Jul 22nd, 2006 · Categories: Culture, PCUSA · No Comments

PCUSA: Word games, part 1

The PCUSA has a long history of playing word games with the Bible. Word games are played by social activists, peddlers of strange theologies, bureaucrats, tenure-seeking academics who have to come up with something novel to get published, and humanists (including atheists). They are the tool of choice for people who find the plain meaning of Scripture to be in conflict with their own philosophies, political aspirations, cultural objectives, or simple carnal desires. The appeal of a word game is that it leaves the words themselves intact while altering their meaning and intent. Word games have this in common with the old carnival shell game: Both use misdirection and a torrent of misleading words to convince the mark that what appears to be certain is not certain at all.

Biblical word games range from sophisticated plays on ancient linguistics to simple proof-texting gimmicks that distort the meaning of a passage by plucking it from its inspired context. In its most brazen form, the game consists of nothing more than the player lying about the meaning of the words. Skilled players (especially seminary-educated ones) can reverse the meaning of a passage entirely or show that it is silent about the very topic it is addressing. In all cases, the player’s first step is to convince the mark that the passage is ambiguous. If the victim can first be persuaded that the plain meaning of the text is not plain at all, everything else is just “interpretation”.

Ok, I get that. The Bible was written by someone else. Despite such recent foolishness as “justice-love” and a Trinity composed of “mother, child, womb”, even the PCUSA’s most committed players seem to understand that they can’t actually rewrite the Bible. But the 217th General Assembly decided to play word games with our own Book of Order. Since there is a process for amending the Book of Order, why would the G.A. simply issue an “Authoritative Interpretation” of a key provision and assert that it means something other than what it says? The answer – in part 2 (upcoming) – reads like an Oliver Stone plot line.

Click here for Part 2, here for Part 3.

This entry was posted on Saturday, July 22nd, 2006 at 11:57 am and is filed under Culture, PCUSA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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