Of methodology and quality

Why would I want a band to play the music of James Swearingen?  He wrote a few marginally worthwhile pieces, I suppose . . . but there are better pieces within the repertory of similar difficulty level.

Why would I want to listen to the fluff of Joel Osteen and his ilk when more Bible-based, more solid teaching is available from more credible sources?  Sure, Osteen may make you feel good if you’re not really paying deep attention, but when a message is built on sand, it eventually collapses.

Why would I want to use the “Bible study methods” of Rick Warren?  A few of his published dozen methods have some merit, to be sure, but not all.¹  There are better methodologies available that take advantage of authentic scholarship and pay more attention to context.

Why would I want to use the KJV?  Could someone find God through it?  Sure, but it’s often harder to figure things out, not to mention the obsolete or mistaken translations that appear more frequently than in most other reputable bibles; plus, the KJV makes the historical realities seem a lot more distant than they need to seem.

When better material exists, why not use it?

I’m currently using resource material by Luke Timothy Johnson, and I’m finding a lot of merit in it.

B. Casey, 10/2 and 10/11/15


¹Note:  I suppose I could have asked the question about the Gospel Advocate or Beth Moore or others.  I know even less about their material, but I’m convinced there is better material than theirs, too.

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2 thoughts on “Of methodology and quality

  1. Steve 10/16/2015 / 1:24 pm

    “I’m currently using resource material by Luke Timothy Johnson, and I’m finding a lot of merit in it….¹Note: I suppose I could have asked the question about the Gospel Advocate or Beth Moore or others. I know even less about their material, though, but I’m convinced there is better material than theirs, too.”

    Brian,

    I hope you are settling in after your transition back to the south. Living in TX is always an adventure–since we set a new heat high record yesterday in mid-October: 95 degrees. :-0

    “Better” is a comparative term–it is ‘better’ — compared to what? (I will not reference the Gospel Advocate–a periodical way past its time–and dying, appropriately, a slow death…thankfully)

    Do most ladies of faith you know want to read NT Wright?–or is Beth Moore speaking their language more effectively? Do you think LT Johnson’s revisionistic newest publication on what is real theology (experience of the body vs scripture) is ‘better’ than standard theologies (i.e., Brueggemann’s or Moberly’s fine studies). Who sets the standard for ‘better?’

    Certainly in some sense there is an overall ‘better’ in approach and content and application. But I might suggest that what is ‘better’ for you may not be ‘better’ for your wife–or a new believer. It might be interesting to see a list of what constitutes better. I recently shared a lesson with a class on reading the Bible–offered as an option Warren’s “Bible Study Methods” as a source providing a variety of approaches to engaging scripture. Which approach is better? I might suggest one response: whichever one informs and moves one to live out faith more capably than before.

    Thoughts?

    Like

  2. Brian Casey 10/17/2015 / 12:54 pm

    Steve, I appreciate the challenge. Was travelling yesterday, and somehow your comment got “trashed” as I was using 3 different devices in car and at a stop. I’ve restored it now! I’ve actually typed a draft of a very long response, but I want to make it into a couple of regular posts instead of putting it all here. In the end, I’ll be offering you (but no expectations) the opportunity to have the last word by writing a guest post if you want.

    My thoughts so far do attempt to lay out some more rationale for my admittedly annoyingly brash statements in this post, which I know was not one of my better ones.

    I’ll also say here, for the record, that I wasn’t asserting any generic approval of L.T. Johnson—only deep appreciation of the Anchor Bible material on James I had been digesting. That volume was produced some years ago. This is a library copy; I wish I owned one.

    There will be a fuller treatment of the concerns you raise in a week or two, and I look forward to your response.

    Like

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