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Abusing Scripture: The Consequences of Misreading the Bible [Paperback]

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Item Number 391898  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   293
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.9" Width: 6" Height: 1"
Weight:   1.1 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 2009
Publisher   IVP Academic
ISBN  0830825797  
EAN  9780830825790  


Availability  120 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 22, 2017 08:53.
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Item Description...
Overview
IVP Print On Demand Title In this practical book written with the non-academic in mind, Manfred Brauch identifies and corrects a number of basic errors in the use of the Bible that interpret and apply biblical texts in ways that distort their meaning and message. Chapters explore issues of context, genre, consistency, author intent and other important considerations with an eye toward addressing not just the act of interpretation, but also the attitudes behind the ways we choose to apply Scripture.

Publishers Description
Virtually all Christians recognize the centrality of the Bible to their faith. Yet many Christians misquote and misapply Scripture regularly. Often those who are most passionate about the authority of the Bible are at the greatest loss when it comes to understanding its message clearly and applying it faithfully. Professor Manfred Brauch believes this kind of mistaken interpretation and application of Scripture is a detriment to the integrity of our Christian witness and contributes to profound misunderstandings in Christian belief and practice. In this practical book written with the non-specialist in mind, Brauch identifies and corrects a number of basic errors in the use of the Bible that interpret and apply biblical texts in ways that distort their meaning and message. Chapters explore issues of context, selectivity, consistency, author intent and other important considerations with an eye toward addressing not just the act of interpretation, but also the attitudes behind the ways we choose to apply Scripture. Whether you lead a Bible study or small group, are a pastor or Sunday school teacher, are engaged in biblical study at a college or seminary, or are just an everyday Christian who wants to understand how to interpret God's Word well and recognize good interpretation (or the lack therof) when you encounter it, this important book will be an invaluable guide.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
An Excellent, Well-Balanced Book  May 5, 2010
The wisdom in this book applies to all believers committed to the authority of Scripture - including those in the mainline Protestant denominations. In response to a previous comment, the belief that the mainline Protestant community "often has a "low" view of Scripture as the culturally relative and fallible record of human spiritual longing" is very subjective and unfortunate (as well as judgmental). In his book, Mr. Brauch is rebuking spiritual hubris and exhorting christians to recognize and correct misinterpretations in the Bible so that the church's witness to the world is not rendered ineffectual.
 
Abusing Scripture: The Consequences of Misreading the Bible  Feb 19, 2010
This was a good purchase for me. I have not yet been able to read it, family emergency calls for my attention right now, but I skimmed over the table of contents, the back cover, etc. and the book seems really nice. The book arrived on time and in excellent condition. Thank you bookseller!
 
A Thought provoking study  Sep 8, 2009
This book is an interesting and thought provoking study of the translation and interpretation of scripture. the difficulties in translating any material are well-known. I'm not sure the author always proves some of his interpretations, but he is certainly correct in his evaluation of those who twist scripture to fit their theological preconceptions (something we all do, in one way or another). The work will force Christians to take a more careful look at their scriptures. This is one of the most important problems in Christian study today, and too many people don't want to face the daunting task of delving into the intricate study necessary to gain some understanding of the Bible,and what it actually says. I don't pretend to be anything more than an interested layman, and I found this book comprehensible and interesting. The book is very thought-provoking, and it spurred me to study even further into this fascinating and vital topic.
 
An Excellent Corrective for Evangelicals Who Abuse Scripture  May 13, 2009
The first article of the Assemblies of God's Statement of Fundamental Truths concerns Scripture: "The Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are verbally inspired of God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct." This "high" view of Scripture is a hallmark of theological conservatism and unites the Assemblies of God with the larger evangelical community. It also differentiates the Assemblies from the mainline Protestant community, which--under the influence of biblical criticism--often has a "low" view of Scripture as the culturally relative and fallible record of human spiritual longing.

Unfortunately, a "high" view of Scripture in theory does not guarantee the correct interpretation of Scripture in practice. In Abusing Scripture, Manfred T. Brauch examines "the consequences of misreading the Bible," in the words of the subtitle. His intended readers are not mainline Protestants, however, but theologically conservative evangelicals--including those of us in the Assemblies of God. We routinely critique the "speck of sawdust" in mainline misinterpretations of the Bible, while wholly ignoring the "plank" in our own. Brauch refuses to ignore the plank.

Brauch is past professor and president of Palmer Theological Seminary (formerly Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary), as well as the author of Set Free to Be and Hard Sayings of Paul. The seminary has been described as "conservative, yet progressive" because of its combination of theological orthodoxy and social activism. The primary example of this conservative progressivism is undoubtedly Ron Sider, Palmer's best-known professor. Brauch is also an able exponent of that tradition.

Abusing Scripture offers a sixfold taxonomy of ways evangelicals (including us Pentecostals) are guilty of "doing violence to" Scripture:

* The abuse of the whole gospel through a failure to address human need for salvation in both "personal and social dimensions"
* The abuse of selectivity, which "is not an outright distortion of the meaning of given texts" but rather entails "ignoring or rejecting...other parts or passages of Scripture that support a different teaching, or present an alternative perspective, or advocate an opposing view"
* The abuse of biblical balance by means of "emphasizing certain biblical doctrines, perspectives, teachings, themes or mandates, while ignoring or minimizing the equal, or even greater, importance of complementary ones"
* The abuse of words, "when words and expressions are decoded (by teachers or readers) in ways that are not in keeping with the original encoding [by the biblical authors]"
* The abuse of literary and theological context, in which the meanings of specific passages are not derived from "the immediate textual materials that surround them" or from "the overarching theological concepts in broader literary contexts"
* The abuse of historical situation and cultural reality, which is really a failure to discern between "those things in Scripture that are culturally or historically relative, and, therefore, limited in their inspired authority to the people and situations addressed at that time, and the things that are transcultural and transhistorical, where the authoritative Word of God ins binding for all Christians at all times and in all cultures"

Throughout his discussion of this taxonomy, Brauch returns to three illustrations of these kinds of abuses in practice: "(1) the use and justification of force and violence in human affairs; (2) the relationship between men and women in home, church and society; and (3) the concern for justice and the sanctity of life in all areas of human relationships, institutions and culture."

Brauch avoids low-hanging fruit with his choice of examples. He easily could have written a multi-volume account of, inter alia, the abuses of Scripture by dispensational premillennialism, the so-called "Prosperity Gospel," and Christian Zionism. Instead, he focuses on attitudes and practices that are deeply entrenched in the evangelical community: its reflexive patriotism and knee-jerk support for America's wars, its still-too-common defense of patriarchy, and its privileging of evangelism over social concern.

The Assemblies of God has a slightly better, though still mixed, track record on these very same issues. As Paul J. Alexander documents in Peace to War, the Assemblies of God moved from being a pacifist church to a card-carrying member of the so-called "religious right" for patriotic rather than biblical reasons. (As an advocate of just-war doctrine, I think the Assemblies made the right decision but for the wrong reason, but that's an argument for another day.) The Assemblies has ordained women to the ministry since its founding, but it still has local churches that refuse to let women preach to men (and because of our practice of local church sovereignty, there's no way for district councils or the general council to force the issue). Finally, some in the Assemblies are reluctant to address social issues other than abortion and gay marriage, lest we fall prey to the theological errors of the Social Gospel Movement.

Although I do not agree with every reading of Scripture Brauch offers in this book, I do think his sixfold taxonomy and three illustrations of abuse identify real problems within evangelicalism generally and the Assemblies particularly. But read this book, and decide for yourself!
 

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