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The cover of Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible (InterVarsity) is striking. Authors E. Randolph Richards (dean of the School of Christian Ministry at Palm Beach Atlantic University) and ...

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Claire Guest

December 05, 2012  8:36pm

Chris Hearn, it seems likely that the United States could cease to exist as a country before the end of the world, based on what is written in the Revelation. The USA has been under the judgment of God for at least 20 years, because of legalization of abortion and other issues. I do believe there will always be a faithful remnant who refuse to bow the knee to any other god. The gates of Hell will never prevail against those who are truly His, who seek the kingdom of God above all else.

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Chris Hearn

December 05, 2012  4:10pm

My current favorite cultural take on the Bible is the following- The United States will cease to exist as a country at the end of the world, because nowhere is it mentioned in the Book of Revelation.

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gordon payne

December 05, 2012  11:41am

Hmm, wonder what the Bible has to say about this 'philosophical' perspective? For one thing, it clearly reveals desolation as a consequence of unbelief - can we be surprised at the Russian results, particularly the focus? And it clearly reveals that, without true belief, people get wrapped up in their own intellectual underwear, like discriminating on the basis of national or socio-economic background. The Bible addresses carnal man in every condition. Taken seriously, there is no escaping the message of the Prodigal son, regardless of one's background, and there to an anchor in an 'objectivity' of truth, derived, not by critical devaluation, but from wholesome revelation, and there by credible parable. One should prefer Boudinot to Paine, fact over abstraction, and there without relying on statistics, much less statistical norms derived from underlying abstractions going to basic denial as presumption. And, as should be known, presumption does not find sympathy in Scripture.

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Wayne Froese

December 04, 2012  10:11pm

So does this book have a methodology for removing our blinders? This review seems to suggest that it might but it just focuses on some examples. That would be some trick if the book does have a method. It is so hard to see one's own specific frame. Reading history is a big step in understanding meaning of past cultures.

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Adam Shields

December 04, 2012  12:36pm

SES = Socio-economic status

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Claire Guest

December 03, 2012  2:40pm

M Adisu, what do you mean by "SES"? I'm not familiar with that acronym. T. D. Jakes and Rick Warren are indeed both Americans, but their cultural experiences growing up were vastly different. It is also true that other American pastors/preachers view the kingdom of God differently and preach very differently than Jakes or Warren.

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M Adisu

December 03, 2012  2:00pm

Claire, by "vastly different cultural experience" you mean SES? So far as the majority world is concerned both are viewed as American, products of American education and of its market economy. In other words, they do share a common culture.

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Claire Guest

December 03, 2012  10:52am

My response to the article: IMHO, based on my own experience in the Lord, it is by spending time in His Word, His presence, that we are transformed as He renews our minds, as opposed to being conformed to and by the world around us (Romans 12). By the power of His indwelling Spirit, His Word can dwell richly in our hearts and enable us to see as He sees, to perceive as He perceives, to value what He values. His perspective changes the way we view and do everything. Nothing is too hard for God, and it is certainly not hard for Him to lift us above any cultural limitations by the power of His Holy Spirit.

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Claire Guest

December 03, 2012  9:30am

M Adisu, I meant just that. Have you heard T. D. Jakes' testimony of his childhood/growing-up years? His cultural experience was vastly different from Rick Warren's.

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M Adisu

December 02, 2012  11:21pm

Claire, you split an idea in two and run away with the half. Here is how it reads in full: "Also, there is a sense in which a 'white male' is more a cultural construct than merely denoting skin color. That is to say, Bishop TD Jakes is as much a 'white male' as is Rick Warren." What exactly did you mean by "They grew up in very different cultural conditions?"

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Claire Guest

December 02, 2012  4:48pm

Dee, that is an excellent point. I just don't see what it has to do with North America in particular? Sin in any form is the natural condition of the human spirit/heart/soul, regardless of where or how anyone lives. M Adisu, I can't agree that "TD Jakes is as much a 'white male' as is Rick Warren". They grew up in very different cultural conditions. I agree with you that many people (regardless of where they live) have a tendency to put people/leaders on pedestals. I've seen that just as often in local churches in various places where I've lived (actually, moreso) than toward well-known people such as you listed. IMHO, based on my own experience in the Lord, it is by spending time in His Word & presence that we are transformed as He renews our minds, as opposed to being conformed to & by the world around us. By the power of His indwelling Spirit, His Word can dwell richly in our hearts and enable us to see as He sees. His perspective changes the way we see and do everything.

