John Ortberg Takes the Quiz
Can the hermeneutics quiz really determine your view of the Bible?

As expected, the blog has been abuzz with people's opinions about Scot McKnight's hermeneutical quiz in the new issue of Leadership. Some of the heat is coming from the assumption - primarily by those who have not seen the quiz - that it is a scientific instrument of high precision and accuracy. That was not McKnight's intention when he created the tool. He writes in the introduction:

This quiz is designed to surface the decisions we make, perhaps without thinking about them, and about how we both read our Bible and don't read our Bible. Some will want to quibble with distinctions or agree with more than one answer. No test like this can reveal all the nuances needed, but broad answers are enough to raise the key issues.

Earlier we posted the scores and responses from three Leadership contributors. Today we have another. John Ortberg has taken the Hermeneutics Quiz and scored 68 - on the borderline between Moderate and Progressive. His comments about the quiz are below.

I was struck by how often the statements that were placed on different places on the continuum actually seemed compatible or even mutually dependent to me. For instance, "The Bible is God's message for all time" and "The Bible is God's words and message for that time but need interpretation and contextualization to be lived today." These are BOTH statements that I would fully endorse; and its precisely the truth that the Bible is God's message for all time that makes it cry out for careful interpretation.

Also it occurred to me going through the statements that there is a difference between 'conservatism' and 'orthodoxy,' although in evangelical circles we often equate the two. For instance, since classical liberalism is associated with a denial of the divinity of Jesus, 'conservatism' tends to be associated with an emphasis on his divinity, even at the expense of his humanity. So docetic teachings about Jesus may be 'conservative' in that sense, but are clearly not 'orthodox.'

All of which is to say that the 'conservative-moderate-progressive' continuum is an interesting one. We tend to want to put people into a box and label them with these words, but I wonder what other kinds of frameworks might be developed to help us examine our approach and faithfulness to the text.

It also struck me how difficult it is to measure the kind of belief that really matters. Take Jesus' teaching, "It is better to give than to receive..." The hard question is - am I actually the living what I 'really' believe?

If you haven't already taken "The Hermeneutics Quiz," you can find it here.

January 24, 2008