disclosure. ‘First principles’ may enlighten and inform; they do not force us to our knees in reverence and awe, as with Moses at the burning bush, or the disciples in the presence of the risen Christ” (A Passion for Truth).

(The Sacred Romance , 45)

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*I did receive written permission to copy devotionals from Ransomed Heart.

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