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M Adisu

December 02, 2012  2:06pm

The reviewer is right in pointing out that "blinders" are not a particularly "white male" problem. "Blinders" have been with us since Adam and Eve. The fact is we just don't want to take them off because keeping them on makes us feel safe and in control. The "white male/female" role becomes more pronounced, however, when one observes communities in the majority world forming around the person and teachings of Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Paul Crouch, Joyce Meyer, etc [instead of around Jesus who, by the way, is not white]. Also, there is a sense in which a "white male" is more a cultural construct than merely denoting skin color. That is to say, Bishop TD Jakes is as much a "white male" as is Rick Warren. In the end, it takes humility to admit we all wear "blinders," that no "blinders" are better than another, that we need to let the Holy Spirit work in us so we could see Jesus, and that "now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror... now we know in part; then [we] shall know fully...

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Dee McDonald

December 02, 2012  10:12am

Claire, my point was not a cultural one, I was simply pointing out that we North Americans don't often read that story and relate to the older son even though, like him, we often refuse to celebrate what God is doing in/through other people because of anger, jealousy, etc.; we are often working against God's desires and will. In other words, we rightly learn from the younger son, meaning we see how we have squandered our lives in reckless living and that God still offers himself freely to us through Christ. But we never see that we sometimes grow cold, hard, jealous to what God is doing, just like the older son.

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Claire Guest

December 01, 2012  8:45pm

Dee, perhaps you didn't mean your comment this way (I'm not assuming anything), but it sounds like you're drawing a cultural distinction between the older son and younger son? I can't see that Christ Jesus meant the parable to be taken that way, at all. In any case, there are indeed North Americans who have experienced hunger on a regular basis. The poor of Appalachia - who have arguably been hardest-hit by the Great Recession (in fact, had been suffering long before that) - may also be the most-neglected of all poor/hungry people in the USA, for example. At the same time, as important as this issue is, I don't see that this is the crux of the issue which Christ Jesus was emphasizing in that parable. As important as physical realities are, spiritual realities were/are most important to Him. This life is fleeting at best, but eternity is forever.

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John Marienau Turpin

December 01, 2012  4:14pm

One great resource: Africa Bible Commentary, ed. Adeyemo.

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Dave B.

December 01, 2012  3:00pm

Removing the Blinders is very essential - especially for Workers (aka Miszionaries) who work in different cultural and linguistic setting. It is important to understand the Bible, taking into consideration who was speaking, to whom, in what cultural setting, and derive the meaning from such context. Only yesterday a man from an Asian country told me that Jesus is the "god of foreigners". I was very saddened that so many foreign and local Christian leaders have given the impression that the Gospel According to the West is the truth, rather that the true Gospel.

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Dee McDonald

December 01, 2012  1:02pm

Claire, you bring up a good point about the story of the prodigal son--that it is not mainly concerned about the famine. But like you mentioned, a passage mentioning a famine might hit closer to home for those who have lived through a famine; perhaps they could gain insight that I would never pick up on having never lived through one, let alone gone hungry a day in my life. This is probably much the same way the intricacies in a passage about a shepherd might be picked up more by those who tend sheep. Just a note though on the story of the prodigal son as it relates to us seeing that story with our "blue--not red--lens" (btw, good one Jon Trott!). I would venture a guess that a bigger problem for most North Americans is not that they don't notice the famine, but that they never see themselves as the older son.

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Claire Guest

December 01, 2012  11:10am

I am loath to bump Brian Jorgensen's sagacious comment to post my thoughts, so I'll repost his post here: "$8.99 for one copy? I don't think so, I can get all the revisionism, political correction, cultural self loathing and other choice eisegeses for free. Just turn on your TV, watch the news, listen to our political leaders, go attend a "relevant" church or just read CT on a regular basis." ITA, Brian. Jon, I think the blue glasses are totally appropriate, lol. RE: the article: IMHO, the famine part of the story of the Prodigal Son is not the main point of that passage - by far. It is understandable that those who've lived through famine would notice it more, but I sincerely hope that does not detract from the crux of Christ Jesus' message there. God deals with us as individuals, and our individual response to Him determines our salvation or lack thereof - "Let those who have ears to hear, hear." Fellowship with other believers should never override His pre-eminence in our lives.

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Jim Ricker

November 30, 2012  7:23pm

Although this problem is not new nor is it confined to Westerners, Hall makes it clear that all cultures have their prejudices. Unfortunately, too many reject the idea out of hand and just confirm the observation. The "next" reformation of His church is already here and will (as all reformations do), take many decades to take hold but it will be wonderful to see His people seeking His face and serving His creatures without being "me-centered" as the automatic worldview. Grace and Peace,

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Jon Trott

November 30, 2012  4:25pm

Shouldn't those glasses have been tinted RED, not blue? (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.)

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