Monday, December 18, 2006

The Redemptive Trend

For a couple months now I've been following Scot McKnight's blog. He is the professor of religious studies at North Park University. He posts a lot, I can't even begin to keep up with the volume (3-4 long posts per day), but ocassionally he posts something that I can't help but take 5 minutes and read. Anyway, if you look at my "shared" list in the sidebar, you'll find a link to his post called "Women in Ministry - The Redemptive Trend." Okay, for you RSS'ers, here's the link. I don't want to get bogged down in a discussion about women in ministry, but I've been really intrigued by "The Redemptive Trend" in theology. He mentions a book, that I haven't read yet, but hope to soon called Slaves, Women, & Homosexuals. In a nutshell, The Redemptive Trend is a hermatalogical (sp?) understanding of the Bible that follows this form X - Y - Z where X is the original culture, Y is how the Bible speaks to that culture and Z is the ultimate ethic. How this varies from my theological training is that we were basically taught that Y & Z are the same. (if this bores you, bail now, cuz I'm going a little deeper). Let me explain with a simple example. I've mostly been involved with churches that look at Acts 2 as a blueprint for how church should work today. So you would hear slogans like "We're an Acts 2 Church." With the Redemptive Trend, you wouldn't hear the same slogan because they would say that there was a cultural context (X) that the early church worked within (Y) and now we need to consider what they may or may not look like today (Z). This example is a little weak. Where it gets hairier is when it comes to an issue like women in ministry, where those that believe in the redemptive trend would argue that while Paul may sound prohibitive, he was actually living in an oppressive culture (X) and he was the voice of freedom (Y), which point to a trend toward increasing freedom for women (Z). I'm not sure, I've represented this well -- if you want a better idea, go to his post and follow some of the links. My point is, I'm intrigued.

7 comments:

Screwtape said...

That's definitely a coffee subject, not meant for brief blog entries.

Brandon said...

Charlie,
you probably know that I gave Vicky that book. I am more than intrigued... I am being subverted. I think that there is a lot of evidence that Paul often is using the form of "household" codes that would talk about treatment of women or slaves, but that his use would have been shocking to a contemporary reader. Sorta like if I sang, "Twinkle twinkle little moon." ... what would stand out to you was that stars has been replaced by moon. However if you were reading it a thousand years later... you might think I was actually trying to copy the exact song.
In the same way, Paul said a lot of the same words as the family codes of his time... but in doing so he changed it just enough that everyone would realize he was undermining it completely.

FreeBazyn said...

Charlie,
good post and conversation topic. This redemptive trend has been something I have been considering and looking at things through since July, sparked by an awesome conversation with some friends in California. It really has made me wake up to Christianity and even Jesus being MUCH more alive and active than the "static trend" did. As always, I am amazed when topics like this come up from various sources, and I am reading an interesting lecture by the increidbly-gifted N.T. Wright about the Authority of the Bible, and I believe some of what he is saying speaks to this topic and whether this "redemptive trend" allows for the Scriptural authority. If you are interested, check it out here: http://www.ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Bible_Authoritative.htm

FreeBazyn said...

yep, that link didn't copy right, just go to www.ntwrightpage.com and click on the Is the Bible Authoritative? lecture.

David said...

charlie,
i can't speak for denver, but i felt like what i heard at c'ville was the x-y-z model... do you remember intro to BS? i had estes and he made a big deal of recognizing the differences between culture then and culture now. of course, i'm pretty sure the institution didn't use this model when they made/make a lot of their decisions (thus the ridiculousness of many things).
i think this issue, like most w e "young guys" face requires us to sift through a bunch of slop to find some really important truth that our heritage doesn't give us, yet we i think we need to be cautious not acknowledge all is truth just because we don't like some of the things about our heritage?

i don't think that makes sense...
oh well. (this book made a lot of splash in west michigan about two or so years ago because Rob Bell was a big proponent of it)

ckd said...

Great thoughts everyone!

Dave -- good distinction between what we were taught and what was practiced at the ville -- although we were taught X - Y - Z only in select cases -- women in minstry being one of the big exceptions!

david rudd said...

right, charlie. i don't want to rip the ol' alma matter, i did enjoy our plasma trips together.

the women in ministry thing was pretty narrow, as was God and the Church (did you have to read Charasmatic Chaos?)...

the question with Webb's book is how do you address issues like homosexuality. i'm concerned that some are misusing Webb's methodology to come to more "culturally convenient" conclusions.

i'll be interested to see you post more on this.