Scripture is its own interpreter and the divinely inspired interpreter of life in this fallen world. In our day, predetermined cultural conclusions about any given ethical matter in society are formed in academia and popularized through the medium of television and the internet. In fact, they are not merely popularized. They are packaged in manipulating forms of communication and subliminal messages.
We live in a culture in which there are two competing sources of authority vying for the minds and hearts of professing Christians––the Bible and the media. Many Christians have not come to recognize that they are in a battle to maintain biblical convictions and practices. 36 years ago, Francis Schaeffer wrote The Great Evangelical Disaster–in which he offered an analysis of the way that Christians––who claimed to believe in an inerrant Bible––were denying the authority of Scripture on account of their willingness to accommodate cultural immorality. Schaeffer explained, “We can say the Bible is without mistake and still destroy it if we bend the Scriptures by our lives to fit this culture instead of judging the culture by Scripture.” The cultural agenda Schaeffer warned about in that book in 1984 has come to full fruition in 2020.
There is a painfully evident epistemological and hermeneutical divide in our day. Many professing believers are willing to cherry-pick verses of Scripture in order to substantiate a widely accepted cultural conclusion about some particular ethical matter being pushed by the media. On the other side of the divide are those who seek to deduce from Scripture what is necessary to form a framework by which they can rightly interpret any particular current social or ethical matter. They seek to have their convictions first formed by the word of God rather than coming to Scripture in order to find support for predetermined social and ethical conclusions. Both groups claim to believe in the inspiration, inerrancy, and authority of Scripture. Only those in the latter group seek to live consistently in light of their profession about the nature of Scripture. This is not to say that those in the latter group understand everything or that they live perfectly consistent lives. The Bible clearly teaches that “we all stumble in many ways” (James 3:2). However, it is to suggest that there is a proper hermeneutical method for guiding our conclusions about how we are to interpret societal events and live faithfully as Christians in light of them. Since God’s word is the only infallible, inerrant, and authoritative rule of faith and life, the latter approach–albeit, largely unpopular at present–is the only God-honoring approach.
Scripture is its own interpreter and the divinely inspired interpreter of life in this fallen world. In our day, predetermined cultural conclusions about any given ethical matter in society are formed in academia and popularized through the medium of television and the internet. In fact, they are not merely popularized. They are packaged in manipulating forms of communication and subliminal messages. Schaeffer noted this when he reflected on the influence of the television 36 years. He wrote,
“Television is [the] worst offender. Malcolm Muggeridge has commented on this. He points out that people think they see reality when they see those television pictures, but what they do not realize is that they are looking at pure fantasy. They are looking at an edited situation that does not present what is, but what the man at the console wants you to think is. You feel you know everything because you have actually seen the picture with your own eyes, but in every situation you have been given an edited version.”