The historical critical method is one way that literary critics use to examine origins of ancient manuscripts in an attempt to interpret the historical and experiential prisms used by the author. This method of ascertaining intent attempts to identify the historical context in which it was written. Historical critics seek to reconstruct ancient texts by delving into the historical records of the time when it was composed. These critics attempt to recreate the historical facts known from that time and piece them together with the data compiled by the author. This method of research, when done appropriately, should allow the critic to properly interpret the historical significance of those documents. Most importantly, the researcher should have no preconceived notions regarding the specific text that is examined, using whatever facts that are available to uncover the truth.
Many of the historical critics of today tend to minimize the historicity of the Bible, maintaining that most of the information contained within is either fictional or are simply exaggerations by the authors. Further, many maintain that the original documents were altered by the scribes that translated the Bible into different languages in an effort to bolster claims made by the authors of Scripture. Many historical critics tend to lean on the notion that the Bible is primarily a literary collection from the early history of Israel. Many of these critics state that although it is a historical fact that Jesus Christ did exist at the time described in the Bible and it can be proven that He was a valid figure in the history of Israel, they remain skeptical of the miracles attributed to Him and His status as the Son of God. Some of the most prominent ELCA theologians have made it clear that they have made up their minds regarding the authority of Scripture.
Contrived doctrines, such as bound conscience, are evidence that ELCA theologians regard their opinions over the word of God. They pick and choose which verses of Scripture tend to advance their preconceived notions and desired conclusions. Abandoning the tenets of Lutheranism and replacing sound doctrine with human reasoning and opinion only prove that Biblical scholars in the ELCA truly do not believe in Scriptural authority and more often, fall in line with many of the secular critics. And those that hold fast to Biblical authority continue to be called out by ELCA pastors. In an April 5th edition of Salina.com, an on-line feature of the Salina Journal, ELCA pastor Lorna Paulus, in an article entitled, Ultimate Truth of Message , denounces those Christians that adhere to the authority of Scripture and believe God’s word to be without error. In a stunningly dishonest comment she states, “However, the ELCA does read Scripture differently than many of the groups who like to talk about "inerrancy." We believe that all Scripture is inspired by God. It is the norm for our Christian life. It is not, for us, as Beckmann quoted Borg, just a "human cultural product." But we refuse to take isolated verses of Scripture out of context and treat them as if they were the whole message as many of the "inerrancy" folk tend to do. We believe that taking Scripture out of context distorts the message of Scripture and can be used to twist Scripture to say things God never intended.” I could hardly believe this when I read it. Talk about having a plank in one’s eye!
Perhaps, Paulus should take the time to read the ELCA statement, Human Sexuality-Gift and Trust, and determine if, in fact, the ELCA Biblical scholars cherry pick Scriptural verses when attempting to justify behavior that God prohibits. Perhaps, she should educate herself as to how ELCA theologian, Tim Wengert disregards Scripture while he misinterprets and/or outright contrives illogical arguments to bolster the false doctrine of bound conscience. Obviously not all ELCA pastors are this misguided in their interpretation of the “new things” that are affecting the doctrine of the largest Lutheran Church body in the United States. But, pastors like this do lead their respective flocks and those in the pews listen to what these persons, ordained to preach the Gospel proclaim when they are in the pulpit. When our brothers and sisters in Christ have this type of preaching imposed upon them when they attend worship, some will come to believe and accept this as God’s will. We need to continue to proclaim the Gospel, loud and proud, so that all will come to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior, and make certain that those who have come to believe, do not fall away.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2