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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Authority & power

They're often confused

Paull Spring asks, “Who’s in charge of the church?” (August, "My View: Reforming the ELCA") and seems to suggest that Lutheran CORE (Coalition for Reform) is in charge.

He begins with a reference to “the interpretation of the Bible as God’s word of law and gospel.” The hermeneutical question is always “Whose interpretation?”—which often becomes an issue of power, not authority. Moving from exegesis to interpretation always has taken many different directions. The difference in interpretation of history in the books of Kings and Chronicles is only one example.

CORE has a hermeneutical principle that I call “selective fundamentalism.” CORE and others seem to believe that homosexuality is wrong, finding support in a few biblical passages that they interpret from that perspective.

In “Journey Together Faithfully” we learned that biblical scholars don’t agree on the interpretation of those passages. Some groups still use those passages, ignoring hundreds of verses prior and following that speak about divorce, oaths, drunkenness, anger and other scriptural prohibitions. That’s “selective fundamentalism.”


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