Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

sincerely wrong

3/30/11

When confronted by the irrefutable evidence that different people interpret the Bible in different ways, many Christian evangelicals respond that only one interpretation can be correct, so many folks are merely sincerely wrong in their opinion or interpretation. Implied in this response is the claim that the evangelical interpretation is the correct one, and the differing ones are incorrect. The perception of a God given responsibility to teach others make such an assertion mandatory. In other words, as far as these are concerned, sincerity of belief is irrelevant. People are said to be sincerely wrong and therefore will suffer because of it.

 

In granting the sincerity of some holding variant views, these would be instructors also cede the point that others can and do see the same biblical evidence they see and yet don’t conclude what they conclude based on that evidence. This point is particularly significant. If the differing opinions and interpretations are not the result of willful distortion of the biblical accounts, then apparently the evidence for any one interpretation of the Bible is not compelling to everyone. The evidence is inconclusive, allowing honest, sincere readers to draw the various conclusions. By following this reasoning further, one can see that a one, only understanding of the Bible was never the plan or requirement. Perhaps, a gradual evolution of understandings could be the plan, but certainly not one static, essential interpretation.

 

Differences of interpretation are a fact. What one concludes based on those differences is optional, but the moment one admits, consciously or sub consciously, that sincere people can interpret the Bible in very different ways, the “cat is out of the bag”, so to speak. If people can be sincerely wrong, presented with the same evidence, then the evidence is insufficient in the first place. It matters not that contrary conclusions may have been influenced by instructors, because at least some of these instructors had to arrive at a sincere, personal interpretation of the Bible to impart to others, thereby confirming the flexibility of biblical interpretation which the varying views so dramatically demonstrate.

 

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